Thursday, February 12, 2015

An Open Letter to the SWC 833 School Board

Dear Board Members,

We the people elected you to be our voices in the district.  We elected you to stand tall and strong for our kids and be good stewards of the taxes we pay to fund the schools.  We elected you to question, probe, research - whatever it takes for you to understand exactly what your employee, Superintendent Jacobus, and his (mostly due to resignations) brand new cabinet, are trying to convince you to approve.  You are the leaders of this situation.  As such, we the people expect you to do your due diligence when deciding on what should be included in $8 million in cuts from the budget

2015-2016 Recommended Budget Reductions and Potential Impacts  
We also expect you to ask why exactly our fund balance has dropped so drastically since Dr. Jacobus has been Superintendent - after all, it was he who introduced the "Budget Matrix" to the district,
"2014-2015 Service Level Matrix"
and eliminated the line item budget process - it was you (or your predecessors) who approved doing so.  We the people respectfully request the return of the line item budget as the Budget Matrix is confusing and difficult to read and understand.  It also muddles the numbers - grouping them together so that the real picture is like a Faux Monet: pretty from a distance but up close all muddled and confusing, only now, the picture isn't pretty no matter how far away one stands.

Furthermore, we the people request that the current budget cuts be scrapped and the process begin again - with the people, not just the administration - Dr. Jacobus, his Cabinet and school principals - involved and with using a line item budget so that every expense has a cost directly connected to it.  No more generalities.  Please show us EXACTLY how much is being spent on each item.  Dr. Jacobus and Mr. Kath have claimed that the Budget Matrix is great for the district because it removes emotion from the process.  We the people disagree: It removes the specifics and allows expenses to be hidden within the formulas.  True transparency would dictate that a line item budget be used for this process, not general amounts with no alternatives given.
We the people believe that schools should be fiscally responsible and good stewards of taxpayer money; however, we also believe that cutting Special Education, Reading Recovery, Elementary Band, Orchestra and World Language and also increasing class sizes are not good cuts; it would seem that those cuts were chosen to inflict the most pain on the people of the district to really demonstrate what "dire" straights the district leaders have put the district into. 

Board Members, please insist that Dr. Jacobus and his lean cabinet go back to the drawing board and rethink the proposed cuts.  Please stand up for the children of the district - that is your job - and insist that increasing class sizes is not an option, that cutting special ed and reading recovery are unacceptable and that band and orchestra are important and should not be the sacrificial lambs of these cuts.  Board Members, please do your jobs and research the options, ask for the line item budget and insist that the administration provide it to you if they want anything approved.  You have the power - you are the leaders of this situation - USE YOUR AUTHORITY and SPEAK UP FOR THE CHILDREN OF THE DISTRICT. 


We The People

Community Members: click here to give the administration your feedback re: the budget cuts.

Call your Board Members:
School Board Contact Info:
School Board Chair
School Board Clerk
School Board Director
School Board Director
School Board Director
School Board Treasurer
School Board Vice-Chair

Updated 2/12/15 2:53pm

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