Mingo County Schools Personnel realignment for Frequently Asked Questions

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1 Mingo County Schools Personnel realignment for Frequently Asked Questions What is driving the call for reductions in force for the school year? - Enrollment: Mingo County enrolled 149 fewer students in than in This equates to a loss of funding for almost 11 professional positions and over 6 service personnel positions. Enrollment has dropped, yes. No argument here. Loss of funding, not so much: Did you know that the top three positions in the county make together $292K a year? The State Budget Deficit After years of not affecting state aid contributions to county boards of education, the State of West Virginia enacted a 1% cut in these funds across the board during the 3rd quarter of fiscal year Further cuts are possible, if not probable, in 4Q Mingo County receives $21,587, in state aid. 1% of $21,587, = $215, $215, does not justify 40 positions being cut. Local Tax Revenue Local tax revenue continues to decline. General and excess levy revenues fund salaries, The levy revenues are in place until 2019, so there isn t a decline until the renewal

2 extracurricular activities, field trips, maintenance, and other costs not covered by state or federal funds. occurs. The salaries it provides funding for are Central Office staff: No teachers, counselors, or administrators. In the levy, there is $200K set aside for incentive pay. Where is this money if ALL $200K isn t used? Need for Positions Certain positions are required by state law, while others are not. Positions that are not required by state law include librarians, assistant principals, counselors, and teachers beyond the limits of class sizes in grades K through 6. Though positions aren t required by state law, what will be best for our kids? The proposed cuts are to eliminate 7 positions at MCHS: assistant principal, counselor, business teacher, English teacher, science teacher, social studies teacher, and a librarian. While we value all positions, we understand that cuts must be made. Therefore, we are focusing our efforts to save TEACHER positions (this includes our librarian). Funding

3 Certain positions are funded through very particular grants or line items in the budget. If these funds do not come through due to state budget cuts or other programmatic changes, it is up to the county to pay for them out of local revenues. With local revenues declining, the county cannot afford to pick up too many extra positions. Look at the pay scale from the Central Office. The top three: Super, Assistant Super, and Administrative Asst. makes together $292K a year. Director of Transportation, without a degree, makes $71K. Programmatic Changes We review our academic and support programs annually to determine if they are serving our students well compared to the costs involved. Sometimes we find that due to Legislative changes, state or local board of education priorities, changes in the local economy, or simply lack of interest, programs must be retooled, reconfigured, or even eliminated. No programmatic changes have developed. There is no need to retool, reconfigure, or eliminate programs. WHY ARE SO MANY POSITIONS AT MINGO CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL SLATED FOR REDUCTION?

4 There are as many as 40 positions slated for reduction this year across the county. A few of these (no more than seven) are at Mingo Central High School. The reason is three-fold: Enrollment When the consolidation hearings for MCHS were held at Gilbert High School in 2007, it was projected that Mingo Central High School would enroll 882 students in its first year. Currently, there are only 678 students enrolled at MCHS. Staffing MCHS currently has more professional staff than any other school in the county by a wide margin, with 23 more teachers, counselors, and administrators than the next largest school, Lenore PK-8. However, Lenore only has 80 students fewer than MCHS, with Williamson, Matewan, and Enrollment Central office is saying the projected enrollment for next year is 678 or lower. Do the math: 155 Juniors, 179 Sophomores, 209 Freshman, 220 Eighth Graders = 763, approximately 40 students will move/transfer. Leaving a total of approximately 723 students. Staffing Who are these professionals? MCHS has 12 CTE professionals and 6 special education teachers that can t even be considered into the portion because these teachers have different courses and have different policies/laws to

5 the new Burch PK-8 not far behind. There is simply a much larger portion of our educators at Mingo Central than anywhere else. Funding It takes about 14 students to fund a professional position. The State of West Virginia funds positions by looking at the total enrollment of a county, not the enrollment of individuals. It is common, then, that some schools will have more professional personnel than their student enrollment is able to fund. High schools in particular show this, as CTE and other advanced programs require more teachers than can usually be funded with just the high school s population. In the past, we have tried to maintain this by holding the PK-8, elementary, and middle schools to very tight staffing while allowing the high schools to be more generously staffed. At some point, though, there simply aren t positions left at the lower levels to cut in order follow. Example: One special education teacher is only allowed to have ONE student, the entire day; however, he s considered in the portion of having too many professionals. Funding If you cut teachers in CTE and advanced programs, then you lose other funding. For instance, the loss of a business teacher leads to less CTE completers. CTE Completers = Funds $$$$

6 to fund high school positions. WON T PROGRAMS LIKE ADVANCED PLACEMENT (AP), CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION (CTE), AND SPECIALIZED ELECTIVES BE AFFECTED BY THESE REDUCTIONS? WON T CLASS SIZES INCREASE? No. The reductions as proposed look to reduce excess capacity, not eliminate programs. In fact, if the reductions as proposed were implemented today, no advanced courses, electives, or specialized offerings would have to be eliminated from the academic or CTE programs at MCHS. As for the library program, we have decided to reimagine how library services are provided throughout the county and bring them into the 21st Century. To do this, we want to refocus what resources we have on our PK-8, elementary, and middle schools, where the foundations of literacy are instilled in our students. At the high schools, state-of-the-art Teachers teaching electives will be required to teach core classes, leaving no room for electives in the schedule. The loss of electives will result in students not graduating, nowhere to put students during their option courses, and more students in a class. AP Enrollment WILL drop. Right now we offer AP courses in the morning and afternoon in order to allow students in CTE programs the opportunity to take CTE courses as well as AP courses. With these cuts, most AP courses would only be offered at one point throughout the day which would force our students to choose between CTE and AP. Furthermore, this

