Interim Superintendent Vargas has introduced the proposed 2012-2013 budget. There are some minor concerns, there are major concerns, and there are some serious questions.
The minor concern is the “cut and paste” nature of department and program descriptions. Page 200 of the proposed budget states, “This sector is supervised by the Deputy Superintendent for Teaching and Learning who reports directly to the Superintendent and is a key member of his Management Cabinet.” Since we no longer have a deputy superintendent it is clear that the budget document was not thoroughly examined.
The department of Teaching and Learning is a major concern as their proposed budget, is $33,325,791 with Academic Support receiving the bulk of the money, $21,251,602, and FTE’s, 163. Academic Support provides support to schools, not children.
Another major concern is the $26 million Title I Federal ESEA NCLB grant money. This is $26 million dollars, with the exception of approximately $690,070, spent on Ela and Math coaches, Accountability Support, and Administration. As well, all of the $10 million Title I SIG is spent on secondary education, nothing on elementary education.
The questionable expense of the NorthSTAR program, listed in the 2011-2011 Final Budget as $20,601 per student, is entered in the proposed budget as actually costing $24,568 per student for the 2011-2012 school year. Last year we were asked to believe that this was a legitimate expense. This year we are asked to believe that for the 2012-2013 school year, servicing the same number of students, 250 projected enrollment, 130 students served daily, the district can provide the same necessary services with half the staff, from 38 FTE’s to 19, with less than half the budget, from $24,568 per student to $11,098 per student.
The RCDS has several post failure programs that, all tolled, service approximately 53% of the entire student population at an average cost of $3,309 per student. Given our current graduation rate, 51%, 47% of which made it without extended services, these post failure programs are responsible for only 4% of our graduated students.
Our children deserve more than budgeted failure. It is important to help those that are failing. However, it is more important to lead our children to success.
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