Superintendent Update (March 2013)
Budget: Since the last Superintendent’s update, the Oregon Legislative Ways and Means Committee has proposed the following funding formula:
$6.55 Billion (cash) + $200 Million (PERS reform) = $6.75 Billion in funding for K-12 schools
It is important to note that current K-12 funding levels are approximately $5.7 Billion in total package. This significant increase is uplifting in principle, but I would caution everyone to realize that there are literally hundreds of decisions that need to be made for the legislative assembly to reach the $6.75B package. Here are some of the challenges:
1. PERS reform is one of those hot topics that is predicted to end up in court. Schools are being informed that any PERS reform dollars will be decided very late in the budgeting process and could be delayed until next school year due to legal proceedings and review. Thus any PERS reform dollars should not be counted on for budgeting purposes since schools must balance their proposed budgets by June 30th according to state law.
2. $6.55B in cash will result in cuts statewide according to the Strong Schools – Strong State joint analysis conducted by Oregon Education Association (OEA), Oregon Schools Boards Association (OSBA), Oregon School Employees Association (OSEA), Confederation of Oregon School Administrators (COSA), and Oregon Parent/Teacher Association (PTA) [see the link on the district website for detailed information].
3. Unknowns still on the table that could be deducted from the $6.55B in cash:
a. ESD Regionalization as proposed in the Governor’s budget that is worth $120 million;
b. Early Literacy package proposed by the Governor and promoted by Dr. Rudy Crew – Chief Education Officer ($35 million)
Worst case scenario could be that legislatures do not leverage any PERS reform cost savings, and the ESD Regionalization and Early Literacy packages are passed which could result in a total budget of $6.395 billion which will cause even deeper cuts.
How can an increase in total K-12 funding over current values result in additional cuts?
This is a frequently asked question regarding K-12 funding. The answer is that there are a number of factors significantly influencing costs. The most significant being increased costs of PERS rates for employers due to the 2008 economic collapse of the stock market. PERS lost over 27% of its total principle value during this downturn and even though stocks are currently at very high levels, it will take years to build back the original principle levels, thus employers have to make up the difference. The second most significant increase is in payroll costs as a part of bargained agreements. Other increases involve the loss of revenue from federal sequestration; secure rural school funds, etc….
How does the Ways and Mean Committee proposal compare to the Governor’s proposal?
Governor Kitzhaber has initially proposed $6.15B (cash) + $253M (PERS reform) = $6.4B. This is the same type of thinking that the Ways and Means committee has come up with, but at lower levels. A $6.15B cash package assuming no PERS reform will most definitely result in massive and severe cuts to education statewide (see Strong Schools – Strong State poster on district website).
What can I do to support our schools?
I would encourage that now is the time to contact your state representatives and let them know how to feel about school funding. They do want to hear from you, your voice is important to them. Please note that the LCSD#7 Board of Directors has passed a resolution determining a position on school funding (see district website link under the Strong Schools – Strong State link). Feel free to share the resolution and/or the poster with legislatures, community leaders, patrons, etc…
What is the budget position by LCSD#7 at this time?
LCSD#7 is currently taking an optimistic position on the K-12 funding package. There seems to be good momentum with the $6.55B legislation (SB 5518/5519) which combined with the predicted savings of the geothermal heating project for the 2013/14 school year would result in a “hold-steady” budget. Keep in mind that we are closely monitoring legislative action regarding school funding very carefully and this position could change at any time based upon decisions made by our state representatives.
Western Regional Innovation and Learning Center (WRILC): This project is currently underway making incredible progress towards providing post-secondary services to our high school students and community. Memorandums of Understanding are either signed or in the process of being negotiated with Klamath Community College to provide the foundational educational services. Mrs. Susie Cahill has been named the new KCC Lakeview Director. She will be the solid presence at Daly Middle School as student needs are coordinated and transition plans with current TVCC students are being designed. Technology plans are being designed to facilitate video conferencing, remote online, and traditional educational services. Ms. Katie Kargol from Lake County Resources Initiative (LCRI) is conducting a community wide needs assessment to help with the design of educational services provided by WRILC. A facility assessment had been completed. Grant funds are being pursued.
It is important to note that WRILC has been officially approved as an official Oregon Solutions project (OSP) by declaration from Governor Kitzhaber. This will allow for further development of the project with additional state resources and expertise. It is important for people to reflect upon the potential impact of this learning center to our community. We are very thankful for KCC’s willingness to step forward and provide post-secondary educational services starting July 1, 2013 in lieu of the departure of Treasure Valley Community College (TVCC) by June 30, 2013. We thank TVCC for years of service to our community and welcome KCC.
Staff Development: With the continual rise of accountability standards, the district has been fully integrated in multiple staff development arenas. Recent research shows that Oregon districts that are actively involved in providing effective professional development opportunities for staff produce higher student test scores than districts that do not engage in professional development. We appreciate the communities patience as we set aside days for staff training. Major focus professional development areas this year for the district includes:
Common Core State Standards (CCSS) – national instructional standards
Response To Intervention (RTI) – a process that enhances building level academic support for all elementary students. Academic progress is carefully monitored by all staff and interventions are designed and implemented for students that fall behind;
Reading Strategies – a continued enhanced emphasis at the secondary level to boost secondary students reading comprehension;
Differentiated Instruction – a teaching tool designed to allow teachers to reach a greater range of students within their classroom;
Technology – the district continues to train staff and seek out technology related tools that improve the learning process;
Dual Credit Opportunities – enhancement of college credit opportunities for students to earn high school and college credit concurrently. Dual credit is dependent upon strong partnership relationships with higher education institutions.
Teacher/Principal Evaluation System – SB 290 requires that all districts will have in place an extensive teacher and building principal evaluation system that is tied to standards and includes student academic performance. LCSD#7 is working collaboratively with Oregon Department of Education and Lakeview – Oregon Education Association membership to complete this project by July 1013.
Student Safety: LCSD#7 annually evaluates school safety practices as a normal part of our daily operations. With the recent attention given to some very tragic school based shootings such as Sandy Hill Elementary in Connecticut, the district has now completed an Education Safety Summit Committee analysis with membership from Law Enforcement, School Officials, School Board Representation, and parent involvement. The purpose of the committee is to enhance the breadth of evaluating our current practices and explore options for improvement that make sense. School safety is vitally important to us and is the prerequisite for effective student learning. If students and/or staff do not feel safe, then it can severely inhibit the learning process.
Some of the safety related practices that the district continues to enhance and implement include:
We encourage the public to report any observed behaviors to school officials that makes them feel uncomfortable while on our campuses. This kind of information is very valuable for us to determine any courses of action that help to ensure everyone’s safety.
In Conclusion….., we invite the public to attend our public spring activities. Please visit the district website (www.lakeview.k12.or.us) for up-to-date information on these events.
See you in the community,
Monday, May 20, 2013