Thursday, April 4, 2013

Parents and Staff Comment on 2013-14 Budget Inclusions

The following is an updated list of responses received from parents and staff regarding budget suggestions for the 2013-14 school year. Parents and staff are encouraged to continue adding suggestions through April 12th. All comments will be considered by the Sylvan Board of Trustees as they make their final budget decisions. You will continue to find the link to the comment for on the front of the SUSD website: 3/26/2013 13:12:37- Certificated Staff "Elementary Counselors Elementary Secretaries K-3 Teachers to reduce class size Director of Student Services" 3/26/2013 13:13:17- Classified Staff Middle School Health Clerks and Discipline clerks to 8 hours/day 3/26/2013 13:16:34- Classified Staff I would like to see some kind of cost of living increase. Every year as a classified employee due to health benefits increasing I see a considerable drop in my salary every year. This year I received $149.99 less in my paycheck as Kaiser went up. 3/26/2013 13:20:36- Certificated Staff "1% COLA 6th grade Science Camp (this can be minimized if parents are given the option of paying for camp ""in full"", or fundraising is allowed.) " 3/26/2013 13:23:18- Certificated Staff 1. K-3 Teachers to reduce class sizes 2. Elementary Secretaries 3. MS Full-time campus security 4. 1 Custodian Alternate 1. Director of Student Services 3/26/2013 13:25:26- Classified Staff I feel having an LMA at each school site would be very beneficial for the students. The libraries are an important hub, safe haven, place to complete school work, and last but not least, a place to read quietly at each school. Children should be able to access the library every day. At the very least, to run an effective teaching library, we should have a certificated librarian for both the elementary and the middle schools. Also, to help offset the rising costs of healthcare, gas, and everything else...all employees should get a cost-of-living raise. For the enrichment of students, art and music teachers should be reinstated in our district. 3/26/2013 13:41:54- Certificated Staff I would like to see a return of services for our students. Elementary Art Elementary Music Librarians 6th grade camp MS sport/club stipends 3/26/2013 13:42:10- Certificated Staff No IPads for 6th grade (yet). We need intervention classes first. More campus supervisors. Increase in wages 3/26/2013 13:58:25- Certificated Staff I am an administrator in the district. My suggestions to the budget (staying within $925,000) are: 1) Counselors 2) Music 3) Art This supports our students and teachers greatly. If I could chose a fourth I would say 4) Director of Student Support. This would support students teachers and administrators. 3/26/2013 14:06:59- Certificated Staff #1 Priority: 1% Cost-of-Living allowance for all employees #2 Priority: Elementary Counselors #3 Priority: 6th grade Outdoor Science Camp 3/26/2013 14:21:54- Certificated Staff 1. 1% cost of living 2. Director of student services 3. Elem Counselor 4. Elem secretary 5.m school club stipends 6. m school sport stipends 7. m school 0.5 campus sup. " 3/26/2013 14:32:19- Certificated Staff Class size reduction grades K-1 and then 2-3 is much needed. It has had a huge trickle effect as they have come to the upper grades lacking key concepts and skills. Art/Music 3/26/2013 14:59:46- Classified Staff 1.5% Increase for employees ($675,000) Director of Student Services ($88,000) Elementary Counselors ($160,00) Total: $923,000 3/26/2013 15:06:08- Certificated Staff I would like to see K-3 class size reductions. This is vital to our continued success and the well being of our students. Julie Quinones first grade at Freedom Elementary 3/26/2013 15:07:01- Parent I am hoping that you will reduce class sizes. The children need more attention than the teacher can give them. 3/26/2013 15:08:56- Classified Staff 1. Eliminate site split-time for secretaries, library media assistants and custodians. 2. Restore Middle School full time campus security, including crosswalk duty to reduce district exposure to lawsuits. 3. Hire 2 more grounds crew members, they are killing themselves trying to keep up with all the needs the 16 sites require. 4. Maintenance staff is currently adequate considering that we have so many new or modernized sites. 1 more entry level maintenance worker would be nice, to replace potential retirees. 5. Music and Art...absolutely! 3/26/2013 16:25:28- Parent Do whatever it takes to fix the way the grass and landscaping looks. It's embarrassing to live across the street from a school that was recently renovated but the grass and shrubs look terrible. This is an area that looks neglected, in my opinion. Not very appealing at all. All of the sites I see while jogging look as bad as the one I live in front of. 3/26/2013 16:38:54- Certificated Staff 1. 1% Cost of living for all employees 2. School counselors 3. Outdoor Ed 3/26/2013 17:35:45- Certificated Staff 1. Class size reduction in first and second grades (they are full-day as opposed to K, which is a half-day; therefore, more opportunity to make a greater impact in learning). 2. After that, bring back art and music. 3/26/2013 18:13:38- Parent Top Priority: K-3 class size reduction Second Priority: (cost unknown, perhaps free?) Eliminate GATE ""cluster class"" model and open more full inclusion GATE classes for students who qualify. 3/26/2013 18:26:42- Classified Staff LMA- we need our libraries open more days for the children , for some children the library is there safe haven. 3/26/2013 18:31:32- Parent 1. Art Teachers for K-5 2. Music Teachers for K-5 3. Smaller class sizes K-5 4. More library availability K-5 5. K-5 PE instructors 3/26/2013 18:54:20- Parent A list of cuts made over the past several years should be made, then allocate the $925,000 in reverse order. Obviously, previous cuts were made using the ""easy"" items first, then gradually moving to more difficult and painful items. Just start with the more recent cuts and restore things working up the list until you've used up the full amount. NO SALARY INCREASES FOR ANYONE UNTIL ALL PROGRAM CONTENT AND SERVICES HAVE BEEN RESTORED TO PREVIOUS LEVELS!!!! 3/26/2013 19:49:35- Parent I agree with these budget suggestions, because the children are the future nation. If students don't get a good educational foundation, what will our country come to?!! California is already way behind in the school system compared to the rest of the country... 3/26/2013 19:52:51- Certificated Staff 1. Elementary counselors 2. Middle School Deans 3. Middle School sports/stipends 4. Campus security 5. Librarians 6. Secretaries 3/26/2013 20:26:20- Parent I would like to see elementary counselors, art and music teachers reinstated in our district. Our youngest students need support with academic, social and emotional skills and the counselors will help them achieve that. Our kids need art and music and both teachers and students will benefit from this addition. 3/26/2013 21:26:16- Parent K-3 to reduce class sizes, full time security 3/26/2013 22:25:46- Parent Hopefully after the superintendent retires there will be a sudden increase in revenue and a thorough investigation 3/26/2013 22:48:23- Parent Of course the cost of living increase is something I think really needs to happen. The staff are working extra hard to provide students with a great education and that has to be acknowledged. My next priority would be in increase by 1 counselor and possibly add 2 music teachers back into the day. I would also suggest that we look at the possibility of reducing some class sizes by adding a few more teachers. If not 10 than at least 5 more. 3/26/2013 23:52:15- Parent Our children would benefit greatly from supplemental education - music, art, and sports. I suggest the music and art elementary teachers, and the middle school sports stipend, and perhaps the 6th grade science camp. 3/27/2013 4:13:48- Parent I would prefer a wider range of opportunities for students rather than a 6th grade science camp. While it may be beneficial only one grade receives this opportunity whereas a lesser costly event may be spread out to all or most students for the cost. My suggestion is to add an aspect of the arts into this category more along the lines of a music or art festival that showcases the educational influence of music and art in a deprived environment. This aspect of education is continually undervalued and the community's ability to reduce exposure to this medium in budget cuts made allowable, yet musicians and artists flourish despite the decline of opportunities. Displaying the youth influence to music and art's growth is integral to the eeducation process and must not be abandoned. 3/27/2013 7:01:57- Parent 1. 1% raise, to keep the district competitive; 2. Elementary music teachers, would this be instruments or vocal?, for all ages, or only 4/5? 3. 