On March 30th a team of teachers, parents, and community members attended the education rally at the Capitol. Our team met with Representative Faught and Senator David about legislative issues that are affecting public education. It was a very productive day!
Thanks go out to Representative Faught and Senator David for taking time to visit with our team. Here are some of the issues that were discussed:
Stop giving away state revenue that supports schools via: income tax cuts and excessive industry incentives.
Restore Funding to public schools.
Increase teacher pay!
End EOI and OCCT excessive testing and replace with relevant college admission tests.
Our school, along with the rest of the state, withstood large cuts in 2009. These cuts resulted in the elimination of over 20 staff positions. Since that time some of those positions have been restored, but little funding has been restored from the state. We are operating in a "deficit" mode and have been for the last two years. Our school requires approximately $900,000 in carryover funds each year in order to make payroll for the coming year. At the current rate of funding, we will be below that number in one to two years. That will result in more layoffs. Class sizes are already full and increased class sizes is very problematic.
Besides funds to operate school at an acceptable level, teacher pay must be increased. Finding quality teachers is getting more difficult than ever and universities are reporting fewer people pursuing education than ever before. This is a direct result of low pay and the negative approach to education reform that our state has adopted.
Finally, there is true momentum to move away from the current End of Instruction Tests at the high school level and start emphasizing the ACT exam that colleges recognize. It is a common sense decision that will be more affordable, take up less instructional time to administer, and is more reliable.
It is my hopes that our legislators can be a champion for our schools at the state level. We have a GREAT school and a GREAT community. We just need to demand GREAT support from our state leadership!