Prepared Text for Board Meeting Ė
Marc A. Schare
Tonight, I want to start
what will no doubt be a 3 month discussion about
Some people see the
Governorís evidence based model as a plan for school reform, others see only
dollar signs. In truth, it is both and they are inexorably tied together. The
new funding formula has little in common with the old formula. In a vacuum, the
new formula makes more sense as it attempts to get at the question of how many
teachers and of what types of teachers, how many aides, nurses, administrations
and so forth are required to teach x kids with different labels, special needs,
LEP, gifted and so forth. HB1 then throws in some transportation, a little management,
some technology, subtracts 20 mills and voila, you come out with a number
which, according to the Columbus Dispatch, should result in
Here is the problem. There is one great, all-encompassing often asked and never answered question. OSBA doesnít know, OASBO doesnít know, the legislature doesnít know and the state board doesnít know and the Governor wonít say. That question is: Will Worthington be required to implement the totality of the Evidence Based Model or are we free to use the stateís money to do what we want. If we are free to use the stateís money, we can take the million dollar bonus in the unlikely event that it materializes and use it for the purposes specified in our resolution of a few weeks ago. If we are forced to implement the evidence based model, weíll need to figure out how to comply with dozens of new mandates while running the current program with almost no additional money.
Conventional wisdom is that the state will offer waivers for some parts of the EBM the first year. Thatís very sporting of them to not require us to figure out how to plan for and implement all day kindergarten in the 7 weeks between the date the budget goes into effect and the date of the new school year, but all day kindergarten is but one of the components of the EBM which could be trouble for Worthington to implement and even if we get the waiver, HB1 revokes our authority to charge tuition so we would have to either cancel the program or spend general fund money to support it. Letís take a look at a few more mandates.
The EBM specifies a student/teacher ratio of 15:1 in the primary grades and 25:1 in the intermediate and secondary grades. This could result in a requirement for more teachers and more space.
The EBM specifies a requirement for 18 ďTeacher LeadersĒ, 18 nurses aides, a requirement for a career technical teacher for every 10 core teachers at the high school level and a possible requirement to allocate resources from the general fund towards either gifted programming, special education or both. †
The EBM mandates ratios of
specialist teachers such as art and music to core classroom teachers. The
current proposal is a 1:5 ratio for K-8 and 1:4 for
K-12. I have no idea what
The EBM funds technology. Currently, we are paying for technology out of bond money and our plan is to continue to do this, for the most part, at least until 2017. Will the state force us to now use general fund money for these purchases.
The EBM mandates a longer school year although interestingly, as a result of our collective bargaining agreement, I believe we would be exempt for the first two years.
Truthfully, I can go on
for pages with the mandates and assumptions in HB1 but I donít want to lose
sight of the macro issue Ė the policy question if you will. If we are required
to implement the Evidence Based Model, it is fair to say that local control of
school districts in
That said, there are many appealing parts to the Governorís plan. In my opinion, he is on the right track with his thoughts on modernizing the teaching profession, we do need additional focus on attainment of 21st century skills and we definitely need to rethink the obsession on assessment, but as a general rule, we could do these things here in Worthington if we felt they rose to a high enough priority with our residents. I personally am very uncomfortable with a whole new set of mandates, many of which we cannot know until after the legislation passes and ODE committees start their work. I would therefore urge my colleagues, our administration and our staff †to advocate for a more self-directed approach as to those elements of the EBM that we feel †are most appropriate in our community.