A Look At the RSU #50 Budget

“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…Learning-How-to-Living-on-a-Budget

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?

RSU 50 Annual Report with the Proposed Budget Information for FY15

 

 

 

 

 

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4 responses to “A Look At the RSU #50 Budget

  1. I feel that there is way to much smoke and mirrors in the things accomplished at KMHS. There are too many teachers out for training, workshops, whatever. When the teachers are not in the classroom our children suffer. I can’t believe the freshman science teacher is a lead teacher in a Physical Science Partnership Grant with UMO, wow. This is the same teacher that hands out packets for the students to work through, and had all the freshmen doing the same science fair project. There is waste too, how about getting rid of the whole Marzano approach, the math program at the elementary school. Fuzzy math does not work. The after school program could go too costly. Do not adopt the Common Core, stick to things that work, stop trying to reinvent the wheel in education. It does not work. When you have things like Be yourself Week, under the guise of Civil Rights, allow kids to opt out of the indoctrination speech at the end of the week if they choose to with out having to call parents. Keep parents informed of what is going on, and not just through the website, which a lot of people do not check. Communication is so poor.
    As far as the budget goes, we are being asked to spend more. For what? To keep giving the kids less choice in curriculum so that you can say we need to close the school. If the kids are all in one school, we will be able to offer them more. That is bull! We have heard all that before. As far as building maintenance goes, it is so unethical to let your buildings go into disrepair and then use it as an excuse to close the schools. If you hadn’t spent 20 grand on Great Schools Partnership, and 75 grand on useless iPads, you would have the money you need to fix a roof. Please stop being disingenuous and giving people excuses. Start being transparent with what you want. The whole declining enrollment is just an excuse, your budget issue is that you spend too much money on things that do not matter. Our kids matter, but I really question how much the powers that be care. Our kids education has declined since we got into the RSU.

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    • When will we stop buying into “systems” that promise to supplant the teacher/student relationship? Like Marzano, for instance, who is no more peer-reviewed research based than the “flat-earth” hypothesis.

      So what happened during “Be Yourself Week”? I do have a faint memory of it, but it was under the radar…

      It is, indeed, “unethical” to shortchange children in course offerings, faculty and programs; also to suddenly demand that one generation pay for decades of maintenance deferred — all to “force” further consolidation and hopefully draw construction dollars for a new school. How many children are you hurting on the way? …and even after it is built, you are subjecting children to grueling bus rides, lower achievement/participation and taxpayers to huge transportation costs. Currently the State is a bit more generous helping with transport than other items, but certainly not enough for this to make sense. Don’t forget, too, that you could commit yourself to these enormous expenses because “the state is footing the bill” only to have the State decide YOU should pay….

      Parents feel neither welcome nor wanted in school, certainly. It’s too bad too because they have alienated wonderful allies.

      They are not going to “start being transparent” about what they want. –ever. We have to call it out publicly. Whether or not the powers that be “care” is moot, really. Even if you believe, in your heart of hearts, that this is “best for kids”, why don’t you “care” enough to prove it? …if not to your community but to yourself? The evidence is so one sided.

      We need as many eyeballs as we can get on this budget, and call out every penny of waste. Find the money, and force them to spend it on kids. You will have to go against the Board, though. I still hold out hope that the relationship between the Board and community will improve, but time is short!

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  2. If we are really looking to save money, why don’t we work on implementing a four day school week. That is 35 whole days in a year in which the building would not have to be heated, lunch would not have to be served, lights would not have to be on, a janitor would not have to clean, and buses wouldn’t have to run. These are just a few ways in which it would save. This would save our district a lot of money annually and it would not require consolidation. Plus that would be better for students and staff. Just some food for thought. http://www2.umaine.edu/mepri/sites/default/files/CEPARE%20Brief%20on%20the%204-day%20school%20week%202.10.pdf

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    • I like the idea very much, personally, and the supporting research is certainly compelling. This is the sort of innovative thought process, and the ideas it puts on the table is just what this district needs. Please keep them coming! This won’t be hiding in the comments section long…

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