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.


  1. As I read the article in today's local paper, I thought that some of the questions the students asked were thought out well. I think that explaining how education funding is appropriated, gave students a clearer understanding that it is just not one particular factor that contributed to the "budget shortfall." I agree that the lines of communication must remain as transparent as possible in order to stay positive and hopeful for students, teachers, and the community as a whole.

  2. The following was in The Wisconsin State Journal today:
    "The Wisconsin Association of School Boards warned members this week that Walker is likely to announce $900 million cuts in general state school aid, a 9.6 percent reduction for the biennium. General school aid this year was $4.67 billion and represents the largest chunk of state spending.

    To prevent school districts from making up the lost state revenue in property taxes, Walker's budget is also expected to decrease revenue limits by $500 per student."

    How will the affect our budget for next year?

  3. I agree, I was very impressed with the questions that the students asked. They were informed and it just proved the quality education they are receiving. I would be remiss if I didn't express my concerns about our current budget shortfall and possibly the ones to come (due to the cuts in public education in the current proposed budget bill). Unfortunately I have no real solution. Until the country is able to get back on track financially, I fear that we are just seeing the beginning. Communication must be transparent, not only to stay positive, but to demonstrate a level of trust and respect between all those involved.

  4. Alot will be happening in the next few weeks. The staffing plan will be presented to the board on March 8, 2011 along with budget cuts of 6.5 million or more. It is an important time to watch, read, listen, and ask questions.

  5. I agree. I truly don't know how states will be able to continue to provide a free education.

  6. 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.

  7. I agree 100% about treating each other with dignity and respect. I started teaching in 1967 in public schools in Cleveland, Ohio. The teacher's union was just getting started. Over the years salaries improved, class sizes were reduced. Students with special needs got the attention they needed. Libraries came into the elementary and middle schools. Teachers received time to plan. Teachers received time to collaborate. We bring grad classes and high level staff development to our district to save time and travel. I believe teachers need to have a voice in education as they are on the front line. Teachers need to constantly feel they have the power to improve the education of the children they teach. We have encourged teachers' voices to be heard. We have encouraged teachers to come and sit at the decision making table. No matter what happens to formalized collective bargaining teachers should still stand united with administrators. Keep moving forward together

  8. To answer Susan's question I believe our budget deficit could be upwards of 16 million dollars.

  9. What is education going to look like?

  10. Last year, an effort was made to save on substitute teachers by having administrators be a substitute teacher for a day. I was wondering if that program was still in place, how many/often administrators participated, and how much money was saved last year and this year. Every little bit helps!

    Sean Gremminger

  11. I will ask HR to pull the data for last year. We have continued it this year, but with staff reductions and the budget crisis I have many more duties to attend to on a district level. Some days I stay peeled to the television and my computer to receive the next updates on cuts and the budget repair bill. I believe others are feeling the same way. When I receive the data I will post. Thanks for your inquiry.


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