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Friday, October 1, 2010

SCSBA Advocacy Teleconference

The Rock Hill School District hosted a South Carolina School Board Advocacy Teleconference at the District Office Training room on Thursday evening. Five school board members ( Rentschler, Reid, Norwood, Brown ,Vining ) as well as 6 school board candidates (Rentschler, Nichols, Moe, Morrison, Sharp, Vining) attended with several administrators. You can see the handout provided from the School Board Association by clicking here.

By now, I've gotten use to various topics being discussed in our state legislature - and thankful that we have a few state senators (Senator Hayes being one) who work very hard to keep good education ideas in the fore-front. Never-the-less, it still increases the "concern" meter when you hear State House Chair of the Ways and Means Committee, Dan Cooper, state the following:
  • There will be no new revenue for the 2011-12 year. We'll be looking at throwing out the Education Finance Act (which we are way behind in funding) and going to a different way for funding education. We'll be looking at paying money, based on the child, with factors for free and reduced lunch, Special Needs Children, and Talented and Gifted. The districts would the be free to spend the money on any programs they'd like.
  • We'll be looking at three types of diploma's. One for special needs, one for advanced (24 credit hours) and another one with less credits needed (20?).
  • We'll be looking at shortening the teacher contracts to 180 days from 190 - this would save the state over $200 million dollars (and less salaries for teachers).
  • We'll be looking at putting caps on administrator salaries - Districts can only pay so much per child.
  • We'll be looking at setting a state-wide millage rate for education and taking away the ability for local boards to raise revenue. But we'll also look to prevent county councils from giving school tax dollars away.
  • We'll be looking at eliminating step increases for teachers - and replacing it with a system using various multipliers such as; performance; education level and; economic conditions of the classroom.
  • We'll be looking at setting a limit on the amount of reserve funds a district can have.
Take aways from the meeting:
  • We have to better explain what the reserve funds are used for.
  • We have to explain what our "non teaching" staff does.
  • We need to keep our local legislature "in the loop". We should communicate with them before going public - and do the same for our own employees.
  • We need to practice repetition - topics should be explained 7 times for understanding.
  • Howard Rich is still funding pro-voucher candidates - at a rate of over $100,000 already this election year - in South Carolina alone.
  • Everyone needs to vote. They need to identify the candidates who will best support education and vote for them.  If all the voters who say they support public education will be vocal and vote - there is enough volume to swing many elections.

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