Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Sifting Through the Tea Leaves of the Latest From Winston Brooks

My impression is that we will be “held harmless” by the legislature, which means funding from the state should hold steady from last year. That may be the best we can hope for right now.-- from Winston Brooks, APS Superintendent, "Weekly Message", received email 1.5.09
No mention in the Brooks' email/press release of that $57 million noisily requested back in November as part of the possible change in "funding formula". No mention of the "funding formula" at all, which could be a simple oversight akin to the following sentence from said email/press release:
Most of the APS budget is tied to schools, but we will continue to look at ways to keep any cuts way from schools.
One could go on about the use of "way" above, but as this little blog could also really use a copy editor, I'll put the rock down and simply return to my glass house armed only with the knowledge (possible) that school districts have retreated firmly into the financial bunkers, and that fanciful "funding formula" changes to the tune of an added $350 million may be on hold for quite a while.

The wintry economic climate might also mean the stunting of reforms proposed by the new-ish Superintendent. As a teacher who uses mock trials as a big part of his curriculum, I was struck by the following initiative mentioned in the Brooks communique:
We are working on joining forces with downtown businesses including law firms, banks and government departments to create a civics-law magnet school.
That's news to me (not that Winston calls very frequently to give me a "heads up" about these things, that we have dinner often, or that I even get invited to any of his parties, not never), but I wonder how innovative the, almost certainly, short Brooks regime will be allowed, economically, to be.

And that includes the recent decision to unify/block high school schedules. Peering far from the District Administrative Bunker (DAB), it sure looks like that little idea is gonna cost some money (teachers, additional classrooms). My inner dweeb would certainly like to see what the cost breakdowns project to be on that one.

In conclusion, trying to decipher the latest "weekly message" from Winston Brooks illustrates how depressing it can be to run a district, or even a single classroom, in a time of economic cholera.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Time for an education BAILOUT me thinks. Too bad they didn't do it when we were swimming in all the extra revenue from oil the last couple years. Amazing!