Preparing the Way

It has been a while since I have blogged. Lots of graduations. Lots of excessed employees. Lots of emotions.. Budget hearings.. etc..

July 1st, the SCS will be officially merged into one district. Now that the hard merger work for the board is almost complete, we turn our attention to the future. That would involve strategic planning for the short and long-term for the district. Number 1 on the list are:

Municipal Districts

Most of the banter surrounding municipal districts really has been about buildings and their transfer. However, there is a broader issue that we must deal with in relation to buildings and that involves ASD, Charter, and Municipal districts.

The other piece of the solution resides in fixed infrastructure and capital investments the SCS has made into services. Examples are transportation, nutrition, custodial, IT, special ed… Many of these areas do not scale easily and result in a net operating loss to the district if we do not recoup some money when new schools come on-line.

The reality is that a win-win exists for all for these situations. I brought these up last night at the facilities meeting and seemed to get good support.

1) The SCS creates a portfolio of services to offer ASD, Charter and Municipal schools. It is very much like the Fedex model with Fedex Services providing back-end office solutions to each of the Fedex operating companies and billing back for those services. It is the perfect example of shared collaboration and capital infrastructure. It creates a turn-key solution for new schools and it helps the SCS off-set fixed cost at a revenue neutral position.

2) Buildings would be nothing more than a piece of infrastructure that will be used by these new schools. The use of the property should create no cost to the SCS. So that means all deferred maintenance would get passed on to the new schools but since an entire school is transferred, the cost of maintaining the building will no longer reside with the SCS.

 

 

No matter what the final solution, I believe an important driver is for the SCS to strike a revenue/cost neutral deal. We should not profiteer from these solutions but we should also not take a bath over them either.

In preparation, I have asked business operations and innovation department to begin running models to create a portfolio of services as a turn-key solution for these districts and distill it down to a cost per child. That analysis will not begin in earnest until August but we have at lease started the discussion.

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2013-2014 School Start Times

For those interested in school start times.. Just received this a couple of hours ago..

 

SCS Unified District Bell Times_2013-14 FINAL (2)

Notes from the April 30th Board Meeting

Here is a brief recap of our monthly meeting from last night.. Lots of things happened..

1) The SCS voted to suspend the superintendent search until later next school year. Proact group who was conducting the search stated that interested candidates were concerned about board stability, salary, muni districts, etc.. and it was impacting quality of candidates applying. Pushing this out until later would give everyone an understanding of the landscape.

2) The BOE approved a new facilities charter for our facilities committee. This committee will be composed of 5 board members and 2 external members(if needed). The goal will be to holistically review policies as it pertains to use of SCS property. I am currently on this committee and expect to remain. I also expect the committee to closely look at how we deal with property as it pertains to ASD, Charter, and Municipal Schools.

3) Kevin Woods made a motion to reconsider pay for performance model for teachers instead of just a step/ladder program based upon degree and experience. This model is under development and will eventually lead the way for statewide compensation reform. The motion to reconsider passed and ultimately was approved.

4) Rev Whalum’s resolution to put off the merger for a year was defeated 6-14. I supported Whalum but only after I tried to amend the motion to ask Judge Mays to immediately shrink the board to 7. My motion was defeated 8-14. But it was a key discussion point on the effectiveness of our board.

5) School Closures – The board voted to begin the process of engaging t he community over school closures. We did not vote to close anything. This new list includes 10 schools. Among those schools are EA Harrold. Harrold is a good schools at capacity. However, Jeter and Millington ES are very underutilized and there buildings are in great shape. Harrold’s building is in real bad shape. At this point, I don’t support closing it but we need to discuss as a community if any of the options are of any benefit.

6) Custodial Services – We voted last night to outsource all custodial services to GCA (current SCS contractor) at a cost savings of 12 million dollars.

7) Transportation – We voted last night to adopt a hybrid transportation model using our existing  bus capacity which means SCS drivers will keep their jobs and smaller contract with Durham to service the NW and SW portions of the county. Savings to the district was around 6.5 million.

8) The BOE approved a full inventory and forensic audit of both districts prior to the merger to account for assets.

9) Dorsey Hopson presented an update that alll TPC recommendations have been addressed. So the district is almost at 100% complete in terms of TPC recommendations and t heir review and consideration although not all will be implemented at this time.

So what’s next? Budget

The SCS administration plans to present a budget within the next week or two. This budget will then go to the county commission for funding. My expectation is that by the time it gets to them, we will have cut all that we can. It will then be up to us to lobby the cc for an increase to fund the gap.