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Friday, May 6, 2016

Committee to recommend potential cuts

Friday, October 1, 2010

(Photo)
Dan Schroeder
Even in the current state of the economy, Clay Community School Corporation is doing fine.

"We are in good shape financially," Supt. Dan Schroeder said. "Based on the current status, there is no need to make cuts."

The Clay Community School Board of Trustees recently encouraged Schroeder to look into ways to save money, in case more cuts are to be made by the state. Schroeder has since formed the Cost-Cutting Committee, which will have its first meeting at 6 p.m., Monday, at North Clay Middle School. The public is invited to attend and observe the committee in action.

"The committee is made up of all administrative personnel, appointed teachers from the Clay Community Classroom Teachers Association (CCCTA), volunteers of non-certified personnel, volunteers from the school board and each board member was asked to appoint two community members," Schroeder said. "There will be approximately 60-65 people on the committee."

According to Schroeder, it doesn't matter what discussions take place in the committee, only recommendations can be made and the ultimate decision will be up to the school board.

"The state may cut an additional amount, and if that is the case, we want to be proactive in meeting the smaller amounts of revenue they send to us," he said. "At this time, we don't know about any cuts."

According to Schroeder, the 2010 budget for CCSC was cut by 1.3 million in the general fund-operating budget.

"No cuts were made because we had a structural surplus," he said. "Last year, we were notified in January of the amount we would be cut, so we can assume they will let us know in January 2011 for the 2011 budget."

To date CCSC has not had to RIF (reduction in force) any faculty or staff.

"We have no specific amount of money that could be cut at this time," Schroeder said. "Right now we are fine, we have a good cash balance. But if we receive cuts, then this will provide us with some options to review."


Comments
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Just how does an entity that takes tax dollars, local, state or Federal, for a specific purpose such as education, retain a "structural surplus"? Why is it that almost every school corporation in the state has had to RIF, i.e. cut staff, just to make ends meet? What funds does a school corporation generate that is not tax dollars for education or to support services required to be provided for support of education such as transportation, building maintenance, administration, etc,?

The only funds that come into the CCSC except tax dollars is a few thousand from grants and the interest on the accounts, all told, probably less than $1 million a year. Most school corporations operate with somewhere around a 4 to 5% surplus, so when they lose funding the quickest way to reduce education costs is to lay off people until they can reduce costs elsewhere. The CCSC tries to maintain an 8 to 10% surplus, something that has been referred to as a "comfort zone" by the Central Office. The only way to do that is to withhold service and education that the taxpayer has paid for to be delivered to the student. The students are doing well with what is being delivered, so the data says, but how much better would they be doing if every tax dollar was being spent on education? Is not having more teachers until we cannot pay them more educational than having a lesser constant amount?

I think that it is good that such a committee has been formed, however, I must disagree with the idea of it submitting "recommendations" to the administration or the board. To do so would mean that such a committee would have to reach a consensus as to what to recommend which would be non-binding on the corporation and therefore serves no purpose. It would appear that this committee should look for as many cost-reducing options as possible and make both the administration and the board aware of what can be done instead of what the committee, in its collective opinion, selected to be beneficial. It is, as Dr. Schroeder stated, up to the School Board to vote as to what should be done with our tax dollars to provide education to the students. That is what they were elected to do.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Sat, Oct 2, 2010, at 12:54 AM

So Southworth, you don't like the fact that unlike most school corporations in Indiana are nearly broke and most have laid off teachers & other staff?? And I doubt very seriously that they really care that you must disagree with the idea of it submitting "recommendations" to the administration or the board.

-- Posted by I. M. Lee Thall, Esq. on Sat, Oct 2, 2010, at 8:51 PM

I don't like the fact that money is being held in reserve that the taxpayer has paid for education instead of being invested in the students' education. While there are funds being held for specific reasons, to build a new bus facility and to fund previous obligations that were not funded at the time the obligation was incurred, I must disagree with not using all other available funds provided by the taxpayer to educate students or to support education. A school corporation can, by law, reserve 20% of its annual budget, 10% in Cash Balances and 10% in the Rainy Day Fund. In the CCSC, looking at the 2011 budget, that would be about $800,000. That is a lot of money to be sitting on instead of using it to educate unless there is a better reason than for people who are being paid to worry not having to worry.

