Saturday, December 17, 2011

Schools-of-Choice: A "Given"

Everybody please take a deep breath and let’s calm down and review what happened at Tuesday’s BOE meeting. I know ahead of time this is not going to be a popular posting but hopefully I can help to bring a little understanding to the current Greece Central’s School Consolidation Report.

I was at the meeting and listened to each of the five reports. I was happy in that there were school closings to more closely match building capacity to current student enrollment numbers. It was a mystery to me why I did not hear anything about SOC other than moving them to another location? Strange?

In talking with some individuals they said look at the BOE Goals for the 2011-2012 school year. So I did and then I read the Board Briefs on the District’s web site. Here is what I found:

Greece Board Goals for 2011-2012
1. Establish a strong governance team with the Superintendent, Cabinet, and District.

2. Take steps to understand the issues and options to:
-Streamlining school and transportation operations to reduce costs.
-Impact of closing a school building(s) by consolidating students/grade levels or programs.
-Study methods to align schools of choice with district demographics.

3. Initiate and support the development of a 5 year strategic plan to become high achieving and fiscally stable and cost effective.

4. Build effective and transparent communication strategies to establish common support for goals and strategic initiatives.

District Goal #3
3. Ensure economical and effective business and support operations with an emphasis on quality, service, and efficient use of limited resources.
-Evaluate efficiency of current transportation system/practice
-Evaluate use of district/school space and consolidate schools and buildings
-Implement long-range fiscal/facilities plan (Capital Project)
-Continue to evaluate programs using benchmarks for cost efficiency and quality performances.

I have been most critical of Greece Central for NOT having BOE Goals and District Goals. This year they have them! BOE Goal #2 and District Goal #3 is the charge to the school district’s superintendent. She is legally responsible to carry out and or implement the BOE Goals for the 2011-12 school year.

Supt. Barbara Deane-Williams was NEVER given a charge, by the Greece BOE, to evaluate/analyze open or close any SOC schools in Greece Central. She can not go off. on her own, and do what she wants to do. Goals, once approved by the BOE, become her charge and responsibility to do BOE Goal #2 and District Goal #3 as it is written.

I personally do not know where I stand on SOC schools. I tend to think they have out lived the original purpose. There has to be equal education and equal educational opportunities for all students enrolled in Greece Central. Currently this is not the situation in Greece.

My only point is that it is not the Superintendent’s fault for not evaluating the SOC schools. There was no direction or directive to her to evaluate them. This is just a fact not an opinion.

Doug Skeet

SCATS ~~ Doug, thank you for refreshing my memory about the content of the goals! BOE Goal #2 makes retaining schools-of-choice a given from the gitgo. I can see your point about the charge to the Supt. However, District Goal #3 has not been tended to related to SOCs. I still want to see & hear about the DATA, the STUDY, the DISCUSSION by the BOE and whatever other "evidence" they used to decide that schools-of-choice are:
  • fiscally prudent and cost-effective;
  • beneficial to the district, not just to lottery winners;
  • demographically defensible;
  • an efficient use of space;
  • an efficient use of transportation & other services;
  • serving a defined need that exists today!
They've given us NO REASON TO RETAIN THEM! After all, our BOE is pleading poverty going into the budget season and everyone knows that SOCs cost more!


Anonymous said...

While the Superintendent does not have the ultimate authority to do away with ‘school of choice’, she does (or should) have the largest voice in the district. Her stepping out and publicly voicing her disapproval on the system SHOULD go along way. Her disapproval could be for any of the 100 reasons the sytem is wrong. She, instead, seems to be electing to use the Steve A. approach , which is to ignore the giant pink elephant in the room, which is exactly what the BOE wants. Steve A. learned that when you become nothing more than a puppet for the BOE you win no support from the public. So when the BOE is ready to chew you up and spit you out (think hockey issue)
nobody is there to help you.

SCATS said...

To 5:56AM ~~ I hadn't thought of that, but your point is very well founded in our recent past history.

BEWARE BABS! You just might end up feeling set-up in the not too distsnt future ;)