Common Core State Standards and 2013-14 School Budget
April 22, 2013
Good afternoon students, staff, parents and community members,
District news has been relatively quiet after CMT and CAPT Assessments in March and our brief Easter interlude. However, it seems very timely to bring to everyone’s attention a few items that will be happening over the next two months as we begin to wind down on another school year.
First, let me discuss the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Beginning with this 2012-2013 school year and continuing through 2014, the CT State Department of Education (CSDE) will administer a Common Core-aligned "Practice Assessment" to help school districts better determine how students are learning in alignment with the standards. The assessment results will support district improvement efforts as we continue to revise our curriculum and ensure its alignment with the “Common Core”.
The 2013-14 practice assessment is in addition to the required Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) in Grades 3-8 and Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT) in Grade 10. The administration window of the “Practice Assessment” will be from April 29 – May 17, 2013.
The CSDE is providing a sixty-minute, computer-based practice assessment in reading and math as well as a ninety-minute practice assessment in writing in grades three through eight. Students in grade eleven will take a ninety-minute practice assessment, also on the computer, in writing and math. Each student will only take one (reading, writing, or math) form as part of the 2013 practice assessment year.
For additional information regarding the Common Core State Standards, please refer to the link below:
To view a 3-minute video from the Council of the Great City Schools on the CCSS please click on the link below: http://www.commoncoreworks.org/Page/378
On April 9, 2013 Board of Education Chairman, Mark Holden and I presented the 2013-14 BOE Recommended Budget to the Boards of Aldermen and Apportionment and Taxation. Please click the link to view the presentation.
Based on the City’s recommended budget there is a gap of approximately $ 900 K. The SBOE requests were an increase of $ 3.1 Million over last year’s adopted budget or a 4.87% increase. This increase was due to contract obligations to teachers through an arbitration award (i.e. $ 1.3 Million) and additional salary increases of approximately $ 360 K to non-certified staff (secretarial, paraprofessionals, custodial and maintenance, etc.)
Also, included were contractual services for Transportation, Health Insurance renewal (i.e. a 4.5 % increase or approximately $ 450 K). Finally, the SBOE recommended request for additional programming, which is approximately $ 450 K for additional staffing (e.g. math, science, Guidance staff) technology and supplies.
The City purchased new school buses which will save the SBOE approximately $ 475 K in transportation cost. Additionally, now that the SBOE has recommended a 3rd party transportation service provider, we should realize an additional savings of approximately $ 120 K; so the SBOE will realize a total cost savings of approximately $ 700 K in transportation costs. However, this still leaves a gap of slightly under $ 800 K in next year’s budget.
This week we will try to finalize our Health Insurance renewal rate as the city contemplates a self-insurance option. For the BOE to realize additional cost savings, we will need to see our renewal come in under 4.5%. In a best case scenario with a renewal below 4.5 %, I still see our budget shortfall of being at least $ 500 K if not higher. If that is the case, it likely will result in the loss of our additional programming request described above in paragraph nine.
Feel free to contact make directly with any questions that you may have.
Superintendent of Schools