Second, I do not like the idea of submitting a few recommendations to the board for their consideration. The job of the board is to decide how best to use funding and policy to support and advance education in the corporation. The job of the administration is to use the funds while staying within the policies to provide and advance education. I do not see that the purpose of the committee as being to tell the board or the administration "this is what you should do" without telling them everything that might be done. There are very few people at the top of the corporation's administration and their main job is to run the corporation on a daily basis. Seven members of the school board serve while trying to live their lives and support their families. Can any of these people research very many of the myriad options that are available? However, if they are made aware of the options, how the options would affect operations and costs, how future choices can improve the corporation and education within it, might they not decide to do just that? I would rather have the committee give as many options as it can find and let the corporation decide what to do than to issue a few non-binding suggestions. That would be just a waste of time.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Sun, Oct 3, 2010, at 7:43 AM

Cuts have in fact been made very discreetly over the past 5-7 years. We have reduced the numbers of class sections being taught at high school level and we have shifted the early bird program from a teacher led class into a on line computer class.

Most people just don't get it however. What HAS been sufficient effort and investment in education in the past no longer is as other countries are ramping up their education in order to make their graduates more competitive. Even if we retain all the academic points we are falling behind. It is no longer sufficient to retain what we had yesterday. We need to improve upon it in order to remain competitive.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Sun, Oct 3, 2010, at 6:02 PM

OK Leo, here we go again. What services has the Corporation withheld just to save money? How many school employees live in Clay County? Don't they pay taxes too? The fact that the corporation has been able to keep the schools stable in terms of staff is a good thing. Doesn't every corporation in the state want to keep the teachers and services for the kids? If they spend every cent earned each year, then isn't there a risk of a down year that drastically affects the educational foundation? You obviously have no concept of the education process in terms of funding. You always seem to throw out the stats to make the people wonder, only for them to find out you were wrong. It is simply good business to be in the black, along with providing all of the services. I may be wrong, but hasn't the school corporation improved numerous areas, as well as improving the educational services.

Jenny,

Haven't cuts been made every year in terms of sections with the number of kids signing up for classes? My teacher friends have told me that the corporation has even blended higher end classes, just to make those classes available to the students wishing to take them. The reseach concerning online learning has shown that the students perform at a higher level on the AP tests. Colleges are going to more and more online classes (First hand knowledge with my own kids). Doesn't the high school have a new program that has numerous AP classes, along with the World Languages? My opinion would be that we are moving forward with the world's education and becoming more competetive.

-- Posted by Ron Archer on Sun, Oct 3, 2010, at 6:28 PM

Okay, Electriceye, let's go again. What services are being withheld? Putting as many teachers as possible in front of the students, that's the service that is being withheld! What is the proof? When funding IS cut, we don't have to RIF! Now, granted some of the corporations that had to RIF did get into a poor financial situation for other reasons, but the vast majority had to RIF only because they put as many teachers in front of students as their projected General Fund allocation from the state would allow. When it was cut, they had to cut back to what the new amount would allow; however, their students did benefit from lower class sizes and more people for the time that funding was available. You want to talk facts, figures, and history in this corporation. It was either the 08-09 or 09-10 school year, at Clay City Elementary where we had two sections of kindergarten with over 25 students per class AND an empty classroom in the building! Did we add a teacher? No, but we did shift one from another grade; therefore we lowered the student to teacher ratio in the kindergarten only by raising it elsewhere. Did we have the money available, kindly check the history of the balance of the Rainy Day Fund for yourself because since its inception that fund has had enough money to hire a teacher for a year if it was desired.

As I have always said, when someone shows me other than opinion and double-talk, meaning verifiable facts, that says that I am wrong, I will be the first to admit it. However, when people get on here and express their opinion that I do not know what I'm talking about without offering any facts it only shows that they do not know as much as they think that they do.

If the staff directories of the school corporations' websites are correct and up to date, you have access to the number of employees. It doesn't matter if they live within the county or not any longer, any person who pays sales tax in Indiana now contributes to the General Fund. The last time I counted was in late 2008 or 2009 following the petition and remonstrance signature phase. At that time, if I recall, the school corporation had in excess of 600 employees and 89% of them were registered voters within the county. I'm not going to dig out and boot up my old computer to verify those figures as I didn't transfer that particular file because I no longer needed it, but I did compare the signed affidavits of the petition signature-collection sub-parts to the employees listed on the websites and cross-referenced that against a listing of registered voters in the county. I also checked an employee listing provided by the corporation that lists employees by where they work and gives their home address. I'm fairly certain that my "educated" guess is reasonably accurate.

