Public school battles city over charter

Excellent read of a NY City schools battle with the city over a charter school
But on Dec. 20, city officials unveiled a holiday surprise. The department said it planned to move a middle-grade charter school — Brooklyn East Collegiate, a member of the Uncommon Schools charter chain — into the space opening up at P.S. 9.

In the four months since, P.S. 9 parents have fought City Hall, scoring a few upset victories. But they have also learned a hard lesson: once the mayor’s people set their sights on a location, the chances of successfully challenging a charter are slim. Supporters of district schools fear that once a charter moves in, it will take over the building. They resent being compared academically, when on average, charters in New York City have fewer poor, immigrant and special-education students.

Even before the P.S. 9 parents got started, they were too late.

To add a middle school, department regulations required P.S. 9 to have filed a letter of intent by April 13, 2010; the final application was supposed to have been filed by July 15, 2010.

A classic Catch-22: There was no reason to apply until space was available, but by the time space was available, it was too late to apply.

[readon2 url="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/11/nyregion/11winerip.html?_r=1&src=recg&pagewanted=all"]Keep reading...[/readon2]

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Two Sides of the School Staffing Coin

An interesting panel discussion titled Two Sides of the School Staffing Coin: Innovative Models and Class Size Reduction Policies"

Featured presenters:
Matthew Chingos, Fellow, Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution
Julie Kowal, Senior Consultant, Public Impact

Featured panelists:
Michael Hansen, Research Associate, Education Policy Center at the Urban Institute
Donna Harris-Aikens, Director of Education Policy and Practice Department, National Education Association

Moderated by:
Raegen Miller, Associate Director for Education Research, Center for American Progress

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SB5 language In budget to get the axe?

Gongwer is reporting that house Republicans are not too keen to put S.B.5 language in the budget bill
House Republicans are resistant to the idea of tucking additional components from the recently passed collective bargaining law into the pending state budget bill, Speaker Bill Batchelder (R-Medina) said Wednesday.

The speaker, who had previously had indicated it was a possibility that provisions from the contentious union measure (SB 5) could end up in the voluminous biennium spending plan (HB 153), said after session that his members do not want to thwart the will of the voters in that regard. "At this time that is not contemplated, but obviously the committee is still working," he said, adding: "It would be extremely premature for me to make a bottom line on that."
Before we get to excited by this positive development, we need to be on gaurd to ensure that some of the provisions currently in the bill do get stripped out.

Current language in the budget bill (HB 153) will totally eliminate the ability of local associations to bargain salary. Instead, it would provide the authority to local school boards to annually adopt a teacher’s salary schedule with a minimum and maximum salary for each category of licensure (e.g. resident, professional, senior and lead) and designate salary placement for each teacher based on yet-to-be-determined evaluations, “highly qualified” status, and any other relevant factors, such as class size or assignment to hard-to-staff districts, subjects or at risk students.

These requirements supersede conflicting provisions of collective bargaining agreements entered into on or after the effective date of the bill (ORC 3317.14).

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Budget priorities

We saw the news that the Governor had decided to award Diebold $56 million
GREEN, Ohio -- ATM manufacturer Diebold Inc. will receive at least $56 million in state assistance to keep its headquarters in Northeast Ohio
In exchange for the state building this lavish world HQ, Diebold promises it won't lay off more than 400 of its 1900 workforce. Quite the deal for a company with $2.7 billion in annual revenue.

But that got us thinking.

The administration has made a decision that its better to award a company that makes ATM machines for bailed out banks $56 million than to use that money to save gifted education funding which is slashed by $60 million. That, to us, is a strange priority.

Now some might argue that one is about jobs and the other isn't. We'd disagree, but let's look at some other priority decisions being made. We scanned through news of school job losses because of this budget, in no particular order we quickly compiled this list of 525 job losses because of $45.2 million in funding cuts.

74 jobs, $2.5 million
In March, the board presented a long list of proposed cuts which totaled more than $2.5 million. The cuts include:

26 teachers coming from a variety of grade levels
8 bus drivers
30 support staff
Possible closing of Hooven Elementary
Decrease building budgets by 25 percent
Decrease of supplemental contracts
73 jobs, $6.3 million
Proposed State Cuts Would Deliver 'Devastating' Blow to Westlake City Schools. Between 44 and 73 jobs may be eliminated in an effort to close the budget gap.
[…]
Westlake school officials are maneuvering on district, local and state levels to find a way to absorb $6.3 million in proposed state funding cuts over the next two school years.
74 jobs, $3 million
Adams County/Ohio Valley School District School tax levy going to vote

The reductions we must make for the 2011-12 school year will be 74 positions. Reductions will include support staff including cooks, custodians and secretaries. It will include certified staff including administrators, high school teachers, elementary teachers, counselors and the elimination of some programs and instructors at the Career and Technical Center.
[…]
The levy is a five year emergency levy. After five years it must be renewed by voters or it will be dropped. It will bring in 3 million dollars per year for the five year period.
120 jobs, $13 million
Pickerington teacher layoffs set
Board approves reduction of up to 120 jobs in bid to trim budget by $13 million
14 jobs, $2.5 million
Delaware schools to seek levy, offer cuts
The $2.5 million in cuts for next school year include eliminating 14 staff positions, limiting field trips and phasing out German and Latin classes.
37 jobs, $2.9 million
Hudson -- Almost 200 people, many of them wearing the blue union shirts of the Hudson Education Association, listened as the School Board on April 4 voted to eliminate 37 positions before the start of the 2011-12 school year.

The eliminated positions will save the district $2.9 million in salaries and benefits but leave about 34 people out of work, according to Assistant Superintendent Phil Herman.
133 jobs, $12 million
Regardless of when the board does take action, members have warned Lakota residents to expect to see the deepest cuts in personnel and student programs in the district's 54 year history for next school year. Moreover, board members said the final cuts will resemble the current $12 million plan and Lakota students will face a scaled-down school system in August.
[…]
Lakota's latest proposed cuts include 133 teaching, counseling and related classroom positions - including 28 teaching jobs at Lakota East and Lakota West high schools. Students would have also have had fewer choices as those schools return to seven daily class periods, eliminating block scheduling.
We can all agree that there is a serious budget problem in our state, but I think we can also see that some of the decisions being made, and the priorities being pushed are only in the narrow interest of the few - and have nothing whatsoever to do with job creation or the economy.

Not when budget priorities serve to reward financial industry companies on the backs of students, teachers and local property tax payers. Does that seem right to you?

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