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Saturday, September 5, 2015

Baldwin School Task Force Nears Completion

Fairhope, Al.

ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETS AGAIN

Facilitator Kevin Corcoran
While the School Board selected a new superintendent in Loxley Thursday night, the Education Task Force it appointed led by facilitator Kevin Corcoran met and began finalizing findings and recommendations it will make to the board later this month.

Members assembled briefly in the cafeteria of Robertsdale High School, broke into subcommittees (funding, facilities, curriculum, leadership, communications) for about an hour and a half; then returned to give summaries of each group's progress.

They have been meeting every two weeks over the summer.


PRELIMINARY CONCLUSIONS

Some preliminary findings mentioned and possible final recommendations to the School Board (subject to change at subsequent meetings):

Curriculum committee:
Chairman Kelly McGriff

* create a permanent academics committee.
* develop a long-term strategic plan for better system stability.
* appoint a academic leader to lead curriculum (not the Sup.)
* appoint a standing citizens' advisory committee.
* academics must be adequately funded (#1 priority).
* teachers must be supported.


Facilities committee:

Chairman Cody Philips
* do a space utilization study (some class space now being
   used for storage)
* determine if current vacant facilities are needed; look into
   fixing up/leasing them out.
* Use local contractors for all work; keep dollars in the
   community ("recirculate")
* establish a "cap" on total number of portables for each campus
   (add wing when over)
* there is no evidence portables affect academic performance/test
    scores; safety and security are issues.
* develop a standardized, county-wide security system for
   portables (vs. individual schools as now)
* look into using less-expensive metal building construction north of I-10 where building codes allow
* sell vacant properties, if not adjacent to active campuses
* renovate whenever possible


Funding committee:

some findings:

* financial data provided by the CFO is accurate/reliable.
Chairman David Vosloh
* the school system is run efficiently (excepting debt,
   repair/maintenance issues).
* incoming state (equity) funding revenue lags one year behind
   actual student counts (increasing 550  to 1.100 students/yr.)
* there is a 3 year delay before revenue comes in from new
   construction (houses, condos, apartments).
* there are currently 7 priority building lists: one for each district. 
* there is presently no money available for new construction (all
   going to operations and debt).
* without renewal of the expiring 4 mils and penny tax the system
   will "probably fail" within 3 years..

recommendations:

* get better data to the public.
* reach out to community leaders frequently for advice as needed.
* shorten the two funding gaps state funding and new residential construction).
* earmark 25 million/yr for new construction; a line item in budget every year.
* renew the expiring 3 and 1 mil property taxes to provide adequate operating funds (March 2016?).
* enact a new half-cent sales tax earmarked for new construction in 2016 (to bring in $18.5
   million/yr). 
* ask the state legislature to make the expiring penny sales tax permanent; or schedule a new
   referendum.
* prioritize new construction on county-wide basis (vs. by district).
* municipalities may move their projects up the priority list by providing half of the construction
   costs, providing that if a city system were ever formed, the county would be paid back its half.
* no longer rely on long-term bonds for financing; pay-as-you-go instead.
* use locally-financed low interest five year bank loans when necessary.



NEXT STEPS 

The Communications Committee was to collect the data from each sub-committee and put it into final draft form in time for their next meeting on Sept. 17th where the full 28-member task force will consider it and possibly vote for final passage.




facilities committee


funding committee

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

So, everything Robbie Owen told us is true?

Anonymous said...

Looks like it. Surprise! ;)