I'm just diving in (I bypassed the annual report on the Native American program but will come back to it.). Listening to the Superitendent, he is talking about the budget and the cuts that will need to be made.
He said beyond staff that things that are thought of as regular-type items in the district like "dual language and Options schools" might be on the chopping block. I am baffled at this, both from a logistics point of view and given that the district has never really explained the extra expense from either type of program.
He said there would be a Board Work Session on the budget on January 11th. Feb.11th is the date schools will be notified about staffing cuts. The Legislature starts its work this Monday.
He makes a good point that this "crisis" is manufactured by the Legislature because yes, voters already DID approve those dollars and it's the State that has now decided to enforce the change date for a levy at that level.
He points out that SPS is getting dinged for giving the salary increases and he "begs to differ." He looked back over 17 years and State has promised to take care of salaries and COLAs and they have not. I definitely agree on the teachers' raises but the COLAS for JSCEE staff, including the Superintendent's, could have waited another year.
I agree with the Superintendent about the urgency of getting this message out and he said that they would be meeting with the Chamber of Commerce (and thanked the SCPTSA for their help with the budget meetings.)
On "hot topics," he said they want to protect the Eliminating Opportunity Gaps work as much as possible. That's fine except there has been no fine detail as to what exactly is the substance of that work. He said there is also less space for childcare and pre-K space.
He mentioned professional development for teachers for the arts over the next summer.
The City Council approved a $250K grant for the district in support of undocumented families and students.
He referenced the number of speakers at the meeting signed up to talk about the SAP and the Board was to have a discussion around it. He said there would be discussion to "delay action" on this item at the meeting. He said they could delay until next Wednesday at the latest.
Director Burke, in his comments, said he would be announcing another meeting to talk about the reopening of Lincoln High.
Director Blanford has cancelled his district meeting for this Saturday due to a death in the family and will try to reschedule.
There was heartfelt testimony on grandfathering rising 8th graders affected by middle school reopenings. I do think the point of no real solid numbers on transportation costs was a good one.
The Board discussed waiting until next Wednesday to have a Work Session on the SAP. An audience member asked if he could make a query which legal counsel Noel Treat said was not usual but President Peters said yes. The audience member said a Work Session does not allow for public input when they make the decision. Treat said that was up to the Board but could choose to do so.
Peters explained why the delay made sense but that they do need to move forward but with the best information and ramifications of amendments possible.
Burke asked staff for outcomes of a delay. The Superintendent said a week delay would be okay but they wanted the Board to have the best info.
Blanford asked if the vote would be cast at Work Session but Superintendent said no. The meeting would be cast as a "special meeting" but they could vote then if they choose to. The vote to delay was 5-0-1 with Burke abstaining. (Harris had left the meeting, probably due to illness.)