Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Under the radar: School Board cuts crucial funding to classrooms


The Bossier Parish School Board made some cuts at their last meeting that will directly affect students and teachers. They voted to cut the parish per-student funds from $38 to $29. At the same meeting, technology was cut from $20 to $15, student fees from $10 to $8 and copier fees from $8 to $6.
For some schools, this may not have a drastic effect due to the affluence of the areas they serve. Benton Middle School raised $4,000 at a Sonic Night fundraiser, for example. Parkway, Airline and probably Haughton schools are capable of raising funds in their areas. Plain Dealing and Bossier High School, probably not so much.
Teachers copy allowances have been cut drastically, most teachers are having to pony up out of their own pockets just to make copies for class.
Of course, voters turned down propositions for employee raises and for technology. The main reason I heard at the time that the raises were denied was that the system was too top heavy, that if the money could go to teachers and lower tier employees, the vote would have been switched.
That, at least, is an out for the Board. They didn’t pay attention to the sentiment of the vote when they gave Superintendent D. C. Machen a $50,000 per year raise. I’m not saying that he should not be paid more in line with neighboring districts, this isn’t aimed at him. 
It is aimed at the Board for giving the Superintendent a raise that by itself exceeds the average income of Bossier Parish households at the same time that crucial classroom expenses are being cut.
I went to the School website to check the minutes of the meeting, but the last minutes posted are for August 1st.  It will be interesting to see who voted yea and nay.
A School Board special election is coming up in october for Dr. Brigham’s seat. It will be interesting to see what those candidates think of the cuts. Someone needs to ask them.
I volunteer. More later!

57 comments:

  1. They just hired another person for Human Resources, yet classroom funding is cut? Cut funding at central office, not in the classrooms. Parents are bombarded with fundraisers every week and last time I checked my property was just reassessed and my taxes went up, yet again. Meanwhile, teachers have so much "added to their plate" lately and have not had an increase in pay in several years. Something has to give! Frustrating it is!

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  2. Interested to hear more about this.

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  3. Got to cut funding to pay machen's raise.

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  4. just saying but what about the bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and janitors...they are at school....way before anybody else and they don't even RATE...
    Personally, if they were to go on strike....what would happen then? Is the board gonna go cook breakfast and lunch and drive the kids to school...I think the school would collapse with out them...
    I think a bonus from the state should be the same amount no matter what you do...nobody is above anybody else....its coming from the STATE...not the school board....
    Then they want to raise the insurance after you get the bonus...that sucks.....blue cross is good but who's pocket are you putting extra money into just to keep a high dollar insurance...shop around...there are also better insurance companies out there.....

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  5. Please amend your story to accurately reflect the action taken at the Sept. 5th BPSB meeting. The statement, "School Board cuts crucial funding . ." is misleading. Budgeted funds were re-allocated. As you pointed out, voters previously turned down a proposition to fund needed technology upgrades. Since the mid-90's, certain funds have been distributed to each school, on a per-student basis. They are referred to as, Technology Fee, Student Fee, and Copy Fee. This year, a portion of the 3 fees were re-allocated for purely technology enhancements that will benefit every school. The opening paragraph seems to imply there was a "cut" from $38 to $29, PLUS the other changes listed. In fact, there was only the one change, which totalled $9 per student. This change will have a positive impact on every school, rather than a piecemeal, individual school approach. The existing technology infrastructure must be upgraded if Bossier Schools are to meet the new, mandated student assessment procedures. Do your readers a great service and conduct a face-to-face interview with the superintendent and get all the facts. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by what is being done, despite very limited funding. And it is all documented and verifiable.

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    Replies
    1. You seem willing to explain away how a cut of any amount will be great for the schools in Bossier Parish but fail to address a $50K increase in D. C. Machen's salary. Let's say D.C. has 2 years remaining on his contract, and $50K X 2 comes to $100K. Now, let's say there are 25K students in Bossier Parish and the cut is $4 per, well that too equals $100K. What a coincidence!

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  6. That's some really great spin, a $9 per student cut will have a positive impact.

