The 2017-18 School Year Budget and Randolph Heights

For a brief summary on budgets across the district, I recommend you check out: http://www.spps.org/budget. This includes a brief video on the process and gives a sense of the scope of the situation across the district.

For Randolph Heights in general, diversity has increased and free and reduced lunch has increased by 5%. 57% of enrollment is currently identified as gifted and talented, giving us an incredibly strong program. The school was projected at 482 for this school year and we budgeted for that many staff. This fall we had around 460 students. We are currently at 462 students. We are projected at 442 students for next year. With the district budget shortfall and the lower number of students projected for next year, we are facing about a 170K deficit to the school.

Last year we were able to secure district funding for the TDAS program. Because the district previously committed to the TDAS program the district WILL continue this program next year. Our Art Teacher, Jean Schalk, will be retiring this year. The exciting news is that the position will be replaced with an Integrated Arts teacher, with a focus on both art and music! The teacher will be licensed in either art or music but with experience in the other area. The person will teach both areas tied to the Core Knowledge curriculum. The position is posted and applications are coming in. The PTA also anticipates continuing to sponsor enhanced arts programming, including the successful music program with Stephanie Bowron and Northern Clay partnerships from this year.

The main issue is that the school is currently staffed with 18 classroom teachers and 3 prep specialist teachers, which is considered district-appropriate staffing for the 482 students that we were projected for last year. However, we have a projected enrollment for next year of 442. That means, correct staffing (per the district guidelines and budgeting) should be 17 teachers and 3 prep specialists. If nothing at all changes, we will have to cut one classroom teacher. If that is the case we will have to do a split-grade class for one classroom (a “looping classroom”). However, we have requested 1 FTE, to continue to have 3 sections of each grade level. There are no guarantees, but we are hopeful this request will be granted.

There is nothing in specific we need to do with the budget this year, no heart-wrenching choices about programs to cut or the like. However, there are a few things we can look at:
1) If RHS can pick up a few more kids in all grades, we would be better off. We talked a lot about the challenges of marketing the school to new kids, and in retention. There was a lot of discussion about a PR committee, which could be an integral part of the PTA next year. Also spreading the word about strong programming (more intensive art and music, most robust G&T program in the district outside of Capitol Hill, etc.). There is also the myth that Randolph Heights is “impossible” to get into; while there may be waiting lists for kindergarten, other grades generally have space and welcome new children.

2) We can —and should —contact your state representatives and senators to tell them how important funding our schools are, and task them to allocate the maximum dollars possible.

Thank you for your help!

Prepared by Bethany Gladhill, PTA President & Jayne Ropella, Principal

Speak Your Mind

*