Petition to Keep Reading Specialists, Aides, and ESL Personnel in PCSD
Park City citizens have a launched a petition to keep reading specialists, aides, and ESL personnel in the Park City School District. The petition, directed at school board members, Phil Kaplan, Julie Eihausen, Nancy Garrison, JJ Ehlers, Tania Knauer and school Superintendent Dr Ember Conley.
The petition starts, “Next year All Day Kindergarten will be provided with a full time benefited Aide in each classroom. Great, right?!! The problem is in order to make this change they are removing the Instructional Aides from all other grades in the school.”
The petition then states that the benefits of all day kindergarten are short lived. The concludes by stating, “each elementary will have only ONE Interventionist with no Aides outside of the kindergarten. Please use your voice to stop this from happening. These positions will be VERY hard to get back.”
If you are interested in signing this position or learning more, please click here.
The real problem is lack of proper funding. We should not have to choose between kindergarden and reading aides. But that’s UT for you. Kids can learn at church, right?
FWIW, also, the article linked from the petition site is worth reading in it’s entirety. Suffice to say, the conclusions (or mostly lack thereof) drawn don’t really match the quote they selected. The better quote (from the executive summary) to use probably would have been this one:
“Overall, the clearest academic benefits to full-day kindergarten occur during the kindergarten year and can potentially affect achievement through the early elementary years, though there is no consensus about how long such effects may last. Other benefits to full-day kindergarten are not academic in nature but do assist students in acclimating to the school environment and can therefore set students up for success in school.”
Honestly, I’m torn on this one. It would be nice if the district explained better why they feel this is the best use of resources. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt in general but as usual they’ve done a crap job communicating.
Funding isn’t really the problem for our district, it’s priorities that are shifting away from excellence in education. Our district spends more per student than any other in Utah, but our students aren’t any better off for it other than having access to fun computers.
The budget is not written to show anyone where the money actually goes, so unless you wrote the budget, it’s anyone’s guess. The district is paying for a new administrative position for communication, but the Board members would normally be in the position to play that role with their constituents in the five regions. Liaisons, if you will. That isn’t happening, so I am guessing more admin was the only way the district could solve that problem.
There are other district funds being used in non-instructional areas that could be drawn upon, but I doubt the district would be willing to disclose where all that non-instructional money goes (down to the penny). If we reduced middle-man positions and bureaucracy, there would be plenty of money to keep reading teachers and ESL teachers. But that would mean relying on Principals and teachers to take on a little more admin (if even necessary) and the district doesn’t seem to trust those people who are our best assets.
Priority has not been placed on teaching, nor on long-term learning, for sure. I just can’t understand the vision, or lack thereof, in this district. Kids are going to be left behind in education (lower scoring kids will continue over the long haul to be neglected and high scoring kids will not be challenged enough to take full advantage of their brain power).
I never used to know anyone who home schooled. Just in the last few weeks I know two families personally who decided to do just that. I’m starting to agree with that method until the district starts listening to teachers and turning this ship around.
Actually I feel the budget is pretty understandable. http://www.pcschools.us/woad-local/media/business/fy16_adopted_budget_6-16-15.pdf
Reading through, it actually looks like the elephant in the room is employee (presumably health) benefits. That went from $13 million to $16.7 million between 2013-14 and 2014-15. Ouch.
Administrative/Board salaries increased very little in that time frame (<1%).
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