Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Are you ready for spring yet? This has been a challenging year for weather. I would like to address snow days, graduation rates, and the state education budget impact.
Snow days. With our eye on the sky and weather reports, our team of experts begins driving about 3 a.m., looking to see if we can safely navigate the roads. At that time, decisions are made on whether we should have buses run snow routes, delay our start time, or cancel school. As a weather event continues, our team watches the forecast and roads to also ensure a safe trip home for kids. At this point, we are not planning make-up days; however, if we exceed nine closure days, we will need to make up school days. We have a great team dedicated to our students. Thank you for supporting the district as we address the weather challenges.
Graduation rates. We are working diligently to increase our graduation rates. We did some follow-up work this year for students who were listed as non-attenders to see why they weren’t in school. We have numerous students who have moved out of our area for one reason or another and did not re-enroll, which counts against us. We also have students who decided to go into the workforce. I personally spoke with parents and students by phone and by making home visits to learn from their perspectives. We are not giving up. Our district goal is 100 percent. We will continue to work diligently to increase high school graduation.
Governor’s Proposed Budget. As we head into this legislative session, we want you to be aware of the impact on our district. Gov. Brown has proposed $8.02 billion for education, which would cause a reduction to our budget of $1.2 million. The reductions could potentially come in the form of reduced days, increased class sizes (many are already over 30 students), and reduced programs or electives. The governor’s budget for Measure 98 CTE funding is half of the amount voters approved. We will certainly keep you up to date, and I would also recommend reviewing www.oregon-rising.org/ as many of you responded to a statewide survey and identified the expectations you have for our students. Let’s make education a priority; our students deserve the best education possible.
Thank you for supporting Dallas School District.
— Michelle Johnstone