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  7. DC Machen Just like other superintendents make way too much money! And if the Bossier Parish School Board would realize what their doing does not require a 40 hour week they would volunteer that little bit of time they give for their meetings. School board should be a volunteer position just like the police jury should be a Volunteer position. This would save tax payers alot of money! Give They can write the wear and tare of the vehicle and their gas money off on their taxes! I think we should petition the bossier parish tax payers over this.

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  8. Right in line with city management treatment of their employees. Doing the right thing is a ~thing~ of the past.

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  9. Want a little cheese with your whine? I am worth every penny.

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    Replies
    1. You so funny and witty.

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  10. Oh Mr. Machen, please do get your head out of the sand. Bossier Parish Schools leave much to be desired. How many parents have had to move their children to other districts because Bossier Parish Schools refuses to acknowlege and address it's bullying problem? Worse how many parents have had to bury their children, because it went on ignored by the schools and administration for so long that these children saw no other way out? I can think of 3. And when one parent fought back he was threatened. I moved my kid to Caddo Parish for that reason, and I firmly believe it saved her life. Fix that problem and you'll be worth twice your salary. Until you do, you aren't worth even half.

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  11. What is the current salary of Superintendent?

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  12. It was a bit much when the superintendent got that hugh raise!!!! School employees will always make sure students have what they need to learn even if it comes out of their own pockets.Putting aside the recent events from the meeting, support personnel get the low end of the totem pole when it comes to pay.Bus drivers have an important job, but Paraprofessionals make far less than bus drivers (who work maybe 4 hours a day)..Paraprofessional work a full day for less then 18K a year. All of the requirements for them is unreal. Medication training, sometimes its necessary for them to be trained on certain procedures according to student needs, and a plethera of other things. On top of working with students from the beginning of the day til the end.And no matter what will retire after 25 years making only that!!!!

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    1. That's exactly why I'm no longer a Paraprofessional. I loved my job so very much but I could no longer afford to have so much responsibility put on my shoulders and not get compensated for it. I was actually earning the most I could and also tutored a few students. I was required to be CPR and First Aid trained at my own expense, as well as medically trained while other Paras made the same amount and didn't have the same responsibilities. Not only that, but many paras are just glorified babysitters, uncaring, and did just enough to get by and others in Admin continued to look over their incompetence. I truly loved each and every child I worked with and was blessed to have worked side by side with some of the best teachers, and still believe that Bossier Parish has the best schools in the state.

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  13. I am a teacher and I can tell you that here at mid-month I have exhausted my copy allowance. Until October I can't copy a test, a quiz, a worksheet, a document, nothing. And because my job performance score is tied to student achievement, I will go to Kinkos and pay out of pocket to make copies for my students. I want my students to achieve and to be successful and while sitting around in Common-Core-designed groups chatting about the literature is fine to a point, there are limits.

    I suppose I could write an essay test and put it on the projector, but what about the kids with accommodations who need hard copies? And how is a simple essay test going to prepare them for the multiple choice EOC?

    The school board asks that we be grateful for the bonus check in November, and I am. But part of that is STATE money and part is the thirteenth check we have always received and is not new. What is the PARISH doing for teachers?

    Oh, that's right. They're cutting our allotments and paying our superintendent more.

    Got it.

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  14. But the $9 cut will benefit all the schools. Teachers and students, not so much.

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  15. You give the superintendent a $50,000 a year raise then cut funding. This is why the voters voted against those proposals in the last election. Unbelievable. But this is Bossier so I don't expect any less. Bossier schools received a "c" rating. I don't believe a superintendent deserves a $50,000 a year raise for a "c" rating.

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  16. "Unbelievable. But this is Bossier so I don't expect any less." But the voters still allow it. That is what is Unbelievable.

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  17. Get the facts straight in the 2nd paragraph about fundraising as well. Sonic made an extra $4000, not the middle school.

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  18. Just know what I was told, I wasn't there to count the money. It's a shame they didn't make that much, the school obviously needs it - with the cuts and the current shortages. By shortages I mean classrooms not being furnished the materials they need to meet the required teaching standards.
    There is no way you can spin the fact that teachers have to cough up their own money and ask people to help with necessary items. It's disgraceful.

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    Replies
    1. You left out the teachers are receiving supply money again this year. So, what you can do as a responsible reporter is promote the fundraising efforts and the easiest ones out there; for example, voting for classroom projects, collecting box tops, coke tabs, community coffee labels, soup labels, etc. Every little bit counts and actually, teachers and schools are VERY grateful for that kind of support.

