Right-Sizing?

Word came in this week that over 50 teachers were laid off. From the Sun-Post:

The Robbinsdale District 281 School Board on Monday, April 6, adopted resolutions terminating 57 probationary staff members and proposing to place two continuing contract teachers on unrequested leave of absence on June 4.

“This is an annual event; it takes place in every school district,” Superintendent Stan Mack said. “It’s a very difficult and sad part of the year. It’s not because of budget limitations. It is a critical part of making sure we are not living excessively for one year, only to have to make major budget cuts the following year.”

Stan Mack knows a lot about living excessively. Even though he’s getting a golden parachute draining district coffers, Mack’s actively seeking another position. Wouldn’t it be nice if he declined the salary/benefits parachute and give back to the district he’s taken so much from? We can dream, can’t we?

Now, to “right-sizing:”

Stephanie Crosby, the district’s executive director of human resources, said the need to reduce teachers came as part of the district’s decision to “right-size.” With the closing of two schools and the repurposing of a third, she said, further savings come from reductions in staff.

In the fall of 2008, the district projected its enrollment for January 2010 at 12,300, and said up to 40 additional teachers would be needed to maintain lower class sizes, Crosby said.

But after action to close three schools – and new projections indicating fewer than 12,000 students are expected in January 2010 – only 25 additional teachers will be needed, she said.

How about the issue of “right-sizing” the remaining schools? Take Northport for example. Class sizes there will likely be 30+ this next school year, after closing 2 elementary schools and an expected 200 more students enrolling this fall. That’s way more per classroom than they promised during referendum campaign promises. Then, there’s the problem of right-sizing RMS for programs promised to carry over from Sandburg. Seems like they might be 12 classrooms short. This is right-sizing?!

Info and details are starting to come in – updates will follow. If you’re a frustrated teacher, staff, parent, student or citizen who feels the district has once again made decisions without forethought (and not keeping referendum promises), you’re in good company.

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3 Responses to “Right-Sizing?”

  1. give2attain Says:

    As for the dream, why dream that someone do what we would not ? Meaning, how many readers would turn down a salary, bonus or severance that they had negotiated with their employer in good faith ? He has already fallen on his sword to help the levy pass. Let’s give him the respect he is due and start talking about the future.

    With that in mind, please update us regarding what you learn about the Northport class sizes. I do not believe Northport will see any classes with 30 kids, given what I know of their new Principal (Patrick Smith, who is great !!!), the fact that they have Title one money and it would exceed the new “lower” class size caps. I can ask Patrick if I run into him…

    As for the middle schools, we all new it was going to be “real tight” for a couple years. Remeber though that the Citizens insisted that we reduce the RAS footprint and cost ASAP. Also, the parents insisted that RAS make the changes all at once so that the kids and ourselves could adjust to the new boundaries and not deal with ongoing dread/facility talk each year.

    I do agree that the transition and communication could be handled better. Yet I appreciate the magnitude of the challenge, given intra-district transfers, open enrollment, families moving into RAS, families moving out of RAS, folks moving to charters, private, other districts, home schooling, etc. With all this changing constantly, they still are legally bound to leave room for kids that show up at the last minute within the schools boundary.

    Looking forward to hearing what you confirm.

  2. give2attain Says:

    I confirmed that the Northport 30+ info is incorrect. Current plan is 22 to 27 depending on student numbers and grade. Of course this may shift some as enrollment shifts.

  3. 281 Exposed Says:

    The info we received was from a RAS staff member. Based on the odd 200 elementary students coming to Northport from the closed schools, classes will likely be crammed. The plan may be 22-27, but we tend to agree with the staff person that it will likely be 30 or more.

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