Friday, February 25, 2011

Special Board Meeting 2/25/11

Dear School District of Janesville Employees:

Never would I have believed in my 30 plus years in education that I would be facing the change and uncertainty that has occurred in the last several weeks. Daily, sometimes hourly, I am receiving information from various professional organizations, attorneys, the media and politicians giving me additional information, an idea or something else to consider as we try to understand the Budget Repair Bill and its impact on the SDJ.

We have invited our attorney, Mike Julka, to present an overview of the Budget Repair Bill and its impact on the SDJ to the Board tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. at the ESC at a special board meeting. Early reports indicate significant reductions in state aid to school districts, meaning considerably less revenue to support education for our students. We hope to receive clear answers to our questions about modifying contracts and whether or not we have to follow the state statute for preliminary notices of nonrenewal on or before 2/28/11. If we do have to follow the statute we will have to issue notices. We may need to issue more than we would like to, but I certainly don’t think we will need to give them to everyone. We also had a Boundary Line Committee meeting this evening and it was determined that the SDJ has enough classroom space to close one or possibly two elementary schools to save money in the looming budget shortfall. An analysis of Janesville’s elementary schools by Commissioner Ardrey showed that the district could have up to 32 available classrooms, which is enough to eliminate two schools. Committee members asked us to review the savings if Wilson, Roosevelt, Jackson or Jefferson elementary schools were closed. We will be scrambling to quickly further analyze these schools from an educational, transportation and financial aspect.Like many of you I am struggling to understand what these changes will mean for all of us who have made working in the field of education our purpose and passion in life. As we are all constantly reacting to the massive nature of these changes and the unknown implications, I am thankful for the dedication and professionalism that I have heard in my conversations with many of you. I am impressed by the concern you have for our students and each other. Don’t ever lose that.

No matter what happens in the near future I am confident that we will continue to treat each other with dignity and respect. We must support one another and seek answers to these difficult questions. Please take time to assess the facts before the rumors. We have survived difficult times before and we will again because of each other and our commitment to our students.

4 comments:

  1. As frustrating as it has been in the past with delays in decision making, I now see and appreciate the time and incredible work you and the board have put into making informed decisions regarding the budget situation. You all have done a great job of researching, brainstorming, evaluating, informing, and listening. Thank you for your many hours of (sleepless) work. Deb Goad

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  2. Thanks for keeping us all up to date.

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  3. Hi Karen, I am wondering if we could ask that parents pay the part of tuition that is no longer subsidized by the state. The estimated $500.00 per student. I know that it would not be popular, but many families are already paying similar tuitions. In the end, I think a child's education is the responsibility of the parent. We pay 3 such tuitions in my household for daycare, school and college. Just an idea. Thanks for the blog and see you at 3. Evelyn G-D

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  4. Dear Vanna,

    We are seeking all kinds of solutions to our budget deficit. Everything should be considered at this point. Though not all families would be able to pay and it negates the idea of a "free and public education" I am putting it on my ever growing list of ideas. Thank you!

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