Friday, January 18, 2013

Book Buddies

As a result of the forecast for inclement weather, the School Board did not hold its Community Meeting at Jackson-Via. Our lovely clerk, Leslie, is in the process of rescheduling as we speak, probably sometime in late February. I think the timing of the meeting could be helpful to maximize input from the public about the budget. However, the meetings do not have an agenda so that the School Board can hear the public's concerns/comments/suggestions on any topic not just the budget.

Please keep an eye on this space, I will let you know when the meeting is scheduled and I hope you will consider attending. In addition, if you want to email me, please feel free jennifer @ jennifermckeever . com (thanks).

I have received emails from folks concerned about potential impacts of a $1.4 million dollar deficit on the Book Buddies program.* When I was on the campaign trail, I supported an expansion of Book Buddies. I continue to believe the number of Book Buddies volunteers should be expanded, perhaps into second grade. The costs associated with the Book Buddies program and what actually falls under the category of Book Buddies has expanded to include remediation by teachers and other interventions for children not reading on grade level. I look forward to unpacking the budget for Book Buddies - not necessarily for reducing the budget, but for understanding it more completely. I believe in the Book Buddies program and believe that the program's support staff is vital to its continued success. I feel strongly that we should not be impacting programs that are working hard to help our struggling children succeed.

Having said that, I have not heard the superintendent suggest a change to this important program. Dr. Atkins recognizes the high value this community places on Book Buddies and volunteers in the classroom. The School Board also understands and appreciates the importance of Book Buddies in our community. I do not believe I will have a difficult negotiation to maintain the status of the program. I will keep the public apprised if the situation changes.

* Note the deficit increased from $1.3 million due to a recalculation of health insurance cost increase- the school's finance director was assuming 7% increase in premiums, but realistically the costs will likely increase the maximum of 11%. 

No comments: