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 Post subject: School District Budget
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2003 12:29 am 
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I attended a meeting of the Tomahawk School board this evening. The meeting was an open forum to get community input concerning ways for us to make up the budget shortfall that we are going to have in this school year. I don't know if any other forum members might have attended, but I would be interested in hearing what you think we should do. Even if you don't live here I know that this is a problem almost everywhere else. Maybe your school district has done something that we should look at doing.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2003 8:37 am 
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I went to that School Board advisory meeting to learn what steps this administration and School Board intended to take to reduce the severe tax burden on the citizens of this District. If there was a plan, they didn’t tell us. They wanted input. The input I have is tough:
1. One principal for each school.
2. Cut the number of supervisors, teachers, aides, and support staff.
3. Re-negotiate all contracts.
4. Stop paying for classes not on campus
5. Make all extracurricular activities self-paying.
6. Move the administrator back to the School Building.
7. No more in-service days.

Item number one: One principal for the entire school would be better.

Item number two: There are fewer students. You don’t need all those teachers/aides. You don’t need an assistant administrator, even if she did move over to the school. She is still an extra body that can be cut. Custodian services might be better contracted than directly paid for by the District. Has anyone looked into temp agencies for this service?

Item number three: Whenever Big Business is in financial trouble, they ask for concessions from their workers. If concessions will be not be made, then lay everyone off and begin again. A job that may pay less is better than no job at all. I’m sure that the well-intended “educators” will see that the concessions are needed.

Item number four: Stop all off-campus classes. One day before Christmas break, Sara Park became a classroom as many of the students went there for skating. If someone wants to go to Nicolet, then ask the parents to pay for it. Sorry, but going to Diary Queen or Noah’s Ark doesn’t constitute a good day of learning. The School District asked for an expanded building, use it.

Item number five: If a child wishes to play sports, music, whatever, then the take the total cost of the activity (including coaches’/conductors’ salary and benefits, the use of the gym, etc) and divide it by the number of students in that activity. Playing basketball when it costs substantially more than a pair of Nikes is the kind of reality check needed for students and parents alike.

Item number six: The real estate market isn’t the best right now, but upkeep on this building is a financial drain.

Item number seven: These are the days of teleconferencing and internet. Are so many days really needed for parent/teacher face offs? The whole school doesn’t need to close when only a few teachers attend those conferences. Teaching is not for sissies.

They didn't call it a crisis but when you are drowning in a sea of red ink, it is a crisis. You can’t have everything: sports, arts, small class sizes, gifted and talented programs, the library (even though there is an under-utilized one at the end of Lincoln Street). And you can not bankrupt the community. Offer what the District can afford. GET OUT OF DEBT. What a concept!


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2003 12:16 pm 
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First let me say that my children do not attend the Tomahawk Public School District. One of my children attends St. Mary’s Catholic School and the others are not yet school age. This means that my husband and I are not only pay taxes for the public school but also sacrifice financially to pay for tuition for St. Mary's School. Our children will one day attend Tomahawk Schools and I agree that there needs to be a conscious effort to control school costs; however, certain ideas presented for how the school costs should be cut are not well researched.

>>If someone wants to go to Nicolet, then ask the parents to pay for it.<<

There are requirements that a school district must adhere to, as put forth by the Wisconsin Statutes and by Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

No. Sections 118.55-5,6,and 7r,
Wis. Stats, and Article X, Section 3,
of the Wisconsin Constitution make it
clear that the school district is
responsible for these costs when both
high school and college credit are
requested.

This is not a choice for the School District, it is required.

>> Item number five: If a child wishes to play sports, music, whatever, then the take the total cost of the activity (including coaches’/conductors’ salary and benefits, the use of the gym, etc) and divide it by the number of students in that activity.<<

I guess that these activities will be reserved only for those children whose parent’s are affluent. In other words, if the parent’s cannot afford to pay the fees then “tough luck” for their children. I think that this one constitutes economic discrimination. I agree with Old Scout that a MODEST fee could be charged for extra-curricular activities.