6th grade science camp, would this be only for upcoming year? 3/27/2013 7:12:44- Certificated Staff 1% raise-with insurance increases, this Cola is a long time overdue. Elementary music teachers-clarity on if this would be restoring 4th grade instruments or classroom music for all elementary would be helpful. Middle school clubs & sports stipends. Teacher in charge stipends 3/27/2013 7:12:45- Certificated Staff 1% raise-with insurance increases, this Cola is a long time overdue. Elementary music teachers-clarity on if this would be restoring 4th grade instruments or classroom music for all elementary would be helpful. Middle school clubs & sports stipends. Teacher in charge stipends 3/27/2013 7:21:15- Parent 1) Librarians & Library Media Assistants can be a combined employment i.e. employ a Librarian who is universal or crosstrained in both areas. 2) I am not sure how useful the ""6th Gr. Outdoor Science Camp"" is and if it should be included in our budget. 3) 1% Cost-of-Living for all employees should be increased to 3%. 4) What is the purpose of ""Director of Student Services""? 5) Custodians, Ground workers, Maintenance workers should be combined as one employment i.e. universal or person who is skilled, experienced, and trained in all of these areas. 6) One counselor is sufficient. I am total agreement with Elementary Music and Art Teachers and especially K-3 Teachers to reduce class sizes. 3/27/2013 7:54:14- Classified Staff As greedy as it may sound, with the higher medical costs and the lack of raises for many years, I would first vote for a 1% COLA, 2 custodians, 2 grounds and librarians 3/27/2013 8:23:29- Certificated Staff I believe music and art should be back at the elementary schools. I also believe that librarians are very important. The middle school club and sports stipends would help the middle schools out very much. Finally, elementary school counselors are essential to the welfare of our students. If I were to prioritize, I would like to see counselors, music/art, librarians and then stipends. 3/27/2013 8:44:03- Certificated Staff 1. K-3 teachers to reduce class sizes! In the long term this would help our students and teaching staff both. 2. If the first can not happen then I believe that Music and Art teachers should be reinstated. Our students dont all have the chance to do either outside of the school setting. 3/27/2013 9:07:42- Parent I do not see the need for Elementary Counselors. and the cost of living for employees. Most businesses are not giving raises and have not in the last 3 years. 3/27/2013 9:29:34- Classified Staff 2% COLA = 900k, Teacher in charge Stipends= 25K 3/27/2013 9:29:36- Parent My top recommendation is reducing class size. That takes up most of the $925k, so if it's possible maybe only reduce K-2 to free up some additional funds for other things. 3/27/2013 10:44:41- Parent, Certificated Staff Grounds workers are a great idea. They are really stretched thin. I am confident they strive to do a good job but 14 sites is a lot for a skeleton crew to maintain and do well. I am hopeful that a small crew would be assigned to specific sites so they have a sense of ownership and pride in the sites they are responsible for. Cost of Living increase would go a long way to support all staff. It has been some time since the district has been able to offer a raise. All staff members would feel a sense of value and appreciation by being offered this increase. So often we are asked and ask others to do more with less as resources are limited or decreasing. This increase would benefit all employees. An added item that I would like to suggest for consideration is improved, modern phone systems at school sites. A system that would allow voicemail for teachers would increase communication with parents. Teachers could set up a homework line on which they record homework messages, etc. The setting could also be set so that calls are forwarded directly to voicemail so as not to interrupt instruction, etc. This would also facilatate communication with parents as teachers can call directly without having to come to the office to make such calls. Thank you for your consideration! 3/27/2013 11:42:44- Certificated Staff " I would suggest: Elementary Music Teachers: 360,000 Elementary Art Teachers: 400,000 Elementary Counselors: 160,000 3/27/2013 11:43:54- Certificated Staff Class size reduction in K-3 should be the number one priority 3/27/2013 11:53:36- Certificated Staff Ranked from most important: 1. K-3 teachers to reduce class sizes our students need the attention in these grade levels 2. Librarians and Media assistants School need the support of a full time librarian to aid in research for CCSS that require exploratory texts. 3. Full time campus security. Safety is important to all students and parents I understand these totals go above the $950,000 but I hope the board will able to work with these numbers and make the best decision. 