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BOE reviews 2023-24 budget proposal: 4% increase in the face of $8.8 million fiscal cliff

You read that correctly! If the Board of Education approves this budget, we will see an increase in your taxes, while getting the same sub-par education: 40% reading proficiency and 32% math proficiency.

Read our meeting notes here:

1. Concerns with Special Education Paraprofessionals

  • Heftmen and Hamman express concern about ratio of special education students to paraprofessionals and certified special education teachers (some seem to be as high 14 or 15 students and the district has been unable to provide any specific numbers)

  • Lucero reports ratios are currently fine, and they are having difficulty hiring in those positions, so they stopped looking

  • Hamman asks about increasing compensation for larger special education class sizes, she is worried about losing special education teachers due to lack of support (ex. Northeast)

2. George proposes Increase Per Pupil Funding

  • +$10 at the high school and middle school level; +$5 at the elementary school level. This would be a $125,175 increase.

  • Esses asks what the funds are for and is told they are funds to be used at the discretion of the principle for things like art supplied, paper, field trips, small technology, professional development, etc.

  • Lucero admits they don’t really have a need for such funds and if teachers are “spending their own money,” they need to ask their building principal first.

3. Munshi-South proposes 2 new assistant superintendents

  • +$510,00 to support development of principals and really ensure accountability as implement new curriculum and move needle on instructional goals

  • Esses agrees, but later admits he is unaware of what lower-level admin currently do and how the district might be able to restructure rather than further bulk up administration

  • Hamman pushes back and says we have instructional leaders in each school. We need to look at the data and if they aren’t showing results than it should be reflected in their review and if needed they should be replaced. Believes we can achieve curricula goals by restructuring not adding more admin.

4. Esses proposes a series of budget cuts

  • Eliminate $70,000 district pays to provide each student with cap and gown / make allowances for students that absolutely have no other way to fund expense

  • Eliminate summer school for grades 4 to 8 (some pushback from Munshi-South)

  • Eliminate Twilight programming (after-school and/or alternative timed classes) and remote instruction

  • Reassess security guards in elementary schools and security upgrades of $300,000 (he got lots of push back from the majority of school board members).

5. Hamman questions the position titled “Access and Opportunity”

  • Lucero says they will present their full spectrum of projects soon and there is only a couple of things on the budget because the other work doesn’t require a budget line

  • Hamman wants data to show how many students these programs support and the measurable outcomes

6. Pioli asks about the ratio social workers to students both general and special education.

  • Says she wants more social workers in the schools.

Fritz asks about sports in middle school

  • Lucero calls upon Assistant Superintendent Fernandez to answer: basketball, baseball, cross-country. Some use clubs to do additional activities based on student interest

  • Butler says she would like to see more sports and uniformity across the district to give more kids opportunities and to act as feeder teams to our high schools

After over an hour and half of discussion, the board voted to pass the budget through to the full board meeting on February 23rd where they would discuss and vote on individual aspects of the budget in more detail.

Before adjourning the meeting, Heftmen insisted on allowing the public to speak. Several other board members agreed, with Versha and Hamman calling for more advertisement of such engagements to the public.

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