7 wireless Internet access and individual student laptops make it possible for students to conduct research anywhere in the building, not just in the library. Technology Integration Specialists work with teachers to provide these resources in the classroom, so that students are not tied down to any one room or reliant on any one person to access digital media. would be a direct violation of the AP Access & Equity Policy. This would result in less CTE completers and lower enrollment in AP which would remove the AP District Honor Roll recognition that Mingo County recently received. A direct result of AP enrollment decline will be the decline in Promise Scholarship students MCHS produces. Last year there were 29 students that achieved the Promise Scholarship. All 29 students were enrolled in multiple AP/Dual Credit courses which helped better prepare them. It has been said that we will just dump students into Career and Technical classes. This is not possible. Policy mandates that every CTE program be a simulated workplace. Meaning, a student must apply, interview, and be accepted into the program. Once into the program, they MUST complete the program for GRADUATION. Example: 220 Freshman students in have to

8 take English 9, not including the 10th graders who failed English 9. That would leave an average of 32 students in an English class. IMPOSSIBLE. If we have another teacher teach a few sections to get the average number below 25 then that takes away our electives, which are a part of PEPs and requirements for graduation. Class Sizes Yes, naturally, fewer teachers will lead to larger class sizes, but the classes at MCHS are already abnormally small for a high school its size. In our three largest PK-8 schools, we average much higher class sizes about 24 at Lenore, about the same at Williamson, and about 22 at Matewan. But even with the reductions as proposed, MCHS will only see a modest increase in class size. At Lenore, Williamson, and Matewan, shifts in enrollment and reductions in force at those schools will raise average class sizes to about 25, 26, and 23, Like stated above, class sizes will increase. Furthermore, it is not fair to compare a high school to a PK8 school. In PK8 schools, students do not have options. All students take the same required courses. At the high school level Instruction is more personalized and students are required to choose pathways which include specific courses to address their individual needs.

9 respectively. The new Burch PK-8 should fall somewhere in this range. MCHS will still have smaller class sizes than these schools, thanks in large part to the funding provided by the larger classes in the PK-8 schools. Positions that Aren t Required According to an article published on Friday from the Mingo Messenger: Duncan said certain positions are required by state law, while others are not. Some of the positions not required include librarians, assistant principals, counselors, and teachers beyond class-size limits in grades K through six. We would like to point out that there are other positions in Mingo County also not required by state law. These positions include: 1 Homebound teacher 2 Technology Integration Specialists 4 Special Education Staff Members at Central Office Director of Early Learning Programs Coordinator of Guidance & Testing Assistant Superintendent 4 School Nurses 7 Speech Language Pathologists 11 Assistant Principals Low Enrollment

10 From the Mingo Messenger Article- Currently there are many classes at MCHS with fewer than 10 students, and a few periods where teachers have no class at all; and that s in addition to their dutyfree planning period, Bobbera said. There are several classes at MCHS that have 10 students or less. HOWEVER, this is necessary in order for students to specialize in a certain pathway. Not all students may wish to be a doctor in the future; therefore, it is wrong to try to push those students in DC Human Anatomy. Should we penalize the 10 students who do wish to enter a profession that requires Human Anatomy? Absolutely not. Additionally, many of our low enrollment courses are limited due to safety regulations and equipment. For example: many CTE courses are limited to 15 students due to safety. In Mass Communications only 8 students are able to enroll due to limited equipment. We do have three teachers who do have one free period each (one from business, one from social studies, and one from the arts). As part of the IZ grant to increase graduation rate, one of the strategies is to do a freshman academy. RESA provided training to assist with this. We have implemented several interventions to address

11 this with one of them to have specific teachers to monitor 9 th grade attendance, grades, and behavior. In order to do this, we selected three teachers (Teresa Cline already had a free period so we didn t have to do make changes in her schedule). During this free period, they pull and assess data, meet with/mentor students, set up and meet with teachers and parents, etc. Each teacher is assigned apprx. 70 students. We felt this was acceptable since we had been told to reimagine the school day to make the grant work

12 DID YOU KNOW? Every student has to complete a program of study. With the proposed cuts, there are 45 students at risk for not graduating. Mingo Central has a 90.34% graduation rate. If the cuts occur, the graduation rate has a possibility of dropping to 68%. AP courses have to be offered in the four core subjects: English, social studies, science and Math. AP has a fair and equity policy. AP courses are weighted, meaning it affects graduation rank/gpa. o Mingo Central has to offer AP courses in both morning and evening to remain in line with students wants/needs and the fair and equity policy. The reason courses have to be offered like that is because students enrolled in CTE courses have to have the option to take AP. According to the Central Office: Mingo Central has a teacher/student ratio of 1 teacher for every 10 students. o In reality, Mingo Central has a teacher/student ratio of 1 teacher for every 17 students. o With the proposed cuts: (with Central Office numbers) the teacher/student ratio will go to 1 teacher for every 18 students. According to Mingo Central numbers the teacher/student ratio will go to 1 teacher for every 20 students Not every student can enroll in a CTE course. CTE is a simulated workplace. Students must apply to the program, be accepted, and complete the program, just as they would a job.

13 o CTE courses must be followed in order. For example: Automotive: Auto I, Auto II, Auto III, Auto IV. You cannot take Auto III if you haven t taken Auto I and Auto II. Here is a link about smaller class sizes:

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