Apr 12, 2011 Ned Campbell Uncategorized
High School English teacher Dave Sipley spoke to school board members on behalf of the Jordan-Elbridge Teachers Association at the April 6 meeting.
“Since 26.7 instructional and non-instructional layoffs were announced last week, and for many weeks and months before, many of the members of JETA have come to us and asked why we have chosen to stay away from Board Meetings since our statement of principle in October,” Sipley said. “Even community members and students have asked why JETA is laying low. As a supporter of the idea from the outset, I can tell you exactly why: Teachers will not burn bridges.”
He stressed that teachers work for the board of education, the community and the students.
“But most of all, we wanted to show that we were actually doing what has become the most overused clich in education: doing what’s best for kids,” he said. “We hope that we have earned your good will by doing so. And now we would like to try and put that good will to good use.”
“Like too many of our teachers, some of you on the board won’t be here next year, and like our teachers, you should consider how you can best leave a positive legacy. Like our teachers, some of you from the community and the board may be angry, frustrated, and demoralized. Like our teachers, you could all allow your emotions to get the best of you and leave a scorched earth in your wake, but like our teachers, you will not.
“The Jordan-Elbridge Teachers’ Association will be telling its members to display the professionalism that you and your predecessors recognized when you first appointed them and when you granted them tenure. You can be certain that they are going to act in such a way that they can say that they have left Jordan-Elbridge doing what is best for kids.
“So we ask you, board members who will hopefully be looking at ways to preserve and restore instructional programs and positions, and community members who will be asked to pass the least destructive budget possible, to examine your thoughts and your actions so that you can join us and say that you have done the same.
“Teachers will never burn bridges. We hope that starting tonight you can all begin the long hard work to reach out and rebuild yours.”
Hamilton presents alternate budget
Bill Hamilton, J-E’s suspended assistant superintendent for business and finance, presented his suggested budget for the school district at a community forum held last Thursday at the Elbridge fire station.
He told the 80-plus students, staff and other community members in attendance that his presentation was informed by his financial expertise and memory of past data. He said he used information from the state as well the district’s 2010-11 budget report to prepare his report.
In his report, Hamilton said the budget should be 4.5 percent less than the district’s current spending plan of $27,596,582, which increased by 4.7 percent from last year. Hamilton’s budget calculations were made with a 3 percent increase to the tax levy; the district’s budget suggests raising the tax levy by 7.3 percent.
Hamilton said there would only be a need for 10 layoffs assuming his calculations are correct; the district proposed cutting 29.7 positions. He also proposed using less money from the fund balance ($800,000 compared to the district’s $1,700,000) and far less from debt service reserve ($250,000 compared to $600,000).