REDDING BOARD OF EDUCATION
January 12, 2017
Board of Education Members: Irwin, Florkowski, Gaspar (attended by conference call), Hoffman, Denny,
Administration: McMorran, Lagas, Edwards, Martin, Wessman Huber, Wallin
Others: Approximately 10 members of the public and staff.
Dr. Irwin called the meeting to order at 7:33 PM.
Jennifer Weiss, Cross Highway: She is concerned about high taxes and hopes the Board will consider this when making the budget.
Sarah Odell, Black Rock Turnpike: She moved to Redding for the schools and she will stay in Redding for the schools.
BOARD MEMBER COMMENT:
DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION:
1) Summary of Budget: Dr. McMorran summarized the budget presentation that had been made at the previous Board of Education meeting. The human resource costs include salary, social Security, FICA, benefits. Teachers, paraprofessionals, and support staff are 81% of the budget. Special Education including psychological, special services and speech therapy is about 25% of the budget. The three unions: Custodial, Staff and Teacher are all getting increases. Salaries in Redding are fair and competitive for the region. There are 102 certified teachers, 81 with advanced degrees (3 doctorates, 51 with two Masters, the rest with Masters). Teachers pay increases based on years of experience and degree(s) held. Dr. McMorran described the negative effects of eliminating special programs and the need for restoring one custodian position at the elementary school.
2) Middle School Budget: Ms. Martin gave a presentation, which described the current staff assignments and what they would look like with a reduction. Her budget request is for a reduction of 2.2 teachers. It will require a 6th grade teacher to have dual certifications to teach Language Arts and Social Studies and/or Math and Science. The other reduction is in Latin.
Dr. Irwin asked Ms. Martin to describe the para and specialist assignments. Ms. Martin said that John Read Middle School has a math specialist with one paraprofessional and 1.6 paraprofessionals work with the literacy specialist. The specialists provide both small group and individual instruction. The temporary paraspecialist in the media center will be replaced by the hiring of a Library/Media Specialist. The specialists work in all grades. Ms. Martin said the specialists are not only responsible for implementing curriculum adjustments and/or providing new instructional models, they also provide curriculum leadership and are essential. She reviewed teacher schedules and class loads in response to Mr. Hoffman’s request for clarifications.
Dr. McMorran pointed out that middle school children are different than elementary school children. They have a unique set of needs. The approach to middle schools has to be social and intellectual. They need to have teams, to work in cooperative learning groups and in guided slightly autonomous work settings.
He said approximately 96% of Barlow kids are going into secondary education. 60% of Barlow students will go to the college of their first or second choice. The school’s commitment is to a full college prep program for every student who can do it. They seek full inclusion of all children, whether disabled or not. The high school achievement is bracketed by middle school performance. They use mandated Scientific Research Based Intervention (SRBI) to ameliorate problems in real time which is ultimately a cost saving. 80% per of the children needing intervention have reading issues.
3) Elementary School Budget: Dr. Wessman Huber stated that the schools value educating the whole child. The class levels are currently on the high end for optimal class size. The teachers use the 3-2-1 model, which provides for small group and individual instruction as well as whole class instruction. If class size goes up it will be difficult to provide the needed level of individual instruction.
Dr. McMorran cited a study done by the Tennessee Star Research Program. The researchers followed two sets of K-Grade 3 children. One group had consistently 15 or fewer children in their class, the other 17 or more. The results showed that students in the smaller class size benefited ever time when they got to high school. They had higher SAT scores and academic achievement, fewer disciplinary concerns and greater college success.
Dr. Wessman Huber said there are one literacy specialist, one early intervention specialist, and one math specialist at the elementary school. The English learner population has increased in the last few years. There are currently 13 students with 7 different native languages in the district. These students get 30 minutes of instruction a day. The literacy specialist and one para are supporting this population.
Dr. Wessman Huber said she would like to add foreign language exposure back to the kindergarten, which was eliminated last year representing a .2 FTE Spanish increase.
4) Special Education Budget: Ms. Edwards gave a presentation on the proposed Special Education budget for 2017-2018. She described all the services required by law included in the budget as well as the number of teachers currently working in these areas. The new budget request would include one Board Certified Behavior Analyst to be shared by RES and JRMS. There will also be a reduction of 1 BASES para and an increase of 1 Special Education (SPED) para.
Ms. Edwards said there is an increase in more high needs children coming in the district. This is also happening in many area school districts as well as in the state in general. Many of these students have language and fine motor deficits in the birth to 3 years of age.
The special education budget includes the cost of administrative services (secretaries and mailings), required transportation for students who cannot ride the bus, out placements, reimbursements from grants, substitutes, summer programming, and equipment. The total Special Education Budget is $5,278,709.
Dr. Irwin summarized the budget stating that contractual obligations represent most of the increase. There is an increase in the budget of $165,000 in the general education and $226,000 in special education or about $400,000. The budget request is for $300,000 because the school administrators have worked hard to cut the budget in other areas.
Dr. Irwin appointed Mrs. Denny to work with Dr. McMorran and the Redding Teachers Association to explore if offering an early retirement incentive the teachers would make good financial sense.
Layla Herman, Orchard Drive: ECS money loss from the state should be clarified to the public so that they understand where that money is going and to clarify how that will be adjusted for in the budget.
John Board, Umpawaug Road: Asked Ms. Edwards to explain the calculation of the 4.5% contingency. Ms. Edwards said it was based on the previously discussed contingency and a standard formula of 4.5 times per pupil. It was $75,000 last year. $95,000 this year.
Jeanne Wendschuh, Deer Spring Road: The Board of Finance will be expecting the budget to be $500,000 or $600,000 less than last year, and the Board of Education needs to communicate that this is not a realistic number.
BOARD MEMBER COMMENT:
Motion: Move to adjourn the meeting. Hoffman. Irwin. Unanimous.
Meeting Adjourned at 10:15 pm
Submitted by Allyson, Secretary, Redding Board of Education.
Recorded by Paula Darlington.