Wednesday, December 11, 2013

December Update:

Six months into the 2013-2014 school year has brought much conversation, discussion, and proposed change.  I will provide some detail regarding three topics, which have been the focus of the district and community interactions.

Re-Districting:

Earlier this month, the Board of Education voted to enact a re-districting plan - slated for implementation in September 2015.  After months of discussions, collaboration, debate, and revisions (based on summaries for 12 scenarios), the decision was made to adopt (in part) the essence of the final Scenario 12 . . . with final planning to begin in the Summer of 2014 followed up with the implementation phase to be in place for the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year.  By October of 2015, finalized maps, building boundaries, capping and baby sitter affidavits, bus routes, middle school feeder patterns, policy changes, and any other associated guidance documents will be available.

Capital Project Recommendation:

On Monday, December 2nd, the Facility Advisory Committee provided a very concise and informative presentation to the Liverpool Board of Education.  The project consists of approximately $37.9 million dollars worth of work at many of the district school building sites.  Much of the work is associated with safety and security at the various sites . . . in addition to some substantial renovation work proposed at both the Chestnut Hill Elementary building and at the Chestnut Hill Middle School building.  The proposed project also includes a full roof replacement plan for the Liverpool High School building.

The Board of Education will continue their discussion on Monday, December 16th; the expectation and hope is . . .  the conversations among board members will provide enough information and also by utilizing various professional services resources -- this will enable the board (as a whole) to reach consensus by January 13th.  It is expected that a decision will be made with respective to the capital project recommendation/proposal and the potential scope.  Given the essential facility needs (based on the age of the buildings, failing infrastructure, and curricular/instructional needs) -- all of the work becomes necessary . . . realistically, the question:  How much is affordable?  Given the fact that the Liverpool Central School District has 9 elementary buildings, 3 middle school buildings, 2 high school buildings, district office (CCE), swing-space building (WRE), educational communication center (ECC), transportation center, athletic stadium complex, and the Liverpool Public Library . . . there is a delicate balance between our fiduciary responsibility and the expectation to maintain safe and secure educational facilities for our students and staff.  More information will follow. . .

Budget Planning Timeline:

As we roll into December, we begin to see the Governor's Office unfold and disclose their plans and expectations for NYS budget development and support for the 700+ school districts in New York State.  I want to shed some light regarding our budget planning process and the timeline respective of Liverpool CSD.  It may seem odd to think that our budgeting vision is actually year-round . . . but, we have instituted a model where the process is realistically continuous.  As the school year begins, we will begin our conversations with buildings, staff, and community; the planned/budgeted changes enacted with the previous proposal - which have been instituted are now being evaluated.   Careful examination and data used to support these decisions will be utilized through the fall.  December provides the window to evaluate each of our budget lines and accounting for specific needs and programs.

Our timeline looks like the following:
Board of Education approves the Budget Calendar (November)
Budget Advisory Team Meetings (Weekly - December through February)
Budget Proposal presented to the Board of Education (February)
Board adopts the Budget for 2014-2015
Public Hearing on Budget (May)
Public Vote on Budget (May)

I share this information because it is vital that we display our intentions (transparency) with the community to be sure the essence of our mission, vision and beliefs are reflective in our actions.  If we believe in the expectations and desired outcomes for our students (and their success), we must also provide those resources necessary to support those academic/educational needs through our budgetary planning process.

Thank You and Have a Very Happy Holiday!

Mark Potter