I�m beginning a list of questions I�d like to see the School Board discuss and use to direct the Superintendent when the District�s budget is developed using this blog as a public forum. The state and federal governments are not holding up their end of school financing, yet our school board members need to develop a budget and to make preliminary operating decisions by June 30, 2005.
I�ve left the comments open for this blog and would like to hear what questions others might like to see the board discuss and provide further direction to the Superintendent during the budget process so that we develop a budget that puts children�s learning, academic excellence and achievement as the highest priority for our children this year and in succeeding years. I think our attention locally needs to be on how can we develop the best budget for these priorities so that we know what our funding challenges are for next year and will have better information for a referendum.
What are the expected amounts of new revenues forecasted for next year from general state fund, property taxes, lowered salaries from retirees, special education � state and federal, English as a second language � state and federal, NCLB grant monies, etc.? How is the Superintendent proposing to allocate these resources? How does the board want these resources allocated?
Costs of School Board Priorities
What are the costs of the school board�s priorities � third grade reading, algebra 9th grade, 10th grade geometry, 94% attendance? How are those dollars allocated across all children and what dollars are spent on services for children who need help reaching these priorities and children who need resources, because they exceed these basic priorities.
Consider Alternative Planning/Budget Scenarios
What other budget scenarios make sense for the school board to review in the current fiscal situation so that children�s learning is not the Plan B that is put at risk? Let�s start by seeing a budget that puts all new revenue into elementary and secondary schools and the support for children � curriculum, special ed, English as a second language. Yes, this means the cuts will be deeper in other areas � but let�s have the specifics and let�s have an open, public discussion about our options/priorities for allocating resources.
Why Did the Superintendent Without Board Discussion Not Pursue Further Reading First – What Are Our Results With Kids at Risk Learning With Different Reading Curricula – What’s Lapham Telling Us?
What was the process the administration and the school board went through to decide why the district did not need the Reading First money? What do our results show for our reading curricula for low income children at risk of not reaching the reading goal? What does this cost? Are we effectively reaching the children who need the most help? What results are we seeing with direct instruction at Lapham elementary school? What are the costs? Are more children at risk for reading reached more academically effectively and cost effectively with direct instruction ?
What Is the Board Doing About Developing Partnerships and Pursuing Alternative Funding Sources for the Arts and Extracurricular Sports?
What steps has the board taken to seek alternative approaches and to secure funding for what Madison values � sports, fine arts, ropes challenge, other? What has the board done to determine the costs of extracurricular activities and what the district can afford to pay?
What are Your Questions? Log onto Comments and share them.