Tell me this, if the students are doing well with what we are doing while withholding money, wouldn't they be doing even better if we were not? Are you going to argue the archaic position that students will do well in classes up to thirty students per teacher such as was the case and research prior to WWII? It has been widely accepted that that is no longer valid and that students, especially those at risk of not graduating, do far better when classes are less than twenty.

Now, bring facts, not snide remarks about what you think I do or do not know.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Mon, Oct 4, 2010, at 12:05 AM

Only you can take a two paragraph comment and turn it into something much bigger. Anyway, how many classes currently have 30 or more in them? Where did CCES take the extra teacher from to move to Kindergarten? How many did that make the classes have where the teacher was moved from? When my kids were in school, not too long ago, they added teachers to help deal with bigger numbers. They did this through partial contracts. They do the same thing now with partial contracts at the high school, as well as with teachers that are split between schools.

I believe that the school website has this information for you to look at. I am certain that you have, but maybe not in the right place.

Your comments about the addresses and such didn't make much sense to me. I guess the part that I didn't understand was all of it. It had no point as to the context of our argument.

As I have researched more school information just to give myself more ammo in the gun, the enrollements have decreased each of the last 4-5 years. The 6th grade enrollment this year has under 20 students. To me, that is an excellent ratio. You can look that one up as well. Do you feel that every single penny that comes in goes to education? The school does pay utilities, transportation costs, extra-curricular funds, technology upgrades (which is for the students), maintenance costs, and numerous other factors that affect education. I am not trying to be snide with you, just pointing out common sense logic.

-- Posted by Ron Archer on Mon, Oct 4, 2010, at 9:46 AM

Electriceye, on your portion of a comment addressed to Jenny I have some questions.

Just how do you "blend" classes? Are you speaking of teaching two levels of a subject in the same classroom in the same period, such as German 2 and German 3? So, in a fifty-five minute period one teacher is going to teach ten students what is on a lesson plan for level one designed to be taught in fifty-five minutes plus ten other students what is in a different lesson plan also designed to be taught for a full fifty-five minute period. Somehow, the math just doesn't add up to two full classes with full teacher instruction in both plus there is educational interference added into the equation. The students may well be learning enough to meet the minimum requirements of the courses but are they being taught all that they could have been taught in a full fifty-five minute lesson by a teacher dedicated to one lesson plan?

Now, let's look at the difference between the on-line classes offered by most colleges and our practice of using a computer program to teach classes. I've taken correspondence courses, on-line courses, and I learn constantly from reading materials accessed on this computer; however, the correspondence courses I took that were graded my the Marine Corps Institute were all multiple choice questions which I have no doubt now are accessible via computer. What does a multiple choice question prove other than that you are familiar enough with the subject matter that you can recognize a correct answer among the choices provided. Multiple choice questions, in any format, lack the one thing that indicates that a person truly is knowledgeable on the subject, the requirement of the student to defend their choice with a discussion of the choices in essay form. The on-line classes I experienced with IVY Tech included that educational experience, but only because there was an instructor in the loop who was communicated with via e-mail. I cannot imagine the algorithm that would be required to grade one essay of four sentences explaining why one choice is correct and three are wrong given the many ways of stating that in the English language and the limitations of today's computers. I seriously doubt that the CCSC owns enough computing power to do that, much less the programs and the computing power to grade one term paper on one topic in one course of study. Computers are good teaching tools, but they are also just that, tools. They can give access to knowledge that humans have discovered and grade multiple choice answers, but they cannot stand alone as a "teacher" any more than my circular saw can cut a straight line without my guidance or your kitchen can fry an egg without your interaction, period.

That leads to another question. Have we "dumbed" down the standard by which we call a person knowledgeable to the point that everything can be answered with a multiple-choice question. Personally, I do not want to deal with a butcher, baker, or candlestick-maker who knows their craft only to the point of being able to choose which cut of meat I want, which type of bread I desire, or the length, diameter, and fragrance of candle I'm looking for only to that standard, much less trust the maintenance of the car I drive to such a mechanic, my health to such a doctor, or my child to a teacher who cannot explain the "whys" of life.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Mon, Oct 4, 2010, at 9:50 AM

SOUTHWORTH QUOTE: "I do not want to deal with a butcher, baker, or candlestick-maker who knows their craft only to the point of being able to choose which cut of meat I want, which type of bread I desire, or the length, diameter, and fragrance of candle I'm looking for only to that standard, much less trust the maintenance of the car I drive to such a mechanic, my health to such a doctor, or my child to a teacher who cannot explain the "whys" of life."

