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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Do YOU want Open Enrollment in Clarkston Schools?

How do you feel about the fact that Open Enrollment is being considered in Clarkston Schools again?

It will be discussed at the Board of Education meeting on Monday, March 25, 2013 at 7 PM.

Please come to the meeting and express your opinion.


  1. Open enrollment should be a non-starter. What is the reasoning and logic behind it? Who is pressing this issue??

    The reality is that there at least two distinct classes of elementary schools in the district and this can easily be verified by test scores.

    The administration has failed their responsibility to rectify the existing problems. Look at media centers in the different buildings and you can guess which have the better test scores. Why do teacher's want to transfer out of certain buildings. This caste system has existed for years.

    Extra curricular support, additional summer programs, master teacher placement with results being critically analyzed can be a part of the solution.

    Don't make all schools average, make all of them excellent.

  2. I believe that this is a Dr. Rod Rock patented idea, but I am not sure.

    The district is looking at a deficit for the 2013/24 school year. They either need to increase funding (new students) or decrease spending (cutting programs or expenses).

    Of course, if the school district's Human Resources Director had not assured the school board that self funding the medical insurance for the employees would save the district a lot of money, the district would have an extra $2 million dollars in the budget right now...

    It has been determined that MEAP scores have a close relationship to family income (the higher the average family income of the school, the higher the average MEAP scores in the school). In Clarkston Schools, the higher MEAP score elementary schools have higher average family incomes and conversely, the lower performing schools have a lower average income and have a higher percentage of students on free or low cost lunches. I believe that there are more ESL (English as a second language) students in the lower performing schools also. That being said, it doesn't mean that unless family income rises that there can't be improvements in the MEAP scores of the lower performing schools.

    I agree with your suggestions for improving the test scores in the schools that are under performing. Part of that can be provided via Title 1 funds as long as the district CHOOSES to use those funds to provide those kinds of services.

    I believe that the following can also have impacts on student achievement in those schools:

    * Blessings in a Backpack program (each week, volunteers, in cooperation with school officials, distribute backpacks filled with enough non-perishable food for the weekend (six meals) to “at-risk” students. These students are participants in the government subsidized free or reduced fee hot lunch program - a fabulous program!).
    * extracurricular support from teachers and/or volunteers to tutor struggling students (I am not sure what all is available in this arena, but I know there are some programs - maybe they need to be expanded, but volunteers would need to be coordinated).
    * Summer programs would be great, but they cost money (unless staffed with volunteers) and money is one thing the district is short on currently...
    * I am not sure what "Master Teacher Placement with results being critically analyzed" means. Maybe you can enlighten me. Does it have to do with rating the teachers based on the success of the students and putting the highest rated teachers with the students needing the most help?
    * Certainly the media centers in the schools can have an impact on the students' success, and the media centers SHOULD be equal at the various elementary schools. How did they end up unequal (newer schools get bigger/better media centers, older schools have smaller/less robust media centers, PTO/PTAs supply more in more affluent schools, or just perceived/actual discrimination against the funding for media centers in the older schools)? However, I doubt the MEAP score variances are caused in large part by the media centers.

    I have seen or been informed of plenty of favoritism/nepotism within the district. The district transferring certain favored teachers out of certain buildings would be an example of favoritism/nepotism and it serves no benefit to the children in the schools from which they are trying to "escape". However, are those teachers seeking to transfer out due to poor management/poor morale/poor working conditions in the school? If so, then those issues need to be addressed instead of letting them fester.

  3. You have done your homework on this issue. I would add several points:

    - At least 70% of the budget goes to salary and benefits. The addition of 100 new students would have a net contribution of 700k -490k or $210,000. Even if that number is low it would certainly not be a large windfall.

    - Look at the number of SOC students in the Brandon School District which opened up their schools years ago. They are currently facing similar budget problems, are asking teachers to give up 7% of their salaries, and have to deal with students leaving the district because of the resultant changes in the district. They are discussing the opening a charter school to deal with those students who are leaving. How will SOC in Clarkston be a saving grace.

    - Why aren't HR, Payroll, and Technology being outsourced? What are areas can be cut to limit impact on students. What has been done so far?? What about the 2 million dollar mistake coupled with a raise. IF current administration wants to be taken seriously they must act seriously and be accountable for their actions.

    = What grants are being written to help address testing, retention, and other issues. What person has that responsibility and what evidence exists of their efforts and success.

    - Finally, what long-term strategies are being explored to solve these issues. Funding has to come under local control. We have to stop fighting and scavenging students from other local districts and look at a much bigger picture.


  4. I agree!

    I have argued that outsourcing the IT department is the best move for Clarkston Community Schools and the affected employees. Brandon Schools already outsourced their IT Department to a firm that specializes in public school IT... The district currently offers the IT department employees zero job advancement opportunities because there is nowhere for them to advance to in a public school system. However, if they were working for the IT outsource company, they would have an opportunity to move up and out of the district to a better position elsewhere. They would probably have educational opportunities with the outsource IT company that they currently don't have access to due to everything being "teacher" centered in the school system currently. The district would then not need the services of the IT Director who makes a stated salary of $119,000 (with retirement, medical benefits, etc. totaling $175,334.97 for 2011/12 year). Lower IT costs to the district, better job opportunities for the IT employees, better training opportunities for the IT employees (resulting in more productive employees), equals win/win for the employees and the district!

    Now that the HR Director is quitting, it really WOULD be a good time to outsource the HR department. There is no good reason why the district needs an HR Director who makes over $100K a year in salary alone.

    Thanks for posting!