The Christmas/holiday/blizzard stupor is slowly lifting and as the New Year approaches, parents are beginning to focus on the resumption of school and with it, school issues. Foremost, the Superintendent’s Recommended FY 2011 Operating Budget. You’ll recall that the good Dr. Weast presented the behemoth $2.2 Billion (yes, that’s billion) budget in early December. This budget includes no new initiatives or programs, but seeks an additional $106 million for expected increases in operational costs, including:
- $15.8 million for increased enrollment and new school expenditures
- $25.9 million for continuing salary costs and benefits for current employees
- $33.1 million for increases in health insurance, life insurance, social security and other costs for current and retired employees
- $30.9 million for Other Post Employee Benefits (OPEB), which safeguards insurance benefits for future retirees.
And if not approved? Be prepared for cuts … oh and he’s provided a helpful list of cuts to programs and services most guaranteed to outrage reliably vocal parents. Now I confess, I am not a numbers/budget girl. Just ask Husband Dear. So this budget stuff all sort of washed over me. But I’m slowly getting it. And what I’m getting is that Jerry Weast is, once again, playing a cynical, cynical game. His message to parents: “Support our budget or something bad will happen to your magnets, your consortium and signature programs.” And on cue, he dutifully expects us rise to his defense. Shameless, really, when you take a look the Parents Coalition blog, where the question is rightfully being asked, “Where has all the money gone?“
The Equity Training and Development Team (ETDT) in the Office of Organizational Development continues to focus on-1) building leadership staff capacity to lead for equity, 2) deepening capacity of OOD staff to explicitly infuse equity content and processes into all professional development programs and projects, and 3) providing direct services, consultation, and resources to support school-based and central services study and dialogue about the impact of race and ethnicity on teaching and learning. Schools receiving equity training must commit to at least a year-long program that is aligned to an equity goal in the School Improvement plan. Requests from schools for this long-term support has risen from five in FY 2005 to 66 in 2009 . In addition to working directly with several dozen schools, members of the Equity Training and Development Team also supported leadership teams in several central offices, including the Office of Special Education and Student Services and the Title I Office. Members of the team also supported a number of system project teams, including the Disproportionality Workgroup, the Equity and Excellence Process Team, and several M-Stat teams.
I don’t know exactly how much savings would result from its elimination (you can check the budget numbers for the Office of Organizational Development, of which it is a part, in Chapter 6 of the budget. (pdf)), but I nominate The Equity Team on the basis of the costs it has incurred in the past, namely the speaker fees for Glenn Singleton, the purchase of (I’m guessing) thousands of copies of Courageous Conversations About Race: A Field Guide for Achieving Equity in Schools (at $30/copy), MCPS staff participation in conferences with sessions with such titles as Rigor or Rigor Mortis: Reframing the White Construct of “Rigor” to Give All Students Access to Challenging Material that Embraces Multiple Perspectives and Experiences.
Enough with the hundreds of staff hours sucked up by book clubs and Critical Race Theory indoctrination of teachers. In tough budget times–with threatened cuts to student services–we don’t have the luxury of this kind of discredited ideological foolishness.