One of my goals as a board member is adopting policies and a budget that reflects the changing priorities and values of our community. As our community priorities change our schools need to change accordingly. One big example of that is the social and emotional needs of our students. If we’re going to reach the goal of 100% graduation rate we need to help all of our students and sometimes that means helping them with issues outside of what a school would traditionally address.
How do schools address the social and emotional needs of our students? One way is with the training and continued professional development of classroom teachers and support staff. Educators need to know how to identify when a student needs help. A second way is with school counselors who can meet with students (and their learning team) to identify areas of concern and get resources to a student and their family. A third way is partnerships with community agencies to offer therapy to our students in our school. This reduces the time a student spends out of class (walking down a hall takes significantly less time than driving across town) and reduces stress on families (it’s hard for some families to take time off work for appointments).
Setting a district budget isn’t just the issue of spending as much as you receive. A district budget is knowing what the needs of students are then meeting those needs in a way that shows voters that we are trustworthy. Because it’s only when a board can set priorities and a budget that meets those needs that voters will continue to support our schools.