Education /County Commission Joint Quarterly Meeting, 3/3/17

Our team attended the BOE/BCC Joint Quarterly Meeting on March 21, 2017. Did you miss the meeting and want a quick recap? We've got you covered! You can review comprehensive notes here. Topics discussed include: 

  • Pre-K Task Force

  • Redistricting Plan Process

  • Resilience-Screening for Toxic Stress

  • Approach to Issues Concerning Refugees, Immigrants & Undocumented Residents

  • Budget Update

  • Follow-up on Whitted Project

An update on the DPS budget request

The school board has made its first steps toward a proposal to ask the County Commissioners for 13.2 million additional dollars to cover the enrollment growth and budget deficits this year. 

Here are two recent articles with additional info:

http://www.heraldsun.com/business/durham-public-schools-new-money-request-of-county-commissioners-could/article_73a41d38-0536-11e7-989d-7fcf3656db98.html

http://www.heraldsun.com/news/bert-l-homme-durham-public-schools-campuses-to-feel-impact/article_df1cc466-05d6-11e7-98f0-ab3567f2a1c8.html

Here's a broad strokes overview: This money is broken down into two 'asks.'  The first, 5.5m, includes full funding for The Whitted School (Durham's new pre-k program that will serve 141 kids), and operating costs for enrollment growth, the latter of which will go almost entirely to charters.  The second lump of money they are asking for, 8.5m, is to increase wages for the lowest paid DPS workers to $15/hr district-wide, and if the K-3 class size mandate is not altered by the state, to save the teaching positions this will affect.  At this point, if the full cap put in place last year by the state is not altered, DPS will have to cut 100 art, music, and PE teaching positions in order to hire the extra classroom teachers needed to support the mandate.  As you can imagine, this would have a serious impact on our teachers, schools, and students. 

The second chunk of money (8.5m) is the part that is most likely to be denied by the County Commissioners.  We feel strongly that People's Alliance needs to take a stance to support this proposal in its entirety, and actively push our County Commissioners to recognize the importance of finding the full amount of funding requested by the school board.  Supporting pre-K, keeping arts and PE in our schools, and providing $15/hr wage to all DPS employees are a sensible progressive agenda that we want our elected officials to be accountable to supporting.

The PA Education Team leadership is working on identifying the ways we will fight for this budget, and will be in touch soon about specifics. The budget decisions will be actively in process until about mid-June.

 

If you are interested in helping us with organization around this issue, please respond to this email!