Sutherland for Schools blog
Hard to believe, but my information today is that the district has decided to test kids every 3 weeks on the curriculum and the TEKs, despite a new state law that says they can do only two tests prior to the STAAR.
Staff has sent us a memo explaining why we plan to exclude our 45 minimum-wage employees from receiving the 3% raise everyone else is to receive. These workers provide extra help in our cafeterias when it is needed. The district memo is on the "data" tab.
The agenda and board book are at the data link at the top of the list.
Our effort to reduce the number of un-filled classrooms should be decreased this year to only incidental levels. Regular substitute teachers (not pyramid subs) who work at least 144 days in the 2014-15 year will earn a bonus of $1000. Also certified substitutes are getting a $10-per-day raise.
Coaches and Fine Arts teachers will also receive increased stipends.
Principal stipends related to enrollment will be eliminated (I will post an explanation of this tomorrow)
The funding for this and other changes in compensation has been approved. The final vote on the package will be in August.
FWISD's new budget is a model of spending--22 new positions (plus 80 for increased enrollment), plus $21 million in "enhancements". These are projects dreamed up by central office personnel. Nothing for more classroom personnel such as aides or smaller classes.
This means current teachers will have to continue to struggle with the wide range of student abilities, children in crisis, a lock-step curriculum and no aides.
The district projections show we won't have enough money to continue this spending level into the future. This makes it unlikely there will be any classroom relief in the future either. A description of the problems is at the "data" tab at "proposed budget changes 6-17-14".
The budget was developed under former superintendent Walter Dansby. Here is the Star-Telegram's front-page article on the budget:
A reader asked what the new Applied Learning Center at J T Stevens would operate like. Here is FWISD staff member Karen Ponder's explanation for all of us:
1 – Families living in the attendance zone will need to apply next year through the Choice application if they wish to participate in the Applied Learning program at JT Stevens. This is the same process for all other Program of Choice campuses in the district. Neighborhood students will receive preference in placement through the lottery system.
2 – The applied learning classes will be separate from the general classes.
3 – It is my understanding that JT Stevens will continue to be a Program of Choice campus which means that those wishing to participate in the Applied Learning program (district-wide) will apply, with preference given to neighborhood students. Neighborhood families who are not interested will still be able to attend the campus without application, as general education students.
The current budget proposal involves very large additions to the budget for a number of new programs. The total budget increase is $66 million on a 2013-14 budget of $630 million. The result within 3 years would reduce our reserves dramatically. In addition, it appears that staffing for our new programs is not included in the out years.
Well, I spoke too soon. It turns out that minimum wage workers did get raises, but only if they had been employed for at least 90 days during the previous year.
Norm Robbins bested the opposition last night and earned a 9-0 vote for president of the FW school board. Thanks to him and his supporters for giving me the nod for secretary/treasurer. It kind of undoes the censure of me they voted a year ago.
The new principal for Woodway is Brian Johnson. He is currently an AP in Mansfield; very personable. I told him what a great job our staff is doing to bring the school forth.
These are on the "data" tab.