Parent Volunteer, Shawna Schnorr, is currently our school's representative to Area 9 School Board Advisory Committee. Periodically through the school year the group of volunteers and principals meet to learn about topics in and affecting the school district, as well as give input on issues.
In November, discussion focused on the new ELA program that was adopted this year starting with 3rd and 6th grade. Topics included the kind of training teachers needed to use the new program and parent & student reactions to the program.
At the January meeting, several topics were discussed:
Brief discussion about the movie Resilience, which discusses the impact of adverse childhood events on school performance, health, etc. and techniques to address the effects of the events. https://kpjrfilms.co/
Biggest risks in the WCPSS budget
A couple examples are
- Hiring bus drivers with reduced base transportation budget
- Reimbursement to charter schools - varies monthly based on enrollment in charter and non-charter public schools in the county.
- Duke Progress Energy rate increase - the 17% rate increase would mean $3 million dollars more in power bills.
- K-3 class size requirement - the legislature hasn't provided additional funding to meet the requirements for additional teachers. The short fall is about $25 million for Wake County. (This number does not include any capital money for classroom space, which comes from county, not state, funds.)
This was an important issue last year, and the legislature has not adopted any relief for this year. In short, by mandating smaller class sizes for grades K-3, and not providing additional funding for teachers, the schools will have to take from other areas, such as funding for specials teachers and increasing class size for 4-5 grades, to fund the needed teachers. These new teachers will also need classroom space, which can mean combining classes, using specials classrooms, and other "creative" solutions.
Year-round schools start as early as March evaluating their staffing needs for July, so this unknown comes sooner for us than traditional schools.
School Calendar mismatch issues
Bill Fletcher explained to us about feeder patterns in the western part of the county, and how the calendar (traditional vs. year-round) and geography are not aligned. Feedback was sought on the calendar for the new middle school being built.
More topics, details and action items at http://carycitizen.com/
2018/01/04/education-bill- fletcher-2018-january- newsletter/
Our elementary schools need your help!
Last year the NC legislature passed an unfunded mandate reducing class sizes in grades K-3. While everyone agrees smaller classes are great, what are the consequences of smaller classes without providing money for them?
- Enforcement of this mandate for the 2017-2018 school year will have dramatic effects on school budgets—particularly in the areas of Art, Music, and PE instruction. Specifically, schools would likely be forced to lay off current specials teachers in order to hire more classroom teachers, and specials would be taught by homeroom teachers.
In January, HB-13 was filed in response to concerns over this new enforcement mandate. The bill relaxes previously established classroom size limits to more realistic numbers. Below is a breakdown of what is proposed by the bill compared to previously accepted levels, and the current 2017-2018 caps.
Grade Level Previous Class Sizes 2017-18 Requirements HB-13 Proposal
Kindergarten 21/24 18/21 21/24
1st Grade 21/24 16/19 19/22
2nd Grade 21/24 17/20 20/23
3rd Grade 21/24 17/20 20/23
HB-13 has been through several readings in the House and Senate. On February 16th it passed the House, and on the 20th it was referred to the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate. We do not yet know when it will be voted upon by the Senate.
It is imperative that our Representatives hear from parents on this issue--before the vote! In 5 minutes you can scribble out a quick note to your Representative. It needn’t be long, or perfect, just a personal note (card, email or phone call). Voice your support for HB-13, and let your representative know what an important role specials play within our children’s heavily structured school days.
Can you do one thing to help?
Call NC Senate Education Committee Chair Chad Barefoot’s office at (919) 715-3036 and ask him to bring HB13 to a vote.
If you have more time, here are some more resources...
- Ask other NC residents to call their state senator.