Wednesday, May 4, 2016

School Board Budget Work Session

First, thank you all for attending and speaking out at the School Board budget work session last night. I appreciate your commitment to the schools more than I can express.
Second, the meeting was long, and difficult, but I think especially in the last part we made progress toward finding places where we can reduce the budget request with the least amount of pain. For me, the reductions fall into three categories - the hard but clearly necessary, the debatable but least painful, and the to be avoided if at all possible. It's that last category that includes the new positions, or perhaps old positions, that are most at risk.
Prepare to be annoyed at me. I am supporting some likely unpopular items, like increasing athletic fees and student parking charges. I support cutting photocopier lease expenses even though doing so inconveniences teachers. To be frank, my objective is to go as far as possible in trying to keep the new elementary school teachers and para-professionals we need, and the .5 FTE gifted teacher at TJ. As I said before, I haven't yet found a way to keep all three new elementary teachers, but I hope we are down to hiring two and working toward a way to keep a third. That may not be possible, although the Administration came forward with some new items for expense reduction or revenue enhancement last night.
And as I said last night, I don't support under any scenario removing the Assistant Principal position at Mt. Daniel or cutting para-professional days.
Two final notes. We asked last night for the Administration to provide actual expenses for FY2015 and 2016 by line item, so we can look at that (and not just budgeted amounts) in making reductions. We also should get soon, and the public should be provided, the current list of possible reductions under consideration.
Please keep the feedback coming. And what the video when available.
(These are my personal views and not the official statement or records of the Board. They are not minutes but my personal summary of some of the highlights from the meeting.)

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