3/27/2013 13:00:13- Certificated Staff Cost of living increase to salaries Elementary counselors 6th grade outdoor education Add one more librarian Teachers are hurting financially. With increases to health benefits many salaries are less then they were 5 years ago. Even a small raise says ""we value all that you do"". 3/27/2013 14:37:14- Certificated Staff It would be nice to hire more teachers to lower the classroom numbers again. Learning takes place better when there is a lower ratio of teachers to students. 3/27/2013 14:46:31- Certificated Staff 1- School Nurses 0.5 26,000 2- Elementary Counselors 2 160,000 3- Elementary Secretaries 1 37,000 4- 1% employee raise 600 450,000 5- Director of student svcs 1 88,000 Total: 761,000 3/27/2013 17:20:07- Certificated Staff 1% cost of living for all employees 6th grade Outdoor Science Camp Elementary Music Teachers 3/27/2013 18:19:06- Classified Staff Ground workers and Maintenance workers are needed. And the 1% would be great. Thanks 3/27/2013 19:10:44- Certificated Staff 1. counselors 2. MS clubs and sports stipends 3. MS campus security 4. Cost of living increase 5. custodians 6. Maintenance 3/27/2013 19:12:02- Parent 1. counselors 2. MS clubs 3. MS sports 4. MS campus supervisor 5. custodians 6. Maintenance 3/27/2013 20:31:07- Parent I would like for the board to consider three very important options. The restoration of the K-3 reduced class sizes. My daughter is in the 8th grade at Savage Middle School and she benefited from the 20:1 ratios before the budget cuts. The small class sizes allowed for her to learn in an evironment that allowed the teacher to focus on the students more. I also have a daughter who is 5th grade and she only was able to benefit from the 20:1 ofr Kindergarten and 1st grade. I have seen her classmates struggle over the years and I think if the district can reduce the class sizes in K-3 by even five students from 30-32 to 25-27 or so, that it would make a huge difference. I also think hiring Music and Art teachers is invaluable to our children's education. Sylvan School district has a wonderful reputation for maintaining high academic standards and exposing students to fine arts and music opportunites. I hope the board considers these suggested options. 3/27/2013 21:07:20- Certificated Staff Counselors Deans Stipends Campus Monitor Librarian Thanks 3/28/2013 7:28:00- Parent I REALLY want my kids to experience music and art... It is EXCELLENTE for their little, development brains. 3/28/2013 7:58:04- Classified Staff Elementary Counselors Director of Student Services 6th grade Outdoor Science Camp 3/28/2013 20:30:55- Certificated Staff 1- music teachers 2- art teachers 3- counselors 4- k-3 class size reductions 5- librarians 6- 6th Gr. Outdoor Science Camp 7-Library Media Assistants 3/28/2013 21:07:50- Parent 1. K-3 Teachers to reduce class sizes. I strongly believe that to make the biggest difference and see the best outcomes for our children, we've got to reduce class sizes. Our teachers have been doing a phenomenal job these last few years, trying to reach every student, in classes that are way too large. I commend them for their efforts, but really believe that we need to give our youngest students more one on one time. With smaller class sizes, teachers have an opportunity to intervene before students are left behind their peers. This would benefit teachers in older grades as well, as the disparity in the skill levels of their students would not be so great. 2. Middle School Campus security. I really believe that we have great students in our district. But middle school is a time when they are testing boundaries, trying to figure out who they are. Many times, good students make dumb mistakes because of a momentary lapse in judgement. With more supervision, some of these mistakes can be avoided. This is a budget item that is relatively inexpensive, but can make a big impact on our schools. 3. Elementary Music Teachers/Art Teachers. One of the things that has made Sylvan a great district has been the committment to music and the arts. Research has continued to illustrate the connection between music and art instruction and higher test scores, especially in math. I think that this is another area where money spent will reap great rewards. 