Prepared Notes for Board Meeting
May 24, 2010
Marc A. Schare
I want to take a moment to discuss the “something has to change” comment. Here is where I think we are. We (you) are struggling to operate the district under a series of constraints that are in direct contradiction to each other. The constraints are as follows:
· Our employees have indicated over the last few years that we should not expect to entertain serious discussions about reductions in salaries and benefits even though this is where the vast majority of school district funds are spent. The only way to limit the increase in personnel expenditures is to cut programs or introduce efficiencies.
· Our parent base has indicated that they do not support any attempt to introduce efficiencies into the program as various segments of the community strenuously object to almost any attempt to do so, particularly if it affects their kid. For example, the middle school restructure has brought very vocal opposition from middle school parents on the west side and the mere mention of reconfiguring elementary grades is enough to turn friendly PTA’s into.. well.. not so friendly PTA’s. Clearly, our parents prefer the status quo.
· Residents have told us by their votes that we cannot expect to pass levys in excess of 7 mills and indeed, the district has not done so since 1991. Given the current forecast, we can maintain the status quo assuming we require no additional bond money for at most 2 more years.
· And of course, the legislature has told us by their actions that no matter which party is in charge, we can expect a steady stream of unfunded mandates to respond to the fad of the day, whether it’s a million dollars for all day Kindergarten, hundreds of thousands for community school tuition or 4 million dollars/year to add 30 minutes of physical activity in lieu of begging the state for permission to teach math, science and reading instead.
The administration has done what they can by looking for cuts without hurting the program, however, despite those cuts, we are where we are – the promise of more cuts to come, more community angst and more over-the-top levy campaigns where we have to threaten to cut everything under the sun to win increasingly larger millages at increasingly shorter intervals. I hope we can use the first month or two of summer to take the state audit report, the Treasurer’s Advisory Committee recommendations and the Superintendent’s budget task force and get on with making the structural changes necessary to get to “reasonable levys at reasonable intervals” and I hope we don’t try to start another levy campaign until we do.