From the looks of your resume, that pretty much covers your career. You did leave out Marine & a few other jobs and so far you have never claimed to be a doctor.......not yet anyway.

-- Posted by I. M. Lee Thall, Esq. on Mon, Oct 4, 2010, at 10:05 AM

Electriceye, your last comment posted while I was writing my last one. I apologize if I "read into" your initial post, however, in defense it appears that you doubt my facts which is why I included my process of determining who participated in the signature collection. I do wish that you and I could have contact other in this forum as I believe we are both of like minds but are separated by limited knowledge, meaning we each are aware of things the other isn't, of a common subject as were the blind men examining the elephant. I'll apologize for the length of my comments, but you must be aware and consider that this is a public conversation and that if I assume that everyone has the same knowledge as you and I it will generate more comments that I will feel compelled to respond to.

The condition I described at CCES caused such a stir in that facility that the principal, Jon Russel, tendered his resignation due to the corporate decision of how it was to be handled. They shifted an employee, an aide if I recall correctly, from the Fifth grade to help the kindergarten situation and at the very next meeting a parent commented to the board that by doing so his child's educational opportunity was limited. Now, I can understand the concept of sacrificing one to save many when that choice is forced upon you; however, I do not see that as the case in this situation when there are people looking for jobs and we have money in the bank just so that we are financially "comfortable".

I am aware that our enrollment is in a decline and has been for several years, currently we have no classes of thirty students nor the prospect thereof. However, the number of students enrolled is not the extent of the school corporation's responsibility, as it is the public school corporation. It cannot turn away students who reside within its area, except for just cause, so our elementary schools should have space for students in even greater abundance as they should be able to absorb both the Cornerstone Christian Academy and the 150 or more home-schooled students that reside within the corporate boundaries without modification and with only the hiring of additional teaching staff. There is also the fact that everyone from our Congressional representation down to the local dog-catcher is trying to bring more industry and more people into the area. One day they will succeed.

I am well aware of the commitment of our funding is and what each of our four main funds are used for. Education cannot stand-alone, it must have support. However, the corporation is task-oriented towards education, therefore, the bulk of its funds, especially in the General Fund should be going into the classroom. Governor Daniels has the goal of 65%, but if we can exceed that so much the better. In the support of education and with that in mind, wouldn't any changes that allows us to provide the same services at lower cost, better levels of service at the current cost, or investments in other ways and means that would accomplish better services at lower cost not be beneficial towards putting more education in our classrooms?

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Mon, Oct 4, 2010, at 11:17 AM

Lee Thall- sorry, the "fish" isn't rising to the bait today. I have too much deeper thinking responding to an intelligent mind to waste my time in response to such a shallow thought.

The resume of my experiences would be a book that you probably couldn't read and I am quite certain could never comprehend even with Cliff Notes or "Leo Southworth for Dummies".

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Mon, Oct 4, 2010, at 11:28 AM

Aw, but Leo L. Southworth you bit. But you're too stuck on yourself to realize it. You lost the election, get over yourself.

-- Posted by I. M. Lee Thall, Esq. on Mon, Oct 4, 2010, at 4:30 PM

WOW!!! Leo is thinking deeply?!?!?! Leo needs to get off of his stump. NO ONE is listening. Not even those of us bored enough to read your posts here.

-- Posted by jddriver4960 on Mon, Oct 4, 2010, at 7:20 PM

Leo,

The blending of classes for example is done in terms of this, Pre-AP Physics and Regular Physics. Neither one together would make it, but blending them allows it to make. The teachers have to do extra work to get the standards taught, but do an excellent job. This was a class that both of my kids had, and it worked out well. My understanding of the APEX/Nova Net classes is that the teachers also grade a component of it. Your terminology of an algorithm may be incorrect word usage. To clarify, an algorithm is a set of rules for solving a problem in a finite number of steps, as for finding the greatest common divisor.

Wasn't Mr. Russell simply on Military Leave while at Clay City?

Public Education is simply that, public. According to Indiana Law, a public school must accept any child under the age of 18, unless that child is a special needs child, then they can be up to age 22. The absorption of the Cornerstone kids and the 150 homeschooled kids is yet another reason that the money is kept back for. The date that the corporation must turn in the number of students enrolled is on a specific date, I would think that the schools still enroll several new students. If those students are not there, then how do we provide them services.

What schools currently have rooms that are not utilized during the day?

