Friday, April 3, 2009

Robbinsdale Schools - Getting what we voted for?

Please check out the following letter. Do you agree or disagree with Christine?

Sun Sailor Letter to the Editor by Christine LeFever

Christine, If you are out there... What is your source for the projections?

Personally I hope there isn't another levy run within three years... I just got my tax bill... (RAS $419 to $719) And I'll owe J Ewing $100 if they don't make it 3 years before asking for more money... C'mon RAS show us you can live within the budget, I still have the faith !!!


Sue said...

The letter mentions art instruction: The schools can provide some art instruction without art specialists. The regular classroom teachers can do art projects with the kids. So there can be art class if the teachers are able to work it in. The down side is it uses up time that the teachers spend with kids and replaces other instructional time, whereas before the art specialists had the kids and the classroom teacher had prep time.

Christine said...

At the March 2 school board meeting, the budget projections were presented as part of agenda item 9.02. Now that the minutes are up, there's no longer a link to it on I have a paper copy. The projections were used in a context of showing how much worse the deficit would be if they did not close a middle school this year.

My bringing up the art wasn't about art itself, per se. The school board never had the conversation about that transportation money. Is it really the best use of funds?
They are bringing back art teachers for grades 3-5, but they "can't afford it" for grades 1 and 2. Well, they could have afforded it, but they chose to spend the money elsewhere.

Sue said...

I didn't mean to distract from the point of your letter. I don't disagree with your view about the transportation. There may be better uses for the money that will have to be spent on transportation to choice programs. But I wouldn't favor using it to hire art specialists. (Maybe that is just my personal character flaw--not enough appreciation of art).

RAS has the minimum number of school days required by the state of MN. RAS also has among the lowest in hours of instruction time per day for students. I'd love to see us have a couple more days of school during the school year. Maybe that would boost those test scores just a little(?) How much would it cost to get more time in the classroom working on math or science or reading skills? I suppose a lot more than $375,000.

I appreciate the point of your letter, though. And even with closing these schools they are still projecting a deficit of $1.36 million? Ugh.

Sue said...

Oh and I should also mention that the district is planning on $90,000 of the busing cost to be offset by desegration funds.

Christine said...

Sue, I definitely agree with your comments about the length of the school day and year.
The fact that 25% of the transportation costs (for middle school choice busing) is covered by desegregation dollars is good, from the selfish standpoint in that it takes less money from the general fund. On the other hand, because neither school is racially identifiable, it doesn't seem to be using the money for its intended purpose.

John said...

Same old questions though... Where else could those desegregation funds have been spent? And the additonal ~$300K.

There isn't a right or wrong here, it is just what will the RAS citizen's think of how the money was spent???

Especially if RAS outspends the funding within ~3 yrs of the new levy... This is likely unless something changes, given the tight squeeze at the State funding level.

Anonymous said...

The number is 2.4 million by the start of the 2011 school year. I blogged about it here:

And I have a link a copy of the presentation. Helps to have friends in high places.