Thursday, March 24, 2011

A bit of forward progress

(This post is available in Spanish. Leer artículo en español.)

Another week, another bit of forward progress.

We continued the process of trimming costs, gaining efficiencies and enhancing service to students with this week’s proposals to a School Board committee Tuesday night.  It was a long night and many parents came to provide input.  We were glad to see them. While the full Board must still approve the measures March 31, it looks as though we received the okay to close one school, relocate four others and merge two more.  We will continue to explore cost savings in school nutrition, and we received initial approval to go ahead with a food service improvement plan in the high schools.   More school changes will come forward in April, along with the district’s own proposed spending plan for FY12.

Of course, the actions we are taking now only begin to position us to be a more financially stable district.  We still face an immense budget shortfall, mostly due to projected state cuts of more than $74 million dollars to MPS.  I am starting to think about that shortfall in terms of a giant hungry sinkhole that could swallow up a lot of early childhood programming, math teachers, art, music and phy ed classes and whole schools.  I know our families and staff are also hungry for information.  We keep them informed with weekly letters.

            And – what’s up with all the focus on the residency issue?  I wish legislators could feel that same burning need to fix the school funding formula.   By the way, if you’ve been curious as to what the MPS policy on residency, established in 1975, includes, go to this link and read it.