The Indiana Standards have to be verified during the NCA Accreditation process. Is there a school in the corporation that has not received that accreditation? The education process is there, the scores under the current administration at Northview has increased dramatically. The sixth grade test scores are up dramatically. I haven't been able to look at the other grades at the middle school, but I am sure that they have gone up as well. Good business, good management in the buildings, great transportation services, great maintenance, and great education. From where I sit and what I see, CCSC is doing everything to put out the best product (everyone must see education as a product) possible.

-- Posted by Ron Archer on Mon, Oct 4, 2010, at 7:22 PM

I think if you do the research you will find extremely large classes at Clay City Elementary in 2nd, and 5th grade. Do remember that class size doesn't always tell the picture. One can have a class of 29, with 20 students at least 2 grade levels behind academically, which makes that class size seem like 50! There doesn't seem to be much sense as to how class size/number of sections is determined in CCSC.

Mr. Russell was not on military leave the year the parents were up in arms concerning the large kindergarten numbers. (He tried to get an additional teacher for the kindergarten but was told to make due with his present staff.) Those students are now second graders and have been returned to two sections after having been in three sections as first graders.

There are some buildings in the corporation with empty classrooms. CCE happens to use the empty rooms as offices for the instructional assistants. Sometimes students are taken to those rooms for small group work. Several of the classes at CCE are large in number and could benefit from an additional section or relocation of teachers to different grade levels there. There are three first grades at CCE still, even though the first grade is fewer in number than the second grade. Of course, with budget cuts, the largest elementary in the corporation simply has to get by with what it has.

-- Posted by Bigpappy on Mon, Oct 4, 2010, at 10:06 PM

Bigpappy,

Perhaps the enrollment of CCE is too small for the building. The exception of those students in 2nd grade now. It is my hope that this isn't another one of those the Northern part gets more. Those students who are behind grade levels should be getting pulled out for remediation. If the numbers on the website are correct, then isn't Jackson Township the biggest elementary.

-- Posted by Ron Archer on Mon, Oct 4, 2010, at 10:37 PM

The blending of classes for example is done in terms of this, Pre-AP Physics and Regular Physics. Neither one together would make it, but blending them allows it to make. The teachers have to do extra work to get the standards taught, but do an excellent job. This was a class that both of my kids had, and it worked out well.

Reply: Now, think of offering the same course as distance learning from our other high school with one teacher dedicated to a full period of interaction with the class. Would that not serve the student better? Perhaps we would have more students scoring higher and getting college credit if they received a full period of instruction instead of a half of a period.

My understanding of the APEX/Nova Net classes is that the teachers also grade a component of it.

Reply: That is the first that I have heard of that, therefore, I have sent an e-mail to Tim Rayle inquiring as to the fact.

Your terminology of an algorithm may be incorrect word usage. To clarify, an algorithm is a set of rules for solving a problem in a finite number of steps, as for finding the greatest common divisor.

Reply: No, an algorithm such as a bubble-search would be one of the methods know to me by which a computer would determine if a text sequence contained the proper key-words in an almost infinite number of character sequences that would correctly answer an essay question unless you limit answers to a finite sequence determined by the programmer to be the only correct answer to a specific essay question. That, of course, would limit a correct answer to exactly one response with any and all others being wrong. While the algorithm for a bubble-search (a.k.a. Bubble-sort) is considered to be a simple one, the number of sequences that would be correct plus in proper English make the task very long in lines of code and leaves me skeptical as to the computing power capability owned by the corporation being able to accomplish it in a timely manner. Computers, even today, still work at their most basic level in binary code, either on or off. They can add, subtract, multiply, and divide -- but they do not think or reason.

Wasn't Mr. Russell simply on Military Leave while at Clay City?

Reply: Exactly the opposite, Mr. Russel was the Principal of CCE who was a member of the Indiana National Guard that deployed with his unit when it was called to duty.

Public Education is simply that, public. According to Indiana Law, a public school must accept any child under the age of 18, unless that child is a special needs child, then they can be up to age 22. The absorption of the Cornerstone kids and the 150 homeschooled kids is yet another reason that the money is kept back for. The date that the corporation must turn in the number of students enrolled is on a specific date, I would think that the schools still enroll several new students. If those students are not there, then how do we provide them services.

What schools currently have rooms that are not utilized during the day?

Reply: Your responses illustrate the point that I wanted you to see, that even if we have the money to hire teachers, we do not have the space for these students. By the way, you are correct that the ADM is, indeed, determined by the number enrolled on a specific date for the very reason that the actual enrollment varies constantly.

