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:
- The Guaranteed Graduate concept, meaning that every student who graduates will be prepared to either start a career or attend and succeed in college.
- Better supporting teachers through a number of methods including scholarship offers for the best recruits, implementing a mentoring program for first- and second-year teachers, and opening up pathways for teachers to rise to higher levels within their profession, not only through becoming an administrator.
- Issue $30 million in bonds for Career and Technical Education (CTE) to improve offerings in schools willing to apply for monies.
- Implement a state recognition, accountability and support program for schools and school systems in accordance with recently passed legislation.
- Form a coalition of state agencies to support children and families.
- Provide $5 million in funding for Arts Education through an application process for school systems.
- Fund Alabama’s nationally-recognized PreK program to enable more voluntary participation.
- Continue to explore more equitable ways to distribute state funding based on need.
That was all before lunch. After lunch: Continue reading