Sunday, January 25, 2009

Questions Continue to Dog Murky CCSD Process

No matter how many times Charleston County Schools Superintendent Nancy McGinley tells the public that she's given them all the information that they need to see why her School Redesign recommendations are best, only the most gullible and obsequious will believe her. In truth, the tried-and-true venue for getting actual numbers out of CCSD is the FIOA route.

When the process answers the following nagging questions, perhaps critics will be stilled.
  • In the enrollment numbers for each school (a major issue), how many are counted who do not reside in its attendance zone? How many students reside in the attendance zone for each school in total? What percentage attend the school for which they are zoned?
  • District officials did not offer needed data on the savings expectations of different options they presented to the public. As a result, the public must take their word for claims or assumptions being made without specific numbers. Why?
  • Has the district made cuts to services, departments, and programs not directly related to classroom instruction? What about revisiting the more effective use of CARTA for student transportation? How do the Superintendent's proposals affect costs of student transportation?
  • How will the recommended closures affect Title I fund totals?
  • What is the legal justification for using the proceeds of the sale of capital assets for the operating budget? How can the district justify income from one-time sales being spent to pay recurring expenses?
  • Is the point of building new schools so that the old ones can be sold to finance the operating budget?
Is this any way to run an airline?

1 comment:

Left Coast said...

These words are borrowed from another author, but they fit the situation quite well.....

Probably the thing that most worries me about district leadership is the other side of the coin: we face declining enrollments, so we need to close schools -- and that's been the only thing the district has really talked about.

Obviously, the elephant in the room is in the first part of the sentence: "we face declining enrollments". Why? It's not that the number of school-age kids in Seattle is declining, or at least not at anything like the rate of the SPS enrollment decline.

Surely when faced with falling enrollment one addresses both prongs of the problem: dealing in the short term with those falling enrollments, and in the long term, boosting enrollment. We have heard nothing at all about the latter. Frankly, I don't know what I would say or do to help boost enrollment, but this flailing, panicked closure process does nothing at all to generate confidence on the part of potential client families. Managing isn't just lurching through the day in the face of the day's challenges: it is planning for the future in a way which produces positive growth. I don't have much confidence in our current leadership to weather the current storms, and I have no confidence at all in their ability to figure out where the *%(!! they are if/when they come out from the other side.

1/26/09 10:46 PM

Yes, there is an elephant in the room. Both the superintendent and the board chair appear determined to not talk about it.