4. GATE pull out instruction. Aside from the cluster class at Standiford, which serves a very limited population of students, we put all of the responsibiltiy to serve our brightest kids onto classroom teachers, who are already being asked to do more than is humanly possible. There is federal money available for students who are disadvantaged, but we would do well to challenge our GATE students also. 3/29/2013 14:34:44- Classified Staff My suggestions would be in favor of: 1% Cost-of-Living increase for all employees The remainder should be used to reduce class sizes, by as much as the remaining budget would allow. 6th grade science camp (if possible or w/fund raisers) 3/29/2013 14:44:08- Classified Staff 1. 1% Cost-of-Living for all employees 2. 6th Grade Outdoor Science Camp 3. Remainder for class size reduction 3/29/2013 18:48:01- Parent K-3 teachers to reduce class sizes. I think there are way too many children in classrooms for the teacher to be effective. 3/30/2013 10:17:26 - Parent 1. K-3 Teachers to reduce class sizes 2. elementary art teachers 3. Elementary music teachers 3/30/2013 19:45:13- Parent Elementary Counselors Elementary Music Teachers MS Campus Security Elementary Art Teachers k-3 Class Size Reduction 6th Grade Science Camp (such a memorable experience) I'd really love to see money go back to restore the programs that the students of the district have lost and not go to fill another district office position (Director of Student Services). It was those programs that made the district shine. 3/31/2013 18:01:42- Parent There is no doubt in my mind that there should be a reinstatement of class size reduction. As a parent of three I have seen the difference my children have experienced in their classrooms. My oldest was lucky to be in classes small enough to be able get the help and attention she needed to succeed. My middle child missed a lot of things he got to do in his class of 19 1st graders and kept asking me why there are so many kids in 2nd grade. My youngest has never been in a class of less than 30 students. He may not know the difference, but believe me when I say I do. When I volunteer in his class I see that the teacher spends much more time on discipline and less time being able to talk and explore subjects with students. It seems that they are rushing to present information without being interrupted and there is never enough time for all the questions students have. I wish there was more time for kids to learn to communicate, work together and show creativity with what they have learned and going back to smaller class sizes is the way to do this. 3/31/2013 21:11:50- Parent 1. Elementary art teachers 2. Elementary music teachers 3. 6th grade outdoor science camp 4. Middle school campus security 4/1/2013 8:47:38- Classified Staff Just seeing the list without any information on what the current effect on students and staff is hard to prioritize. From what I know I would suggest the following: In these times counselors seem to be needed. Although art and music teachers are a priority of mine having smaller class sizes would probably be more beneficial to the students. For the well being of the students and schools all schools should have their own secretary rather than sharing and all middle schools should have two full time campus supervisors. Where is the district with custodians does each school have the hours need to have clean scholls for the children? If not then that should be looked at. Knowing that the Director of Student Services is now partially handled by a part-time contract of the previous employee as well as distributed duties to positions with full plates already it appears there is a need for that position. Maybe only 9 teachers are needed for CSR, to bring the total close to the $925,000. Otherwise, if not any of these suggestions, then salary increases if the district is sure it can handle the ongoing cost. 4/1/2013 13:41:03- Certificated Staff Class size reduction needs to be brought back and what about going back to a modified year around schedule. Wasn't that first established to save money? Art and music then need to come back for all students not just those in the middle schools. 4/1/2013 16:30:37- Parent 6th. grade outdoor science camp Library media assistance 1% cost of living for employees 4/2/2013 0:24:41- Classified Staff Here are my priorities: 1. Maintenance Workers 2. 1% COLA for all employees 3. Not on the list: additional technology staff to help Wayne Sidie and Rick Harms. 4/2/2013 9:19:20- Parent I would recommend the following in order of priority: Elementary Music Teachers, Elementary Art Teachers, Grounds workers, Middle School club stipends, Middle School sports stipends which comes to $908,000. Thank you for seeking community input. I am hopeful that our children will benefit from the enrichment activities

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