School Board Meeting Notes December 2, 2013
These notes were taken from attending the December 2nd meeting of the Corbett School District board and then using the recorded audio of this meeting. This meeting was 5 hours long. ( Thanks to Karina Lande for providing these notes.)
Part Two: District Size Requirements
Randy states “The way I see it, the board needs to come to some kind of consensus about this information and the board needs to promote this information to the community.”
These assumptions are that 1,378 is what is needed to run the district. Randy also makes suggested cuts to balance the budget.
Victoria questions that she has been told there is more monies associated with district and transfers vs charter students. She then states “I personally don’t feel that this is fair to spring this on us. Asking us questions but not giving us them in advance so we can think about them & have our own questions prepared. I would need more information before I would agree to this.”
Randy “maybe we should go back over the papers then, it’s the same numbers the 1378.”
Randy and Charlie state that these numbers are without charter and what we need to support the district.
Charlie asks Victoria if that answers her questions.
She replies “I just can’t agree and commit to 1200 or more students at this time.”
Charlie “so you just don’t know? You haven’t studied it enough? Or you just don’t think we need that many kids?”
Victoria “I honestly don’t know Charlie, we were told these would be presented but when asked if we could get them early to go over there was no response. It just seems like we’re being asked all of a sudden to make a decision we’re going to promote this & there could be some back and forth involved in regarding how many students we need. I’m not comfortable to say either way at this point.”
David questions the numbers and Randy states his numbers are less on this paper than we currently have but that includes those 400k in cuts and $800k in roll up costs. (1200 kids)
* Roll up costs are increases in PERS, healthcare costs & raises and staff increases.
The consensus Randy wants is “for a number around 1200 not at 1200, so people hear a consistent message we can not shrink the district”
Victoria states she’s not comfortable with that number but she does acknowledge we need more than just district kids. And suggests we have an outside source do more research into this and have more info of what we’re looking at over the next say 10 years. But shes not willing to promote 1200+ to the community.
Charlie “if your not ready to agree to these statements ar the bottom or the cuts would you have suggestions for other cuts?”
Victoria replies “like I said had we been given this stuff in advance I could have gone over it.” Charlie “so you don’t have any other areas you’d be comfortable cutting, is that what your saying?” Victoria “I think we would need to go over it and actually have a discussion where we could look at different things.”
I then spoke & stated that most of the community realizes we do need some out of area kids. I also asked Randy about our conversations in the past regarding charter verses transfer and the drastic increases to funding by eliminating charter and that he agreed by doing so we could reduce by several hundred students and not make any cuts. I stated that I am not understanding how that has changed to now needing the same number of kids even if charter leaves.
Randy stated a year has gone by and the 7% roll up & that’s 800k in additional costs for costs going up. We will continually either need to grow every year as costs go up or make cuts.
The board was then asked to vote on the statements. The first statement was agreed to by 5 and opposed by 2 (Victoria & Annette).
Annette was asked why she opposed. She states “it would really be helpful to get this stuff in advance. And I don’t think the numbers need to be that high, I think we use the kids to continually grow to solve our financial problems and that doesn’t work because your always going to hit that top where you can’t grow anymore and we’ve never looked at any other things. We say maintain our current educational plan well I’m not sure that that’s working too well for what we have to grow that.”
Annette too was then harassed about not being able to make a decision on the spot and questioned regarding such a need to have stuff in advance by both Charlie & Randy.
Todd then asks maybe instead of going one by one and answering questions maybe we should just go through it all and than at the end do the questions and tally where we stand.
Charlie states that’s fine but “these questions really aren’t technical specific questions, they’re more like an ideology question I think” then asks Randy if he sees a problem doing it that way to which he replies “well they do build on each other”.
Randy says the first question is critical and the board needs to be very clear the resident students won’t get the education you want if it’s only resident students. If we can’t agree we need far more than our resident students then why are we even discussing a new building?
Charlie states we’ve been talking about what fewer kids & class sizes would look like for a long time so that’s my perspective on the not enough time argument. So if your not ready to support that question at this time that’s fine there were 5 board members that did.
First I want to thank Annette & Victoria for taking the flack at this meeting and for stopping and stating more questions should be asked, more research provided and a lot more discussion around our student size should take place before simply rubber stamping such a crucial statement. THANK YOU!
Notice the cost of AP or SAT tests that could be paid for by parents or other possible cuts are never on the table. I believe these costs to be 100k or more per year. The drastic class size issue seems to be to scare parents into agreeing with high student numbers. (In my opinion.)
Here is my math regarding the issues of funding and student size:
These numbers came direct from Randy from previous discussions I’ve had with him. The last time we visited this topic the teacher cost was $70k, it is now apparently $90k, a 20k increase in 1 year to the cost to employ each teacher. I’m assuming that is part of that big increase he mentions. However the bottom line remains that we are funding all of our current programs with what we have now and the amount received by charter has not changed. I can not wrap my mind around how we are doing it now with far less $$ than we’d have if we went to solely transfers, and yet if we did that switch we would still need the same number of kids even though the amount brought in would literally be over 4x the amount we currently get.
We rent 18 classrooms to charter and get $42,000 for each room.
If we had 28 district or transfer kids in those same classrooms we would receive $184,380.
These amounts x the 18 classrooms = $756,000 Charter
= $ 3,318,840 District/Transfer ( The cost to operate these classrooms by us would be $104k per room. X 18 = $1,872,000 )
- When you subtract the cost to operate the classes we would incur if they’re not charter from the total funding brought in we are still left with an excess of $1,446,840.
- If you divide that by the $6,585 (amount given in funding per student) You could eliminate 220 students from our population and still run the same number of classrooms without making any cuts.
Other food for thought:
We lose out on extra funding for hiring inexperienced teachers. We also do not get title 1 funding that we could because all of our aids etc would have to be certified and hold 2 year degrees. They don’t currently. So there are even more funding possibilities that exist that could also help us reduce student body size even more. Not to mention being a benefit to our kids education!
I’m no mathematician and I may have missed something but I don’t see how it can be disputed that quadrupling our funding would still require we have the same or more number of kids in our schools.