Category: College Ready

Funding and Budget Change Proposals – Work Session September 27

When you hear all of the changes the state board of education is entertaining, your head will start spinning.  It all sounds so good while you’re sitting there listening to it.  It’s obvious that Children have taken center stage under Dr. Tommy Bice’s superintendency.  How he proposes to greatly improve public education for our children is remarkable.  Bice doesn’t propose to reinvent the wheel; rather he appears to draw on models either already in existence or on laws that are already on the books that haven’t been enforced.  Today’s post contains two versions:  The Short Version and The Details.

The State Board of Education met on Thursday, September 27.  The meeting began around 10:40 a.m.  All board members were present except for Mrs. Betty Peters.

Here’s the agenda.  That first item, the “Preliminary Policy, Legislative, and Budget Priorities FY14“, is loaded with ideas for reforms for public education in Alabama.  Most of the space here will be dedicated to that discussion.  Also discussed was the language that needs to be included in the Code of Alabama to implement the School Board Governance Improvement Act of 2012.  After lunch, the board learned about the strategies the Office of Learning Support intends to utilize to support Plan 2020.  A draft of the Substitute Teacher Handbook was shared with the board at the end of the meeting.  (Substitute Teacher Handbook!  What a great idea!)

The Short Version – The Most Important Points (from where I sat)
Note:  The links/bookmarks only work when you click on the heading and get to the full post.  The links don’t work in the homepage version.  Click “continue reading” to get to the full post or just click on the headline “Funding and Budget Change Proposals”

  • Preliminary Look at the FY14 Budget (here, too)
    • An additional $400 million in revenue is expected to be available for the FY14 budget
    • Officials have included monies for Technology, Library Enhancement, Professional Development and Common Purchases in the FY14 draft budget (all of those categories have been zeroed out for a few years now).
    • Officials plan to adopt AdvancEd standards for Assistant Principals, which will increase state funding for Assistant Principals by 119.5 positions for FY14
    • Library support positions will be decreased by 346.75 positions in the FY14 budget.
  • Details of how the Alabama Administrative Code will be updated to reflect the needed changes due to the implementation of the School Board Governance Improvement Act were presented.
  • Policy, Legislative and Budget Priorities include:
    • Returning Other Current Expense to the 2008 level.
    • Returning divisors (that determine class size) to their original level over the next few years
    • Increasing transportation funding.
    • Increasing the amount for textbooks to $75 per student in the FY14 draft budget.
    • Granting a cost of living salary increase to employees.
  • Reform Initiativesinclude:

That was all before lunch.  After lunch: Continue reading

State Board of Education Work Session – August 9, 2012

UPDATE:  Alabama’s Flexibility Request released for public comment. (updated at 2:45 p.m.)  See below for more details.

This work session focused on Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) results.  There was a good discussion of Career Tech recommendations and progress as well (which includes changing the Alabama High School diploma!).

As fate would have it, I arrived 15 minutes late to the meeting (actually 3 1/2 hours early, but that’s another story), and the UStream video encountered audio problems, so until the kind people at the ALSDE sent me the MP3 of the meeting yesterday, I was unable to hear the discussion of the first 15 minutes of the meeting.  (Thank you, ALSDE!)

Here is the full agenda with presentation materials on everything except AYP results.

Here is the presentation on AYP results.

The first part of the meeting was Dr. Bice’s explanation of what AYP is and what is isn’t.

Continue reading

State Board Work Session – February 23, 2012

In the spirit of full disclosure, if you’d rather watch the actual meeting than read my notes, please visit this site.  It looks like the State Department of Education will be broadcasting some of its meetings (not sure which ones) via ustream!

All members of the board were present.  Their post-secondary board meeting was held prior to this work session, and as such, the meeting did not start on time (10:30 a.m.), but rather around 11:30 a.m.  ( I failed to note the time, my apologies.)

State Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice conducted the work session, introducing the work by saying today is a very exciting day, as they were going to share with the board the direction of the school system for the next four years.  Bice spoke of the natural transition from one superintendent to the other and the opportunities that presented the board by looking back on what has worked, sizing up the challenges and look at what they want to do differently.  Bice said he had delved into the “unbelievable” amount of information they have available in their department and found some information surprising, some startling (and not always in a bad way).  He spoke of the opportunity the information provides because it quantifies the challenges ahead.

Bice then unveiled “Plan 2020”.  (This is where viewing the video helps, as I was not provided a copy of the slides of the PowerPoint Bice used.  Here’s hoping it will be published on their web site! Update 3/29/12: HERE IT IS!)  Continue reading

Alabama Superintendent Dr. Bice Speaks to Hoover – January 17, 2012

Dr. Tommy Bice visited the Hoover Board of Education building on Tuesday, January 17, 2012.  State Representative Paul DeMarco, who represents portions of Hoover, invited Bice to speak to allow an opportunity for Bice to interface members of his district.  (Read The Birmingham News’ coverage here.  Shelby County Reporter’s coverage here.)  Bice was appointed Superintendent last November 10 by the State Board of Education and officially became Superintendent on January 1, 2012.  His three-year contract was approved in December 2011.

Rep. DeMarco introduced Bice to the group of 60-plus people gathered in the boardroom at the Farr Administration Building in Hoover.  Then Bice stepped to the front of the room and shared his vision for Alabama’s schools.  He had a lot to say.

He claimed he is a “relentless, unapologetic advocate for students” and much of what he shared embodied those remarks.  Bice is not in support of Governor Bentley’s proposal to unify the budget (which, since the meeting, Governor Bentley has decided not to propose during this year’s legislative session).

He then spoke of successes in Alabama, remarking that we don’t celebrate our successes nearly enough.  (I agree.)  Continue reading