Friday, February 25, 2011

Result of 2/25/11 Board Meeting

As a result of tonight's Board meeting preliminary notices of nonrenewal will NOT be sent to the JEA bargaining unit by February 28, 2011.

Special Board Meeting 2/25/11

Dear School District of Janesville Employees:

Never would I have believed in my 30 plus years in education that I would be facing the change and uncertainty that has occurred in the last several weeks. Daily, sometimes hourly, I am receiving information from various professional organizations, attorneys, the media and politicians giving me additional information, an idea or something else to consider as we try to understand the Budget Repair Bill and its impact on the SDJ.

We have invited our attorney, Mike Julka, to present an overview of the Budget Repair Bill and its impact on the SDJ to the Board tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. at the ESC at a special board meeting. Early reports indicate significant reductions in state aid to school districts, meaning considerably less revenue to support education for our students. We hope to receive clear answers to our questions about modifying contracts and whether or not we have to follow the state statute for preliminary notices of nonrenewal on or before 2/28/11. If we do have to follow the statute we will have to issue notices. We may need to issue more than we would like to, but I certainly don’t think we will need to give them to everyone. We also had a Boundary Line Committee meeting this evening and it was determined that the SDJ has enough classroom space to close one or possibly two elementary schools to save money in the looming budget shortfall. An analysis of Janesville’s elementary schools by Commissioner Ardrey showed that the district could have up to 32 available classrooms, which is enough to eliminate two schools. Committee members asked us to review the savings if Wilson, Roosevelt, Jackson or Jefferson elementary schools were closed. We will be scrambling to quickly further analyze these schools from an educational, transportation and financial aspect.Like many of you I am struggling to understand what these changes will mean for all of us who have made working in the field of education our purpose and passion in life. As we are all constantly reacting to the massive nature of these changes and the unknown implications, I am thankful for the dedication and professionalism that I have heard in my conversations with many of you. I am impressed by the concern you have for our students and each other. Don’t ever lose that.

No matter what happens in the near future I am confident that we will continue to treat each other with dignity and respect. We must support one another and seek answers to these difficult questions. Please take time to assess the facts before the rumors. We have survived difficult times before and we will again because of each other and our commitment to our students.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

2011-12 Budget Shortfall

Hello Everyone,

In my attempt to increase communication with all employees in the SDJ I asked Steve Schlomann to help me set up a Blog. I would like to try this venue in order to hear from more of you. About 10% of our 1400 employees contact me regularly through e mail, instant message, text and phone. I would like to increase this number to at least 50%. Here is my first topic and it is a big one with lots of componants. I would ask that you read the budget information that you received in the Jan/Feb newsletter. This will give you some background information. There have also been several articles in the Gazette and information in the Board packets on the budget. The Board packet for 2/8/11 posted on our website will also include valuable information. I only ask that as you post you identify yourself and be respectful.