State Education Committee

TESD School Board Meeting . . . Senate & House Hearings re School Budgets Continue

Monday’s Public Hearing on the land development authority and decision for final authority to remain with the Planning Commission took up much of the conversation yesterday on Community Matters.  However, there was also a T/E School Board meeting on Monday night.  Ray Clarke attended the meeting and sent along his comments which are posted below.  As always, I am grateful for Ray and his coverage of school board related issues.  At the upcoming Finance Committee on Monday, March 28, we will look for serious budget talk from school board members re expenses, programming and out-sourcing options.

March T/E Board Talk – video TESD has a new T/E Board Talk video available online.  In the 9 min. video, school board member Dr. Pete Motel provides an overview of the T/E School District’s long-range facilities plan from the Facilities Committee meeting of February 14.  The Facilities Committee meetings are not generally telecast so I highly recommend that you take the time to watch the very informative video clip from the meeting.  Click here to watch the podcast.

Monday’s School Board meeting was most notable for the legislative update from Dr. Rich Brake:

  1. Senate and House Committee Budget hearings will continue through next week (the 31st, I think).  The School District has a form letter on its website that you can modify and send to your representatives. (Click here for the sample letter.)  Community Matters readers will likely want to add their own flavor to the letter.
  2. Our own Senator Dinniman and Senator Jeffrey Piccola are working with their Senate Education Committee to come up with relief from the infamous state mandates (to which the form letter, above, refers).  Apparently there will be a press release on Tuesday.  (Update:  To add to Ray’s comments here, there was a State Education Committee meeting yesterday and I will have separate remarks on that topic later today.)
  3. The Senate has a version of the furloughs-allowed-to-solve deficits bill (SB 612, I think).  There will be (Education Committee?) hearings on this in early April.

In response to my question about a reaction to the PSEA statement encouraging local discussions about salary freezes and other cost saving measures, the Board stated that they “are in continual discussions with the union”.  If the direction from the union leadership can be translated into more than a one year expense deferral (present value at today’s zero interest rates = zero), it has the potential for a significant budget impact, so hopefully there will be something to report at next week’s workshop.

Perplexingly, Kevin Buraks reported that the Policy Committee decided to retain two consultants to tell them how to take advantage of opportunities to sell advertising rights (say, at Teamer).

The County Intermediate Unit gave a rather too slick presentation about its budget for next year, and the Board asked some good questions.  Whether those can translate to any cost avoidance is maybe doubtful.

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