“Where is the money?”, tops the list of ‘most asked questions’. It deserves answers, don’t you think? …and not from me, necessarily — I am sure there is quite a bit I miss. So, here is the Annual Report and Proposed Budget for FY 2015. Please read it carefully, and, perhaps improve it! They’re your children, your schools and your tax dollars…
Line items that are the most vital to students are also, sadly, the most visible and vulnerable to those wielding the budget ax. While less important things consume precious tax dollars in relative obscurity.
Taking leave from my habit of posting figures without comment, I feel compelled to point out a couple of things about the budget, that, as a parent, I find troubling.
For example, plans to “upgrade” to new Common-Core aligned versions of curricula: Publishers, including those used by this district, have come under fire by researchers for slapping “Common Core” stickers on old material that is not aligned at all, in their haste to claim premium market share and YOUR dollars. I am not alone in urging the Board to exercise the utmost caution, and bring the expertise of our teachers themselves into the fore of the alignment process. In high-performing districts, teachers retain a high degree of autonomy… Researcher and Common Core supporter William Schmidt urges Boards to spend their money only when material is fully aligned. More on that in a subsequent post, but here is a start: Washington Post “Are Math Textbooks Ready for Common Core?”
In another area, concerns have been raised about the amount of teacher time and money increasingly claimed by rather expensive Marzano programs and workshops. I can only speak for myself, but this is the closest thing to peer-review I am able to find. I wholeheartedly support teachers and expenditures toward their professional development, through reputable channels, are worthy investments. After speaking with teachers in other, high-performing districts, I increasingly share other parents’ concerns. Purchasing expertise, in general, be it programs or consultants, especially to supplant that of the bright, educated people already in our employ, is a point of contention.
So, without further ado, here is the budget as accepted by the Board. How does it line up with YOUR priorities? What would you cut? What do you like and want to retain?