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  19. How much money does school board spend in a year??

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  20. Private schools are a real attractive alternative - never thought I'd say that in bossier.

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  21. Anon at 8:21 PM, I'll be very happy to promote anything for teachers. Yes, they do receive SOME supply money, but not nearly enough. And that amount was just cut, or reallocated if you prefer, the point is that they don't have it anymore and are having to pay out of pocket for things that the system should furnish.
    That isn't right no matter how much you spin it.

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    Replies
    1. BTW - the yearly supply money of $100 was not cut. You must get your facts correct, please.

      Get ready to promote Limeades for Learning! Voting starts Monday. Vote for Bossier Parish teacher projects. Also, suggest that interested donors go to www.DonorsChoose.org to find a teacher project anywhere and make a small donation.

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  22. What if we funded the police department with box tops? We could call it Boxtops for Bullets. I like Limeades for Law Enforcement, myself.

    Absurd.

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    Replies
    1. You are ridiculous! Come spend some time in the schools. Teachers are grateful for the little stuff. Box Tops for Education, for example, can buy thousands of dollars of PE equipment. Even the private schools collect those items for funding. What does Jim think of your comment? I don't care.

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    2. I want to get rid of some dishonest police officers and start using our tax dollars wisely. I have never worked on a job where you could lie and keep your job. I think we should also look into Mayor Walkers past practices and see if he is honest.

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  23. Why is that ridiculous? Public employees are having to pay out of their own pockets for workplace necessities. How can you possibly justify that?
    Collecting box tops and having fund raisers is great for extras. The system should supply the necessities.
    When you make copies at the school board office do you have to pay for them out of your own pocket? Do you have to buy your own supplies?
    You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig.

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    1. Honestly, have we (the once great United States who use to feed and educate the world) now finds itself in the position to ask Coca-Cola and cereal companies for money to get our children properly educated? My how we have sunken into an abyss! How about cutting the non-essentials (like athletics and other money sponges) and fully fund the esstentials. It's called prioritization! And if we find ourselves in a postion to fun non-essential programs we can do so after the essentials are fully funded. It's like my personal budget. If I need to cut off cable to fund my power bill, so be it! You're right Jim, lipstick on a pig!

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    2. I am worth the extra 50K. You whiners get some more cheese and go back to work! Son, don't listen to them.

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  24. To all of you who think Machen cares, reality escapes you, He will now get his average pay on his retirement, Look at all the new construction projects, I wonder who will get the air conditioning work now, All of this is about the money, follow the money as some say, Which businesses stand to gain from how the school system is run, Which bank does the school system use, who gets most of the construction projects, etc, Careful about the answers you might not like what you find, you might find your friends,

    Education is not what motivates the actions in Bossier anymore!

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  25. We are definitely the envy of the country because we have people like old D.C. and other people like him in the parish and city leading the way.

    http://www.ktbs.com/story/23489653/shreveport-bossier-ranked-last

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  26. It's funny because I've been around this state and I never heard anyone day they are envious of Bossier. It's D.C. and the rest of the good ole boys with their heads up each others a$$es that believe that. With all the white flight coming into Bossier. The best that the good ole boys can do is a "C" rating.

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  27. Hire a football coach to run a 200 million dollar industry. That is how the rest of us that teach get screwed. Look at the son's advancement. Crooked as a snake. Hey Mr. Machen, how's your AC?

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  28. Is it true that DC called for a mandatory meeting for parish employees and because he had hired so many relatives a family reunion broke out?

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  30. I am all for the teachers pay them more and the Sup less.

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  31. Give it to the teachers, the cops make enough.

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  32. The results are in. The school boards hand picked candidate to fill an open seat was demolished. That is what the voters thought of the pay raise for Mr. DC.

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  47. Y'all don't know the half of what DC has done ....investigations need to start..I'm on the inside I know

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  48. Yea like the maintenance department.. after the last deal DC put Stacey Rouge .in charge he was electrician..no degree. As the job required... then moved joey Burroughs under him ..who is a home builder. Wonder how much he has stole ..it is all corrupt ..come in chop heads.. and let the workers make a living..

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