A recent item here about recommendations from LR school principals on budget cuts prompted a variety of reactions. So I'll add to the mix a followup from Central High principal Nancy Rousseau, who sent the following note to the School Board along with her school's full original suggestions. Some will resonate with others in the district, I believe. The board is to have a budget work session this evening.
UPDATE: School Board member Robert M. Daugherty circulates a response to the Rousseau note.
Dear LRSD Board of Directors:
Today I received a copy of the “Elementary and Secondary Proposed Budget Reductions for 2009 – 2012 at a high school principals’ meeting. I was disappointed to see that our input as presented in this document did not represent all of what the LRCH team submitted. We were very clear in our suggested reductions – first paragraph - that in lieu of cutting services closest to our children, we recommended cuts that would not impact the safety and security as well as services provided to students. Furthermore, nowhere in our document did we or were we asked to prioritize by tiers the timing of the reductions. We are uncertain as to how those decisions were assigned. Consequently, I have attached our administrative team’s report as submitted. The Little Rock Central High School team met for an extended period of time to collaborate on the recommendations we submitted. We would appreciate your consideration of our concerns.
Little Rock Central High
NOTE FROM BOARD MEMBER DAUGHERTY
I believe this situation is beginning to get bigger than what it was originally intended and should be restricted to discussion among board members and the superintendent. I also believe it is unthinkable to ask people to work the same number of days but receive less pay. I am therefore recommending the board appoint two individuals such as Mr. Becker for his financial expertise and Mr. Harts for his expertise in HR to examine ALL administrative positions and make recommendations to the board whether each should be a 10, 11, or 12 month contract for the 2009-10 school year. The reason I suggested Mr. Becker is because he is not supervised by any district administrator and should be able to make an unbiased decision without obligation or restraint. I think we can achieve a reduction in our budget without infringing on staff to provide too much feedback and be able to eliminate the negative climate which has already clouded this issue and already exists among them as the try to justify their positions. I think it is important the board immediately remove this item from staff’s consideration except to ask them to submit documentation to justify the length of their contracts beyond what is evidenced in their job descriptions.
If we must make cuts they must be fair, equitable, and as far from the classroom as possible. Also, they must not be met with challenges and innuendo regarding other staff. We, as board members, must continue to show the highest regard for district staff but we must also continue to insist they have the highest regard for themselves and each other during these trying times. This is not an “us versus them” situation! This is about how we can all work together to ensure that every member of our district family maintains a livable level of employment or are at least provided the opportunity.
Thank you for your time reading my response,
Robert M. Daugherty