Fayette County Superintendent Manny Caulk said he has restructured some positions at the district’s Central Office and made some tentative budget proposals for 2017-18 as a result of a state evaluation that said there were inconsistencies in the support some district leaders provided to schools.
The district diagnostic review by the Kentucky Department of Education was released last week. The 2017 evaluation was more positive than those in the three prior years in that it said the school district had the capacity to make improvements and that Caulk had brought stability since he was hired in 2015. But the report said district officials still had work to do.
One concern of evaluators was inconsistency in the level and type of support to all schools from some of the district school directors who oversee principals. Data indicated that these district-level school directors did not consistently monitor the effectiveness of classroom instruction or provide clear directions to principals on how to improve conditions that support student learning.
Evaluators interviewed one person who said, “It depends on who your school director is whether you receive good support,” the report said.
Six positions in the school leadership office will be restructured, Caulk said at a Wednesday school board meeting about the budget. Caulk did not provide specifics on the status of the employees currently in those positions at the Wednesday meeting or reply to a request for that information on Thursday.
Additionally, the budget would reflect that low-achieving schools will get more intensive support. “That was an area highlighted throughout the district diagnostic” report, Caulk said.
A tentative $492.9 million district budget for 2017-18 would be a 2.6 percent increase over the 2016-17 budget, officials said Wednesday.
District officials said they thought there would be about $12.7 million in additional revenue from sources that include a property tax increase, which will raise district revenue by 4 percent, or about $10 million.
Caulk and Budget Director Julane Mullins discussed initiatives in the 2017-2018 tentative budget that the school board will be asked to approve on Monday. Caulk said there would be new curriculum, new positions and new programs. There would be more teachers for English language learners, disabled and gifted and talented students.
The initiatives and amounts were continuing to be tweaked, officials said, but they tentatively include:
▪ A proposed Newcomer’s Academy for students new to the United States — $1.2 million.
▪ A proposed Dropout Prevention Reengagement Center — $1.2 million.
▪ New curriculum in math — $3 million.
▪ Cost associated with opening the new Frederick Douglass High School including hiring an athletic medical trainer and two English as a Second Language teachers and a $30,000 increase in cost in graduation expenses at Rupp Arena.
▪ Expansion of career academies at high schools — $300,000
▪ Three low-performing schools would each get an interventionist for students who need extra academic help — $183,000.
▪ Other specialists would be hired to improve instruction in the schools.
All employees will receive a .5 percent cost of living increase and some employees will be eligible for a salary increase based on their experience.
“A budget is a reflection of our community’s values and beliefs and about our future. It’s about our investment in our children,” Caulk said.
“We’re going to align the budget to our priorities.”