2015-16 Budget & Curriculum: Update #3
Budget and Curriculum Update 3
April 27, 2015
Dear Shorewood Schools Community,
This communication is part of a regular effort to keep our school community informed on the development of the 15-16 school budget, transition activities related to leadership changes, and ongoing work to on our curriculum and learning initiatives. We will continue to provide weekly updates as our progress unfolds.
15-16 Budget Progress
As our last budget update indicated, we continue to project a $388,000 budget deficit for the 2015-2016 school year. This is a result of a reduction in state funding. However, there are ongoing efforts in Madison to restore this funding which may change our budget projection.
Because of the unknowns, we continue to plan for a balanced budget while simultaneously carefully evaluating budget proposals for items we would like to add next year. Budget proposals have come from teachers, principals, district staff, and from the “Budget Priority Survey” parents and teachers participated in last year. Examples of some of the budget proposals we are still evaluating include adding world language in third grade, support for Expeditionary Learning, complete staffing of our intervention/enrichment positions, and others. You can review the entire list of proposals here.
The various budget proposals are evaluated on a two-step process by our administrative team that includes principals, directors, managers and the superintendent. First, each proposal is placed in a Tier 1, Tier 2, or Tier 3 based on that proposal's likely impact on student learning. Tier 1 is direct impact on learning such as adding a core teacher to lower class size. Tier 2 includes things that support learning but may not have direct impact. This includes professional development of Expeditionary Learning as an example. Tier 3 includes items that are operational and further from the classroom. Then, each budget proposal is further evaluated using our top priorities of Build Community, Focus on Growth, and Transform Learning. Each budget proposal is evaluated against these priorities getting a score of 1 (best), 5, or 10 (lowest). The scores tell us how well that budget proposal will help us meet the priority. The priority area scores are then weighted using the tiers to give us a prioritized list of budget items we would propose adding as the revenue outlook changes. The list of prioritized budget proposals will be shared with the Board on Tuesday, April 28, and will be available to the public through BoardBooks.
The state funding picture may change and allow us to add some more of our prioritized items. The matching grant for STEM/STEAM and Expeditionary Learning may as well. Please look for additional updates as we learn more.
Finally, we are aware of some community conversations about the size of the district administrative team and concern that it has recently increased dramatically. I want to share the facts about the makeup of our administrative and management team and also share my perspective on this growth. (An “*” below identifies a manager level position; shaded rows identify administrative positions.)
Based on this table, we have approximately 2.0 FTE more in administration today than in 2011, one of which is the very unique position of Chief Advancement Officer. Without that unique position, growth of 1.0 FTE in administration based on student enrollment growth is not unusual.
We have also added 2.0 FTE in manager positions. Our athletic director is now full-time and the accountant in our business office is also now full-time, both important investments in our athletic programming and our business operations.
In sum, the district’s growth in administrative and manager positions is small and reasonable. Further, all administrators and managers now work together as a team which fosters better collaboration, coordination, and teamwork.
Curriculum and Learning Initiatives
We continue to move forward with our STEAM/STEM Initiative. Ted Knight is hard at work to raise the $500,000 to secure the matching grant. Our planning team is also participating in a Skype meeting with professors at NYU who are developing a Science of Smart Cities curriculum. It may become part of our STEAM/STEM education model. You can learn more about this effort here.
Monday April, 27, 2015
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