There does need to be cost effective decisions made concerning our school district; however, when identifying “solutions” we need to consider requirements put forth by the state, which are many, and we should also make sure these “solutions” will not adversely affect our children’s education nor should they prevent students from taking part in available activities. With society expecting more from our children we need to provide our children with the tools they need to compete in society. This means providing schools that will give our children the best possible education.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:17 pm 
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In response to whiterino13:
I am a former resident of Tomahawk and currently I have family and friends who reside in the area. I am also a graduate of Tomahawk High School. I am proud to say that the education that I received from the Tomahawk School District helped me to become the teacher that I am today. In regards to your comments about "Item number two: There are fewer students. You don’t need all those teachers/aides. You don’t need an assistant administrator, even if she did move over to the school. She is still an extra body that can be cut. Custodian services might be better contracted than directly paid for by the District. Has anyone looked into temp agencies for this service?"

I encourage you to first become informed in how your teachers and aides are being utilized within your district. Just because there are fewer students, does not mean that it is cause for "cutting". Many of these individuals are required to assist students with special needs...in fact that it is illegal to not have an aide if it is written in a child's IEP.

Second, I came to Tomahawk later in my high school career and I came from an urban area with a population of 300,000. I came from class sizes of 30-40 students in a class. The learning environment is unacceptable for all students when there is one adult and such a large number of students. There are significant increases in behavior issues when you look at cutting teachers and increasing class sizes. Best practice for students encourages teachers and districts to look at small group instruction...this is not possible when you choose to "cut" staff and increase classroom sizes. In today's society, students need reliable, consistent, highly-qualified educators to guide them through childhood, adolescence, and adulthood...when you start taking away those individuals, you may be taking away the one constant in that child's life. So again, I ask you to get informed on how your district is utilizing it's funds and how it directly impacts your students...what is best for your students?

Also, in regards to this statement:
Item number three: Whenever Big Business is in financial trouble, they ask for concessions from their workers. If concessions will be not be made, then lay everyone off and begin again. A job that may pay less is better than no job at all. I’m sure that the well-intended “educators” will see that the concessions are needed.

WE are all in this together. WE are all tax-payers. WE are NOT BIG BUSINESS. If you are looking to run your school systems as big business...I pity you.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 8:30 pm 
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Quote:
I came from class sizes of 30-40 students in a class. The learning environment is unacceptable for all students when there is one adult and such a large number of students. There are significant increases in behavior issues when you look at cutting teachers and increasing class sizes. Best practice for students encourages teachers and districts to look at small group instruction...this is not possible when you choose to "cut" staff and increase classroom sizes. In today's society, students need reliable, consistent, highly-qualified educators to guide them through childhood, adolescence, and adulthood...


Somtimes I am truly amazed at how this world has gone to h**l in a hand basket since I was a student. When I was in grade school, it was in a three room school. Classes were 1&2 in one room, 3,4,5 in another room and 6,7,8. There were on the average12 - 15 students in each class. And can you believe, only one teacher for all three classes. Judging from the success of those I went to school with we must have had a pretty good education.

What was the big difference ? ? Something called Parents ! ! We were actually taught to respect our teachers and when we did misbehave our parents sided with the teachers and we were the ones that were punished. It is about time the parents start acting the part and start parenting instead of letting the schools raise their children and then wondering where did the kids go wrong. Yes I know, teachers aren't allowed to punish students and all that but they also have to remember if they want respect they need to do it the old fashioned way, earn it.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 8:16 am 
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You make a great point in that there is a change in the home lives of some of our students. My point about the smaller class sizes reflects exactly what you are saying. There are more and more behavior issues that affect the learning environment of our students. With less students in the classroom, it does provide a healthier learning environment. However, curriculum and standards have changed dramatically since the days of the 3 room schoolhouse. As I agree with you that teachers do need to have more respect in the classroom, changes in our society have affected this greatly and limited the "power" that the teacher has in the classroom.

