Springville-GI School Board institutes staff development day for May 25
All of the propositions passed. Voters enacted the budget 532-347, voted to purchase the buses 495-368, and decided to reduce the number of board members 432-430. Kara Kane was elected by 604 votes to sit on the board, beginning July 1.
A public hearing on the budget was held at the May 8 school board meeting, at which declining revenue figures, projected expenditure numbers and the contingency budget numbers were all discussed.
During the meeting’s public comment period, Springville resident Ilene Rothman said she was dissatisfied with the amount of information presented to the public during the 2012-13 budget process. “In spite of repeated requests, we never really got the specifics we asked for,” she said.
Superintendent of Schools Paul Connelly said, “The line item budget is not generally shown to the entire planet. The board had it a couple of days after the last meeting.”
Rothman also read a letter, written by Springville resident Julie Francisco, that addressed several areas of the budget, including what fell under the program and administrative cost headings listed in the S-GI budget bulletin.
“A number of things listed in the administrative budget, I would argue belong under programming,” said Business Administrator Ted Welch. “We agreed they would be properly listed in the program budget. Several other programs make that same argument, that they would be more appropriate if shifted.”
In response to Francisco’s query regarding the athletics, music and arts budgets, Connelly said, “Other schools have already cut from their music and arts. We’re catching up, in a sense; providing the music and art that is commensurate with other districts in our area.”
Board Member Stephen Schunk said that he did not feel that the board had presented the public with enough budget information.
“I agree completely about the detail, or lack thereof, presented to the public,” he said. “That was the board’s mistake. The public should know much more detail. I made a comment about transparency, but I guess the message never got through.”
Board Member Jeremiah Kane also voiced his concerns about the issue. “The board never wanted to go through the line item budget. You can’t ram it through and then ask for more detail. You can’t have it both ways,” he said.
Welch noted that the board will discuss its budget process this year and how to proceed going forward during one of its meetings in June.
Transportation Supervisor Jay Peplin spoke about the elimination of his position and the proposed shared transportation service in the district.
“Friday last, I was informed that my position would be abolished as of July 1,” he said. “[Shared transportation service] was never presented to anyone and my questions are, what is the cost? When I’m not sitting in that seat, who’s dispatching? [If the district has one dispatcher] for 215,000 square miles, what level of service are we looking to provide? How do we provide that coverage? What is the infrastructure cost?”
Connelly said that, since many of Peplin’s questions dealt with areas of personnel or budget issues the board had not yet addressed, he would not be able to discuss them during the May 8 meeting.
Elementary School Principal Marcole Feuz said that many elementary students had taken a trip on Tuesday, May 8 to look at the flags featuring their artwork that are now hanging throughout the village.
“The thrill in their eyes, to see their excitement, was incredible. Thank you to all who did the hard work to make the project come together,” Feuz said
An exit poll was provided to residents at polling places on May 15 after some discussion by the board.
“The [exit poll] is for the board and the community,” Kane said. “We often say we only hear from a small majority. I’m only guessing that this can help guide public opinion and inform us of it.”
“The purpose of the poll is to give feedback: what we can do in the future, how we can be the best we can be,” said Board President Mel Williams.
Connelly reported that the district recently finished English language arts testing in grades three – eight.
“A lot of changes came awfully late. Last Saturday [May 5], 93 students took the SAT. Two of our students finished in the top two in the SkillsUSA competition, which is very, very exciting. The [Comprehensive District Education Plan] draft was sent out on May 2 and the committee has one more meeting,” he said.
A staff development day was set for May 25.
“Our teachers could definitely use some more professional development, so I’d like to propose May 25 as a day to go over [Annual Professional Performance Review] and focus everybody to land on time. In the afternoon, we will work on aligning with the common core,” Connelly explained.
“It’s getting to the point where I think every board should vote down APPR,” said Kane. “It’s a takeover of our curriculum. For a few million, they’re buying all the education in the state. I’m not for anything that even comes near this stuff. It’s really sad and pathetic. I won’t do this to the kids. It’s insanity. This model could care less what we think, what the teachers think or what the students need.”
Schunk said that he agreed. “I feel that professional staff should be salaried and doing these things outside of student contact, outside of school hours. There are seven days in the week,” he said.
Connelly explained that the reason he wanted to cover APPR and common core during a staff development day was to save the district the cost of bringing in staff during the summer or that of substitute teachers.
“[Training for] APPR has to be done or we risk losing state aid. There’s a lot of work to be done by grade level, department [and] interdisciplinary. It can’t be done in isolation,” he explained.
Board Vice President Delia Bonenberger spoke as a former teacher, administrator and board member. “I understand the frustrations with state aid, but I support what has to be done. We just have to comply with these things,” she said.
In other board news:
- The board approved placement of students as recommended by the committees on special education and preschool special education.
- The district adopted the District Plan for the Participation of Parents and Teachers in School-Based Planning and Shared Decision Making.
The next Springville-GI Board of Education meeting will take place on Tuesday, May 22 at the Springville-GI High School library and media center, 290 Buffalo St., at 7 p.m.