CALL TO ACTION: Possible Budget Cuts

CALL TO ACTION: Possible Budget Cuts

The Manual PTSA Advocacy Committee has been working to understand the implications to our students, and to schools throughout the district, if the schools’ budgets are cut. Please read the information below for details and contact information for the district, state, and school leaders that need to hear from you. Share your input, then join us a the rally tomorrow (6:30pm, Westport Middle School gym) and/or the board meeting on Monday (6:45pm, Vanhoose Education Center).

I have pasted the text below, but if you click here you will go to the Google doc, where you can add your comments directly into the document that we are taking to the Rally to Restore Education Funding tomorrow. PLEASE respond by noon tomorrow if possible. And, forward it to everyone you know. It applies to all schools. and I am happy to provide other PTSAs with an editor copy that they can customize for their school. Just have them email their name and school to manualptsa@gmail.com.

Here is the URL: https://goo.gl/t7dQmt for the doc in case you need it.

In gratitude for our work together to serve all students,

Pinky Jackson

 

CALL TO ACTION

DEADLINE for input to be delivered at rally: NOON TOMORROW (1-7-16)

RALLY: 6:30pm tomorrow, Thursday, 1-7-16 Westport Middle

Our elected officials and school leaders need to hear from us! Kentucky school budgets have been cut over $64 million since 2008. Now it is time to stop the cuts and restore funding. This is now even more urgent, as we learn that JCPS is considering cutting up to 8 teachers from our school.

The proposal would be devastating for large schools like ours. Schools stand to lose AP courses; classes that have less than 30 students; and other courses that students need for their education now and in the future.

Please let the State Legislature, the School Board, Dr. Hargens, and Mr. Mayes know your questions and concerns as a taxpayer, a parent, a student, a teacher, and a citizen who understands the importance of quality education for all JCPS and Kentucky students.

WE NEED TO TAKE ACTION. Contact your state, district, and school leaders. Here is how:

DISTRICT: Contact Dr. Hargens and your School Board members and share your concerns about possible budget cuts. Address any potential budget cuts, including but not limited to teaching positions. Contact info for them is below. You can also add your comments directly into this document BY NOON Thursday (1-7-16).

  1. Contact info for Dr. Hargens is on the JCPS website.
  2. Here is the link to find your Board member: http://www.jefferson.kyschools.us/board/Index.html Email your input to your TWO board members (Diane Porter, who represents Manual, and whichever member represents your home address).
  3. Forward this information to all parents, students, friends, community members, etc. that you can. This is important for ALL JCPS families and our entire community.

Under the current proposal, our school could lose up to 8 teaching positions.

INPUT FROM PTSA MEMBERS (Parents, Teachers, and Students):
To meet the statutory requirement to serve the educationally gifted, AP classes and other advanced classes must be offered. Losing 8 teachers would mean losing AP classes.

If it looks like a budget cut and acts like a budget cut, it’s a budget cut.

Teacher re-allocation is a fairness issue. Public education is a distribution of a public good to members of a community. JCPS should be spending the same amount on each student in the district. Yet, students at Manual and other schools already have a lower annual cost per student than other schools. This proposal exacerbates that inequality.

The teacher re-allocation proposal announced by Donna Hargens’ staff in December is a cleverly disguised budget re-allocation. By taking teachers away from high performing schools and re-allocating them to low performing schools, JCPS is shifting budgets further in favor of low performing schools.

With all of the budget cuts since 2008, it’s more important than ever that the remaining resources be distributed evenly and fairly.

The loss of 8 teachers at our school represents a budget cut of approximately 7% of the school’s labor cost. The decisions about which classes to cut or reconfigure are being left to the individual schools. Thus, if our school decides to cut an AP course, that will be the principal’s decision, not JCPS’. Very clever, JCPS!.

A decrease in course offerings could affect students’ access to high school graduation requirements, college admissions requirements, and scholarship courses.
Losing AP classes, small group discussion class sizes, hands on courses, etc. could make it too difficult to meet the educational needs of our very diverse body of learners.

Students will soon register for next year’s classes, and they need to plan years in advance for their ILP and high school transcript. This is NOT early in the process.

Saying that this would “not be a reduction in teachers, it would just be a reallocation of resources” is misleading. If you cut teachers from a school, it is a reduction of teachers in that school. That affects all of the students in that school.

How many district employees make over $75,000 a year? If you reallocated THAT resource into the schools, would that better serve our students?

Advocate that state restore education funding so we can give students what they need, and make sure those resources get into the school in a way that the SBDM and the school leadership can use them to serve the students.

What are the true obstacles to getting enough quality teachers in JCPS? Personal and Professional Safety? Pension? Student Behavior? Professional Development? Parent Involvement? Classroom support?

How can we all collaborate to find creative solutions?

Add additional comments here:

STATE: Contact your legislators and tell them to restore educational funding. Let them know that education should be a top priority in the state budget. According to our Commonwealth of Kentucky Constitution, “The General Assembly shall, by appropriate legislation, provide for an efficient system of common schools throughout the State.” Kentucky is not living up to its constitutional charge to adequately fund an efficient education system.

  1. To find out who your KY Legislators are go to http://www.votesmart.org and write an email or send a letter by noon on Thursday, January 7, 2016
  2. Call (800) 372-7181 to leave a message for your legislator. Tell them Our Kids Can’t Wait and they need to find increased dollars for education in Kentucky.
  3. If you can attend, please do! Rally for Education Funding this Thursday, January 7, 2016, 6:30pm Westport Middle School

Our best investment for Kentucky’s economic health is education. Right now, the state investments are declining right when the dollars are needed most to ensure our students are ready for the workforce and globally competitive.

Kentucky is one of the worst states when it comes to elementary and secondary education funding cuts, according to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonpartisan policy research organization based in Washington, DC. – See more at: http://goo.gl/xKzgLk

Research Report No. 373 found at http://www.lrc.ky.gov/lrcpubs/rr373.pdfshows that the average cost of incarceration of an inmate in state prison in 2009 was $20,308. On the other hand, the cost to educate a child was an average of $10,174, according to the state report card from KDE. Wouldn’t it be better to educate than incarcerate?

Please join The Kentucky PTA and 15th District PTA at the Rally for Education Funding this Thursday, January 7th at 6:30 pm at Westport Middle School, 8100 Westport Road, Louisville, KY 40222.

LOCAL: Contact your school Principal and let her/him know your questions and concerns about losing up to 8 teachers.

  1. Email Jerry Mayes gerald.mayes@jefferson.kyschools.us. Please cc manualptsa@gmail.com so we can include your input on a comprehensive document and sustain advocacy efforts on your behalf.
  2. Ask your family members to take these action steps as well.
  3. Ask teachers how a cut like this would affect their workload, classroom, your/your child’s education. What family engagement is needed (or not needed) to ensure student success?