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What Will School Budget Look Like Next Year? Expect a Forecast Tonight

The Rochester Board of Education will get a preliminary look at the 2012-13 budget and discuss outsourcing transportation, custodians and other noninstructional services.

The Rochester Community Schools Board of Education will receive a glimpse Monday at next year's school year budget.

The board will hear the report as part of its regular meeting at 7 tonight; the meeting in the Harrison Room of the is open to the public.

Next year's budget will be helped by:

  • Added $200 per-pupil foundation allowance ($3 million).
  • The projected gain of 29 pupils ($206,000).
  • Projected teacher retirements ($2.4 million).
  • A possible energy-saving program ($400,000).
  • Savings on employee insurance ($2 million).

Next year's budget will be hurt by:

  • The added costs of full-day kindergarten ($3.1 million).
  • An increase in the district retirement rate ($2.6 million).
  • Reduction in tax revenue from Oakland Schools ($600,000).
  • Elimination of $215 per-pupil one-time state payment ($3.2 million).

The net costs of all of the expenditures and revenue changes is about $1.5 million, according to numbers that will be presented by the school's budget and finance department.

Board members will also vote on amendments to the 2010-11 school year budget based on actual enrollment numbers, staffing assignments and grant funding.

The board has set March 26 for a discussion of potential budget cuts for 2012-13.

Outsourcing services

In addition to the budget, the board will discuss a resolution that would allow the district to seek bids for the outsourcing of custodians, transportation and other noninstructional services.

The state, through the School Aid Bill, has said that seeking competitive bids for noninstructional services valued at $50,000 or more annually is one of five "best fiscal practices" for K-12 public school districts.

"Due to prevailing unfavorable economic conditions, the Board of Education has requested the administration provide firm financial data on potential cost savings resulting from outsourcing certain noninstructional support services," said Superintendent Fred Clarke in a memo to board members.

According to Clarke's memo, the district could save more than $2 million annually if it outsourced custodial, transportation and some grounds services, as well as parking lot attendants.

If the resolution is approved, the bids would be advertised this week, and the board would be presented with the bids at its March 26 meeting.

Even if board members approve tonight's resolution to seek bids for these services, that does not mean the bids will be accepted.

A copy of the proposed resolution is attached to this report.

