The historic 2014-15 budget recommendation

Last Thursday, school district administration presented the 2014-15 budget recommendation to the school board. It was a historic evening on many levels.

The simple fact that the school district is not recommending reductions for the first time in a decade is a significant moment for our schools and our community.  What is also significant, though, is the extent to which we are attempting to “get back” things that been lost over the years.

Perhaps first and foremost in people’s minds right now is the schedule. As I have noted previously, the recommendation is to return to a five-day week starting next fall.

Class sizes are prioritized at the elementary level and there will be an improved student-teacher ratio in most grade levels.

Using a phased approach, we hope to return middle school sports to full seasons, and reinstate many of the sports and activities that were cut from the middle school over the years.

A host of activities would also return to the high school if the recommendation is approved by the school board, including One Act Play, Drama Club, FCCLA, and International Club.

There are recommendations to expand Project Lead the Way, and implement the ProStart Culinary Program as well, another possible college credit at the high school, and an addition to the school district’s vocational programming.

Also included is a phased-in “one-to-one” initiative that will have a digital device in the hands of every student grades 5-12 by 2017, and greatly improved access to devices in grades K-4.

It is recommended that our tiered system of busing be discontinued, and that the Sunrise River School – our largest – have a full-time assistant principal for the first time in a long time.

There is much more, and I hope you will visit the school district’s 2014-15 budget page at the district website. There are options there for providing comment on the recommendation. There will be a public hearing on the recommendation at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 13.

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