Morning Meeting #1

Thanks for reading Fluco Blog.  I’m Perrie Johnson, Fork Union’s representative to the Fluvanna County School Board.  My goal with Fluco Blog is to let people know what’s going on at School Board meetings beyond the reports available online.  Be forewarned, when it comes to discussion, most of the comments I remember turn out to be mine!  Here’s the latest…

Wednesday the 12th was the first of two morning meetings for July.  It’s not too late to make the next one, July 26th at 9:30 (insert laughing emoji).

Looking at what’s new for the 2017-18 budget, there was some discussion about per pupil funding allocated to each school.  This amount is going up from $61 to $70 per student, but Mr. Rittenhouse commented that teachers tell him they don’t have enough money for classroom supplies.  The response from administration was that teachers generally get what they ask for, and the specific total of $250 per teacher came up more than once.  I pointed out that $250 is only $10 per pupil, a fraction of the total allocation, and gave my opinion that teachers don’t ask for more because they’ve been told no for years.  I suggested if we want to change that notion, communication is essential.  The superintendent proposed a follow-up report from principals on future CLASSROOM allocations.

Also applicable to the new school year’s budget was a vote on personnel, which I objected to only because it included one teaching contract for 10.5 months, over the usual 10 mos.  I emphasized that it’s not that any teacher doesn’t deserve extra pay for extra time, but most teachers already put in plenty of extra time, and only get paid for 10 mos.  I’m concerned about the inequity of only certain teaching positions being extended to 10.5 mo. contracts and beyond.  I was told that this particular position had just been reduced from a 12 mo. contract (making me wonder why it was 12 in the first place, and highlighting the inequity of the situation, I thought).

Of the next four votes, I only objected to one more, the excused absence policy I questioned in my last post. I still find it very unclear as to whether an excused absence is defined by the school system or by the parent.

Near the end of the meeting, I got on my soapbox about discipline, having been inspired by observations of the Board Chair, Ms. Carr, about the number of comments on the staff survey regarding student discipline. I took another look at the comments and compared them to last year.

In May 2016, salary was the most often suggested “area of focus” with discipline coming in second.  In 2017, the two switched positions, though salary had almost exactly the same number of comments as 2016, the number of discipline comments shot up by 60% to overtake even salary as our staff’s main concern (as suggested by their comments).  The superintendent brought up discipline numbers which are tracked and reported (lower numbers implying fewer incidents) but I suggested lower numbers might just mean fewer reports, with too many incidents going unreported, and higher numbers might actually indicate better discipline.  It’s a complicated issue, but obviously important to our staff.

I want to be clever but all I can think to leave you with is that old chestnut (because yes, I’m 100) :

Stay tuned for Morning Meeting #2!

 

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This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me.  The views expressed in this blog are purely my own and do not represent the Fluvanna County School Board, the school superintendent, or anyone else. Comments added by others are not necessarily my opinions and I am not responsible for their content.

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5 thoughts on “Morning Meeting #1

  1. The 10.5 mth position could be a librarian or a guidance counselor. 10.5 mth was 5 days before teachers and 5 days after. Check on who retired from a 12 mth position and you might find your answer as to what position it is.

  2. In regards to discipline, at my school at least, I do know that over the past 2 or 3 years not all discipline issues were logged into the system. Teachers were writing them up but they weren’t all logged in. It seems that in some cases Administration was choosing to dispose of some of the referrals.

    In regards to money going for school supplies…. I know that if I need pencils, paper, extra glue sticks, etc. I can let Administration know and they will do their best to get them to me as quickly as possible. However, when it comes to bigger ticket items such as an area rug for my classroom, book bins for my literacy classes, shelving for storage and displaying the literacy books for students to access, etc. If those things cost more than the 250 I’m given at the beginning of the school year ( and rugs and shelving isn’t cheap) then I have to pay for it out of pocket like I am currently doing. Also if it isn’t from a company that will take a purchase order or that the school board has approved then I have to pay out-of-pocket. I remember when I first started teaching teachers were allowed to go to Walmart, order something off of Amazon, run to Lowe’s, etc…. and as long as it wasn’t over the $250 we were reimbursed. That is no longer the case. I won’t even tell you how much money I have spent this summer trying to fill in the gaps for my classroom.

  3. Regarding AP Testing — In exchange for taking an AP exam students are exempt from teacher exams so why wouldn’t someone take the AP test since it is free and will not count in their grade. That may account for a certain percent of the increase in test takers. Also it would be interesting to compare the AP Score to the student’s AP grades in the classes to see if the class is at the high rigorous level that is needed for student’s to be successful on the exam. If a student gets an “A” in the class but only scores a 1 on the AP exam, something is not right!

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