Other business

  • The board's "Academic Spotlight" will feature 's media center and classroom instruction collaboration.
  • The board will discuss changes in its board bylaws.
  • The board will discuss a contract with Energy Education Inc. for an energy conservation program.
lmc January 23, 2012 at 01:22 PM
OMG, outsourcing again? The RCS custodial staff gave up just about EVERYTHING when the district threatened to outsource them 3 years ago. Such a travesty! Also, why is the district spending good money on joining an energy savings program? The district has extremely well managed energy savings procedures already in place and has been very successful in reducing energy costs & usage. Absolutely ridiculous.
dk January 23, 2012 at 11:14 PM
There is a 1.2 billion dollar surplus, thanks to the money Snyder took from our schools. He's making noise about giving some money back - but with strings, of course. Only businesses are entitled to unregulated money.
mary clark February 12, 2012 at 11:44 PM
I agree with Imc, why pay money for an energy saving program and now hiring someone to over see it? (and pay them up to 90,000 a year) It seems to me RCS likes to spend money on new programs when the exisiting programs are working just fine! I hear that there is a new registration system in the works for certain departments. WHY? What they all have now works just fine. If RCS is hurting so much, why spend money on a registration system when the 'old' one costs nothing? I don't get it - lay off good workers and make drastic cuts in pay to others (oh, not the teachers, though) .
dk February 13, 2012 at 12:48 AM
Snyder and the radical Republican ideologues in Lansing (starting with McMillin) will not stop until they privatize it all. Rochester Schools can't even "compete" for additional funds unless they privatize the custodians, transportation and other noninstructional services. After people accept this, next comes the teachers. Who needs professionals in a hands-on classroom when you can pay minimum wage to people in charters and online videos. Here's what you get when you take a meat cleaver to public education, and I certainly resent paying McMillin with my tax dollars to destroy Rochester Schools. . "The group's annual report finds that the academic performance of Michigan students from all socioeconomic backgrounds has declined since 2003 -- with especially dramatic drops for white and higher-income students. White students' math scores fell from 13th in the nation in 2003 to 45th last year on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). During the same period, eighth-grade reading scores for students from wealthier Michigan families have dropped from 21st to 30th in the nation." More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/09/education-trust-midwest-report-michigan-students_n_1265638.html?ref=detroit
Joshua Raymond February 13, 2012 at 03:18 AM
--Rochester Schools can't even "compete" for additional funds unless they privatize the custodians, transportation and other noninstructional services. Actually, the law states "Obtain competitive bids on non-instructional services". They don't have to privatize any services, just get bids. What various unions and companies bid is up to those groups, not the state or school district. I don't believe the district even has to choose the lowest bidder, but they might have to have a valid reason for not. --After people accept this, next comes the teachers. Who needs professionals in a hands-on classroom when you can pay minimum wage to people in charters and online videos. Frankly, the job of public education is to educate students. Businesses compete for customers. Community organizations try to get a goal accomplished and the goal is more important than who accomplishes it. The pushback by traditional public schools and unions against charter and online schools leads people to question whether public schools are afraid they can't compete or that the goal is really employing union teachers. The goal needs to be the education of students. If traditional public schools can do it better than charters and online schools, why should they worry? If they can't, the education of children must come first. The same rules should apply to traditional, charter, and online schools. Let them all do their best to educate students.
dk February 13, 2012 at 12:08 PM
Joshua - PUBLIC schools are required to use the lowest bidder, & the same rules do not apply to charter & online schools. Charters get to select who they accept & keep, while traditional schools are mandated to take everyone & to pay for them. A local district had a student that cost it 100K a year, & it came off the top of the 8K per gen ed student budget. We cannot continue to cut brick & mortar schools, strapped with unfunded mandates passed by the very legislators who claim to want smaller government, & then proceed to act as if it's all the schools' fault. The goal is successful K-14 public ed because we cannot afford profit and designer educations for everyone. If a child can't learn in a public school while thousands of others do and you want a customized education, then you need to pay for it. Conservatives/free marketers and their double standards are a hoot, Snyder appointees earn 250K a year because he needs to "compete for talent". Apparently our kids don't deserve talent. Look at the test scores and you tell me if slash and burn is working. Tax dollars to corporations is capitalism. Tax dollars to our kids is welfare & big government spending. BTW, you paid 30K a year in 2008 to warehouse a prisoner in for-profit jails.
Marty Rosalik February 13, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Actually Oakland they (public schools) are not required to use lowest bidders. Just like any project at your private home, you can pick a better value rather than the lowest cost. The board then needs to answer to voters why they did what they did. RCS has done this on several occasions to the dismay of many as to why not the lowest bidder.
Joshua Raymond February 13, 2012 at 02:45 PM
--Charters get to select who they accept & keep, while traditional schools are mandated to take everyone & to pay for them. From http://michigan.gov/documents/PSAQA_54517_7.pdf, 18. May a charter school be selective in its admissions policy? A charter school may not be selective. It may not screen out students based on disability, race, religion, sex, test scores, etc. It may predetermine the ages, grades, and number of students it will serve. A random selection process must be used if the number of applicants exceeds the school’s enrollment capacity. --If a child can't learn in a public school while thousands of others do and you want a customized education, then you need to pay for it. Oddly, I keep hearing how kids aren't widgets, so it isn't fair to base teacher performance on how their students do. Kids aren't widgets, so they do learn in different ways. Many charter and online schools have recognized this and have provided options. As for whether thousands are learning in public schools, look at the MEAP data. It appears that in many subjects, less than 1/2 of the students will be proficient or advanced. In the urban areas charter schools are popping up, the percent is even lower. Should all the families whose kids didn't make proficient in traditional public schools have to pay for a customized education at other schools?
Marty Rosalik February 13, 2012 at 03:25 PM
" look at the MEAP data. It appears that in many subjects, less than 1/2 of the students will be proficient or advanced." Joshua; is this like saying that half of any statistical distribution is below average? Not proficient is a problem. However, very few charters outperform the public schools nearby. So while charter expansion is not worth the fear, all I see is a rapid expansion of mediocracy.
Joshua Raymond February 13, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Marty, the MEAP is a set of questions chosen by educators to reflect the curriculum content in selected subjects that a student at that grade should know. The cut scores for each subject and grade are predetermined and students are classified into Not Proficient, Partially Proficient, Proficient, and Advanced based on the percentage of questions they answer correctly. Proficient and Advanced are generally considered passing. You can see data at https://www.mischooldata.org/DistrictSchoolProfiles/AssessmentResults/Meap/PerformanceSummary/Snapshot.aspx Charter school results vary wildly. Some have been exceptional and others miserable. The data is available and the parents have access to this to make their choices. While test scores are a significant part of the picture, some charter schools specialize in character building, ethnic heritage, or other areas that go unmeasured that may be vitally important to a parent. Some charter schools that do not rank highly have been more receptive to gifted students than nearby public schools and are willing to tailor the curriculum to the student. Teachers often say that test scores don't tell the whole story. I agree.
Marty Rosalik February 13, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Agreed test scores do not tell whole story. Then there is the pressure to "teach to the test" or outright cheat. That said I feel that charters do have great potential to fill gaps that ordinary schools can't or won't. There are exceptional charters. Let's expand what works. Sorry but I don't buy the wholesale premise that ALL are better.
Joshua Raymond February 13, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Marty, I certainly agree that not all charters are better. There are a lot that are worse than public schools. The parents can easily pull a kid out of a charter school and put him back in a traditional public school. If this happens enough, the charter will close. The same rarely happens with traditional public schools. Parents had few alternatives to poorly performing traditional public schools in the past. Most couldn't afford private schools and affecting change in a public school district can take years, even in a well-resourced district like ours. Children can't wait. By the time parents, teachers, and administrators fix an issue at an elementary school, often those kids are on to middle school and the problem-solving has to start all over. I've been very pleased with the responsiveness of Mr. Clarke, but not every school district has someone willing to stick their neck out. You've seen coverage of Detroit School Board meetings. If those parents want change, do they have much choice other than charters?

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