Your last paragraph does not answer the question of how much better would the students do if we did not hold back 8% over what others feel is sufficient to reserve so I'll ask another question to, hopefully, clarify what I'm asking. If you planted 100 bags of seed wheat, wouldn't you expect to reap 8% more than if you planted 92 bags? That we do well using 82% of what is available, with the same people doing the same things the same ways, wouldn't you be reasonable to expect even better results if they used 90% of what is available?

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Mon, Oct 4, 2010, at 11:04 PM

BigPappy appears to be more informed as to what is going at CCE than I so I'll defer on that situation to him. I knew that classrooms in the past were not being used for classes, but I was not aware that it was still the case or of the class size situation.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Mon, Oct 4, 2010, at 11:13 PM

Reply: Now, think of offering the same course as distance learning from our other high school with one teacher dedicated to a full period of interaction with the class. Would that not serve the student better? Perhaps we would have more students scoring higher and getting college credit if they received a full period of instruction instead of a half of a period.

Response- Distance learning could be done how in the scheduling process. How could the students at the school on distance learning ask a teacher a question later in the day about it? Is the half period you are referring to about the blended class. Again, the great thing about online classes is brought to light.

I am not certain where the origin of your definition of algorithm came from. I got mine from the dictionary. I thought is was a mathematical process term, but wanted to make certain.

Wasn't Mr. Russell simply on Military Leave while at Clay City?

Reply: Exactly the opposite, Mr. Russel was the Principal of CCE who was a member of the Indiana National Guard that deployed with his unit when it was called to duty.

Isn't that the same thing. Besides you have an earlier post that said Mr. Russell tendered his resignation.

Reply: Your responses illustrate the point that I wanted you to see, that even if we have the money to hire teachers, we do not have the space for these students. By the way, you are correct that the ADM is, indeed, determined by the number enrolled on a specific date for the very reason that the actual enrollment varies constantly.

Response- I have never said that the schools did not have the space for them. Not really certain where you came up with that one. The rooms are there to use, perhaps they are used for storage, student services, or other school related reasons.

Your last paragraph does not answer the question of how much better would the students do if we did not hold back 8% over what others feel is sufficient to reserve so I'll ask another question to, hopefully, clarify what I'm asking. If you planted 100 bags of seed wheat, wouldn't you expect to reap 8% more than if you planted 92 bags? That we do well using 82% of what is available, with the same people doing the same things the same ways, wouldn't you be reasonable to expect even better results if they used 90% of what is available?

100 bags of seed wheat (I'm with you so far), wouldn't I expect to the students to do better if we didn't hold back the 8% (so what you are saying is that the wheat will not provide a complete harvest), wouldn't I expect to reap 8% more if I planted 92 bags, (not sure where you're going), that we do well using 82% of what is available (didn't we just say 92%), wouldn't I be reasonable to expect even better results if I use 90% of what is available? Well, let see I had a 100 bags, I kept 8 bags back (8%), I should expect to reap 8% more on the 92 that I plant, I will do well using the 82% of what is available, I would be reasonable to expect results from the 90% of what seed is available. Somehow my friend, those seeds just don't add up for me.

-- Posted by Ron Archer on Mon, Oct 4, 2010, at 11:38 PM

Electriceye -- I'm going to break our conversation down into separate posts as it has gotten a bit unwieldy. And I'm going to beg, yes, beg, you to contact me directly instead of through the comment section as I feel we have a lot to discuss. If you still wish to conceal your identity from me, it is possible by setting up a different e-mail account through Yahoo, Hotmail, Google with a user-name of your choosing.

I'm going to address the military status of the former principal first.

Yes, he is deployed with the National Guard and been temporarily replaced with the interim principal, Mrs. Kenworthy.

However, the situation that BigPappy referred to, his tendering of his resignation, which he later rescinded, due to lack of corrective being taken regarding the class size situation at did occur and without reason as we had money to hire a teacher and space in the affected building for another section of kindergarten. Instead, Mr. Russel was told to "deal with it" with existing personnel at the building level, which he did to the best of his ability which incurred the wrath of the community on him. To me, that is a classic "passing of the buck" downward, a superior putting a subordinate in a no-win situation by taking no action when action was available.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Tue, Oct 5, 2010, at 10:41 AM

Electriceye --

Your Response- I have never said that the schools did not have the space for them. Not really certain where you came up with that one. The rooms are there to use, perhaps they are used for storage, student services, or other school related reasons.

