Valerie Jordan: Open Letter to CASD Board President Mark Schur

opinion

Submitted by Valerie Jordan prior to Board Meeting on 4/26/2022

Good Evening CASD Board President Mark Schur,

Dr. Betts says “we” keep cutting.  Actually, he controls the budget here.  He is the CEO of this company.  No one else is.  Dr. Betts is the best reason why this school district needs to be downsized.  Over 50 vacancies and what’s left needs to do more work?  That drives good people away from a company of that nature.  That explains all the resignations here too.  A Fayetteville Kindergarten teacher resigned effective 3/18/22.

Line 2300 Support Services – Administration on page 15 in the 2021-2022 budget wasn’t seriously looked at for cuts in the proposed 2022-2023 budget.  That’s the line that mainly supports Dr. Betts. 

Cutting teachers and courses isn’t the answer

You start offering less to our students, their resumes sent to good colleges will reflect that.   Your problem is you’ve outgrown your size.  I’ll keep suggesting Sending Districts to you.  That’s your only way out of this mess now.

State Aid is based on the number of students a school district has.  Don’t expect that aid to go up.  We are losing more students next year.  Another private school is coming into our area.

A look into the proposed school budget

The 2022-2023 proposed school budget is only projecting 3.5% in its Capital Reserve Fund.  Is that enough in this fund?  Greencastle-Antrim has 6.2% in its Capital Reserve Fund.

Within the past few years, the school budgets went from $ 150 million to $ 176 million.  That’s an  approximate increase of 17.5%.  I wish my investments kept pace with that kind of increase.         

In the 2022-2023 projected budget, it appears no new teaching positions are being proposed other than 3 for CAVE at a net zero cost.  Ed Norcross has stated publicly that teachers are needed here.  If 14 teachers aren’t replaced, classroom sizes continue to increase.

$ 800,000 in savings by not hiring teachers is actually a deficit for our students, not a savings.

In a projected $ 176 million budget, only $ 600,000 was found in department savings?  That’s only .34% for this projected budget.     

Freeze administrator raises

No administrator should be given a raise in the coming months because of the tax impact coming.  Why?  The taxpayers can’t afford it.

Find some money in this budget, and give our failing students a decent summer-school experience.  Give these students 6-hours a day/5 days a week of needed instruction.  That’s the least we can do for any failing student.  If these students can’t count change, let that be part of their summer-school experience.

AR-126 must be stricken from the Board’s Policy Book.  It is subjective and biased in nature.  It was never adopted by the school board either.  Translation:  It could lead to federal lawsuits.

 $ 68,000 in settlements is money not going into the classrooms.  Set a Board Goal that lawsuits end.

Curricula of any kind can only be successful if all grade levels, especially in elementary school, have the same number or close to the same number of students in them.  Small classroom sizes are desirable, but as I pointed out, this new budget doesn’t propose any new classroom teachers.

There should be no “unpaid bills” appearing on any bill list.  When I see that, I think how many bills have accrued interest. 

Ninety-three 8th graders or 41% of them are waiting to get into Career Magnet.  If Dr. Betts won’t make that recommendation to place them into that school, you should instead.  And 93 students heading into CASHS only makes that high school population larger.  Remember Dr. Betts doesn’t want to replace 14 teachers.   

 A Title I Compliance Plan doesn’t come with only one sentence per school involved.  Please get that fixed.

Moving forward

Add more reliable and knowledgeable people to the district’s Comprehensive Planning Committee.  Local politicians, people in the business world with real-life experiences, and Michele Jansen would add some great perspective to this committee. 

Hold all these meetings at night.  In fact, hold all your committee meetings at night so the Public can attend.  Holding meetings during the day only takes administrators and teachers away from their actual jobs.  Who loses in the end when this happens?  Answer:  our students. 

READ: Franklin County : Leadership Recognizes 23 High School Sophomores

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