What you and I were learning in first grade is what is being taught in kindergarten and even at the ripe age of 4. We are asking 5 year old children to read books, print sentences with correct punctuation, etc...while still expecting them to sit at a table/desk and "focus," when developmentally what we are asking is setting them up for failure in the future. Their social skills are depleting in a society where children do not say "hello" they text "hello". The expectations for children are changing dramatically in respect to their capabilities academically and socially and unfortunately it is something that our schools are being told to "work with". It takes ALL of us to make this change.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 2:49 pm 
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What I find really sad, is that students can no longer do simple math without a calculator, write a simple sentence without a computer and spell check and if you give them something handwritten many of them can't read it because it isn't printed and they don't know cursive writing. It is time to take the calculators away, get out the paper and pencil and start learning that they don't need a machine to do the thinking for them. And while we are at it, no cell phones in school. They can text their friends on their own time, during school hours they can actually learn to talk to people.

How in the world did our generation put a man on the moon without all this ? Oh that's right, we did the Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry by hand with pencil and paper and when it got real serious we used a slide rule. (Anybody remember those). Take away the calculators and computers and we would be back in the dark ages within a generation. The younger generations would be totally lost without them.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 8:19 pm 
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Old Scout - Ultimately, the job of the schools is to prepare students for the workplace. Can you think of a job nowadays where students are not required to understand and use technology? My son just started his first job that potentially could become his "career job." He works for a company that sells seed to farmers and those planting food plots. Doesn't sound too high-tech, does it? He uses a computer daily for many different applications. Eventually part of his job may include updating the company's website. My husband works retail in the paint department of a large chain. How is paint matched, orders made, and inventory taken? By computer. I, myself, am a teacher. Not only am I expected to teach technology, I must use it to communicate with parents, research curriculum, and post grades and do report cards. My sister-in-law is a radiologist. Gone are the days of "films." X-rays are digital and computerized. My daughter hopes to become a surgical technician. Whatever her chosen field, we are going to encourage her to take as many classes in technology as possible.

You get my drift - technology is here to stay and we certainly wouldn't be doing our jobs if we didn't teach our students how to use it to its best potential.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 8:36 pm 
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Have you ever seen what happens when the electronic cash register breaks down and people have the make change without the machine to tell them what it is. Many can not ! Most younger people can not even balance a check book without a computer or calculator. What happens if they have to actually write a letter and don't have a computer to do it for them. I am not saying that they shouldn't learn to use it but they also need to function using their own minds as well, and that is where they are lacking. There is always going to be a time when you need to use these skills and if they are not taught in school it is something that they will always struggle with.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 9:25 pm 
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Did I say we don't teach them cursive, how to construct sentences, use grammar, spell correctly, and how to do mental math and math with paper and pencil? As a matter of fact, I rarely let my students use calculators, because we teach for understanding and not just finding the right answer. However, you appeared to want to eliminate all technology, and that just won't work in this day in age.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 1:10 am 
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I never said I wanted to eliminate technology ! ! What I am saying is that I spend a lot of time working with young people, normally in the age group of 10 to 18 and have found that many of them are lacking in these basic skills. My conclusion is that either they were not taught these skills or do not use them in the class room enough to become proficient with them. (or maybe they were sleeping through the class :lol: ) When I almost have to have an interpreter to figure out what they have put on paper that is supposed to be writing it just makes me wonder.

As for technology, keep in mind it was my generation that discovered and invented the technology that your generation is teaching.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 10:09 am 
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When it comes to kids not be able to make change I think is due to be taught how to do it in elementary school and then not needing to actually use the skill until teen years. Maybe it needs to be re-enforced again in middle school as well as high school. Just a thought.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:48 pm 
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I have to agree on the concept of making change. I saw the brightest kid I knew struggle with it once as a high-school student. My own son, who I'll admit is smart, but not THAT smart, could do it easily. It's about practice and actually "using" a skill. I had two years of high school Spanish; I certainly remember just a fraction of it thirty-some years later because I've never had to use it. Good point, Deb!


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