 Nature abhors a vacuum and if there is an open space in a building it will soon be filled. Now, are the classrooms at CCE that are not being occupied by classes being used for purposes that we are going to have to find space for if we use them for classes or are they being used for something that is essentially just a placeholder?

 Given that there are classrooms available there, perhaps we do have the space available within the corporation to absorb the students who are not presently enrolled within the corporation's student body, but that would require redistricting which is another public "hot potatoe".

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Tue, Oct 5, 2010, at 10:57 AM

Electriceye --

Your Response- Distance learning could be done how in the scheduling process. How could the students at the school on distance learning ask a teacher a question later in the day about it? Is the half period you are referring to about the blended class. Again, the great thing about online classes is brought to light.

 You are correct, it is a scheduling problem that can be solved by scheduling the class that is in one building to take place at the same time in a computer lab as the one where the instructor is located in a classroom with Internet, video, and audio capability, the same way that I logged onto the Internet for portions of college courses with IVY Tech. To ask a question at other times, just as a student might stop by a classroom to ask a teacher a quick question during a passing period, there is e-mail.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Tue, Oct 5, 2010, at 11:11 AM

Electriceye --

Your Response- I am not certain where the origin of your definition of algorithm came from. I got mine from the dictionary. I thought is was a mathematical process term, but wanted to make certain.

It is a mathematical term, just as a computer is a computation device that breaks everything it does down to a mathematical process. Computers, at their most basic processing level, do nothing but mathematical processes. It is not impossible for a computer to grade an essay type answer, but it is impractical to do so given the limitations of today's computers and the variety of ways to answer a simple essay question. There are many ways to form an answer to an essay question of "Describe a standard 3 inch by 5 inch index card?" Just by measurement and off the top of my head, that can be answered in both the metric and American System in a variety of ways including inches, thousandths of an inch, millimeters, centimeters, etc. all of which would be absolutely correct. Add to that the permutations where the sequence of length, width, and thickness varies and the mathematics required for a computer to determine if everything needed to describe the card is present and accurate becomes very intricate.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Tue, Oct 5, 2010, at 11:58 AM

Electriceye -- Perhaps I confused you with the wheat illustration, you sure did me with your response.

I will try a different approach on the question. If we reduce our cash balance to 10%, which is what other corporations feel is safe and prudent, from our current level of 18% by investing in practices that have been proven to be educationally successful, such as putting more teachers in front of smaller classes so they have more one-on-one time per student, would it not be reasonable to expect higher educational achievement even though most of the students are meeting standards now?

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Tue, Oct 5, 2010, at 12:10 PM

Electriceye, I received information from Mr. Rayle confirming that essay type questions are part of the APEX AP courses and that they are graded by the teachers. Thank you for the information.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Tue, Oct 5, 2010, at 12:16 PM

Thank you for separating our conversation into sections. I think it makes things easier for the public to see conflicting views and develop their opinions.

# 1- Due to concerns about not involving the public in the important discussion of education. I will continue to utilize the comment section to discuss opinions on your and other's comments.

# 2- Pehaps the concept of redistricing is an idea that is a hot topic. Perhaps placing some of the kids that have emotional challenges can be placed at Clay City. This is a smaller environment and if they have rooms available, then perhaps they could have better success in a smaller environment.

# 3- Not sure what your point is here

# 4- Where did you get the numbers for what other corporations want to have? Who did you get the information from that we keep 18%?

# 5- I am glad that you were able to get confirmation from Mr. Rayle concerning APEX.

I would caution everyone that reads these postings to read it as it is, an opinion page. You might agree or disagree with the person's opinion, but it is just that, an opinion. However, people need to understand the validity of comments that are made by certain people. I guarantee that the information that I contribute is from my friends in the school system, in terms of how things operate and how decisions are made. Leo, I have great respect for your passion for education. I think that sometimes you cry wolf entirely too much and you have lost your credibility.

One final thought Leo, at our meeting last night, how many emails did you get when you stood up and gave your email address and asked for others?

-- Posted by Ron Archer on Tue, Oct 5, 2010, at 6:17 PM

Bigpappy,

Perhaps the enrollment of CCE is too small for the building. The exception of those students in 2nd grade now. It is my hope that this isn't another one of those the Northern part gets more. Those students who are behind grade levels should be getting pulled out for remediation. If the numbers on the website are correct, then isn't Jackson Township the biggest elementary.

