Budget guru Phil Stover, interim chief special projects officer in San Diego Unified is answering your questions about school budget cuts today on our blog. Confused by the cuts or the budget crisis? Have bigger questions about how the budget works? Ask Stover your questions by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or post them here. We’ll be putting up your questions and answers throughout the day. Where necessary, I’ve included some added explanation of my own in italics to help smooth out any eduspeak. Enjoy! — EMILY ALPERT
QUESTION from teacher MONIKA GARDNER: I am an elementary school teacher in the district and I am wondering why there are still so many resource teachers that are not in the classroom. This year my school had a staff development on using Data Director (a program that allows teachers to look at testing data). The training was conducted by four full-time staff members when one would have sufficed.
Needless to say, no new information was provided, and it was a total waste of time. Recently, the math department came out with five full-time resource teachers to my site to give training. They spent two hours discussing math charts with a group of highly experienced teachers.
Is there a way to evaluate the need for these resource teachers? I count seventeen math resource teachers on the district web site. What do they do all day? Please consider putting people at school sites where we could use another body.
ANSWER from PHIL STOVER: Our priority-based budgeting process has certainly put an emphasis on moving resources to the schools. Sometimes in a district where centrally led programs and resources are held in high regard it is difficult to move the funds and resources to the sites.
We are certainly also looking at the role of the resource teacher and professional development. There are approximately 200 certificated non-managers in the central office, many of whom fall into the resource
teacher category. You will find a report coming out by March 19 regarding the consolidation of the ISS (Instructional Support Services) group with the SIO (School Improvement Offices) that will directly address this issue.
I don’t know what their recommendations will ultimately be, but they are taking a good look at this issue. My
experience is that we don’t have quite as many non-classroom certificated personnel as people think, but we constantly need to be looking at creating efficiencies and rolling out resources directly to the sites. Have a good day and keep teaching!
— PHIL STOVER