It has been a while since my last Vimeo message. This is due primarily to our initiative to communicate more often and effectively through our press releases. Log onto Timberlane.net or subscribe to the Timberlane Twitter feed for up to date news.
Let’s talk budget. I am very pleased to announce the Budget Committee, by unanimous vote, has approved a proposed budget of $69, 333, 958 for the 2016-17 school year. The Budget Committee along with district administrators worked very hard to develop this budget that we feel will both support the learning at Timberlane and be mindful of the taxpayer. We look forward to your support at our upcoming public hearing on the budget on January 14th and our Deliberative Session on February 4th.
Since my hiring in 2012, I have been involved in the development of four budgets. The first was a proposed budget, the second a default budget, and the last two were proposed budgets under default and we have been able to return a surplus to the taxpayer each year. This is due primarily to the effective execution, which sometimes involved the freezing, of the budget. You might hear the argument that if there is surplus then we have budgeted too much in the first place. This is simply not the case. The budget is developed 18 months in advance and it needs to include monies to fund unanticipated liabilities, like insurance, energy, and retirement costs. We only get estimates of these costs that far in advance and we must be responsible in our budgeting process. In the event those items come in less than budget, we return that money to the taxpayer. In the event they do not, we are able to cover those costs without significantly affecting the quality of our educational services.
Our building principals have done remarkably well in managing their budgets on the building level as have our department directors. The truth is – we can no longer educate our children they way many of us were educated 20, 30 or more years ago. Business models, academic expectations and technology advancements have hugely influenced both the local, national and global job market. Times have changed and so does the way we need to teach. We work hard to incorporate strategies that afford the greatest effect for rigor, accountability and improvement.
One such strategy includes the plan to increase the number of academic deans at the 6-12 campus beginning the 2016-17 school year. This plan will allow for a better distribution of department responsibilities. Reducing the size of the departments will allow deans to better manage and evaluate both the curriculum and instructional staff as well as execute plans for improving rigor and accountability. Additionally, it will provide the instructional staff with much needed support to improve their teaching practices through evaluation and professional development. The Timberlane Teachers Association has been directly involved in the planning of ways to improve instructional support.
Another strategy is the establishment of the Timberlane Executive Leadership Academy (TELA) which provides targeted professional development for our district leaders so they can deliver even more support to our instructional staff. Evaluation and support are the vehicles we are using to improve the rigor and accountability at Timberlane. This is a win-win for both students and teachers!
The goal of uniting divided stakeholders is being met through a series of advisory committees, which for the most part, are comprised of both staff and community members. I am excited about the recommendations for improvements I am receiving in target areas; which bring me to share with you the latest committee – the Timberlane Parent Advisory Forum or TPAF. This special committee will meet on bi-monthly basis to solicit and address concerns of Timberlane parents regarding program, curriculum and instruction. I encourage parents to contact the committee at Email to provide ideas for meeting agenda topics. The first TPAF meeting is expected to held in January.
In closing, I want to thank the many people who personally expressed their support for the work being done here. It is hard work and I am pleased our efforts are not going unnoticed.
To each of you, I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday. Thank you.
Dr. Earl Metzler