-- Posted by electriceye on Mon, Oct 4, 2010, at 10:37 PM

Reply: I just looked at the 2010-2011 enrollment numbers posted on the Corporation website, and CCE is still listed as the elementary building with the largest total number of students enrolled. Even if you subtract the 6th grade from CCE (which is ridiculous since they attend class in the building) the figures still show CCE as being the largest. If I was a parent of a second grader there, I would be questioning why that grade level was merged from 3 first grade classes into 2 second grade classes, especially when the present first grade has fewer students. It is my understanding the second grade contains SEVERAL students with severe emotional needs. If the Corporation has the money, why not hire a teacher to divide that grade level into 3 classes? Another suggestion would be to combine the first grade into 2 sections instead of 3 and move one of the first grade teachers to second grade. I have no doubt the administrator has a reason for not separating the first grade teacher team, but that's a whole other story. The space has to be available to divide the present second grade into three sections as there was a time when all grades levels (1-6) had three sections, and each teacher had a room. Sadly, it's a sign of the times that class size becomes larger and larger, but that doesn't make the movement educationally sound. I understand if the money simply isn't there or if there are no classrooms for additional teachers, but such does not appear to be the case. Yes, it's "nice" the instructional assistants at CCE have rooms for their desks and computers, etc., but how many of the other elementary schools manage to get by without assistant offices? Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to belittle the importance of an instructional assistant, but if a class is large in number and money is available to hire an additional teacher, then CCE could do as other schools do and place the IA's in one of the teacher's rooms with whom they work. Pull out help could be done as is in other buildings as well....in the library, in the hallway, in the cafeteria, etc. Then again, remediation could be done in groups within the classroom itself. It would be great if there was a magic wand which could be used to solve all the educational problems in our county, but seriously, that happens only in fairy tales.

-- Posted by Bigpappy on Tue, Oct 5, 2010, at 7:28 PM

I think it is great that the CCSC powers that be have decided to put together this "cost savings committee". I must add that another committee that will do very little for the true purpose of CCSC, which is the education of students is a waste of these 60+ peoples time.

re: Clay City elementary. The parents at CCE who have children in that 2nd grade class worked with Mr. Russell to see what could be done to get a smaller class size for these kids. It is verified information (w/o putting together another committee) that smaller class sizes produce better education for the students. Mr. Russell tried to get the administration to look at measures to provide for the students, and was vehemently turned down. He did what he was able to do with his in-house resources, and urged the parents to become involved and seek information from the administrators. That is exactly what the parents did. All the while the children were in a cramped classroom, with little resources, behavior problem children were monopolizing the teachers time and energy, and they were at their most impressionable age, this environment was setting the tone for their entire school career.

By the way, we have a lovely building....empty classrooms, but a lovely building. Maybe we can knock out the walls and make bigger classrooms so that the students aren't literally on top of one another....spreading the flu, etc.

When the parents went to the Superintendent they were given false statements, empty promises and the run around. When they went to the school board they were given about the same and then labeled trouble makers, as were their children. This sent a very, very strong message to the parents of CCSC.

Then Mr. Russell was targeted (because parents were making waves) and all he was given was an IA for the students. The parents were elated to be given that much! They were grateful, thankful and although it was still far from the ideal situation, they made it work.

It must be prefaced that these students are very needy...this is not your normal class of 30 students. They are sweet children who deserve a quality education, however they are very needy, very low, and have more than their fair share of troubled students. It is just the way it is, no one can predict year to year the caliber of a class.

So, first grade they were given 3 sections (only after the kindergarten year was proven to be less than a positive one in regards to test scores, etc). It was nice to have a class in the low 20's with this group....boy 15 or 16 would be ideal, but they could work with 24 or 25.

We are given a new principal, who is not exactly in tune to the needs of the students or staff at any level, and she has some sort of "loyalty" to these first grade teachers. Most of the staff do not have a very workable relationship with her. It is apparent when we are losing veteran teachers due to poor leadership. Three sections of 1st grade, although wonderful, is not where the need is at this point.

So, first grade this year at CCE has less than 20 in each of the three sections. These students are less needy, have better behavior and the kindergarten teachers would admit that there is a night and day difference in that class and the now 2nd graders.

2nd grade is in 2 sections of 29 and 30. They are not thriving. There are days when students are physical with other students, the entire class is being punished for the actions of the others and our students are suffering.

An IA has been hired who is supoosed to be alleviating some of the needs so that the teachers can teach, however is not in these rooms full time. Not even a fraction of the day....it is more smoke and mirrors. Yes, an IA has been hired......but not for the intended purpose. I know that benefits are a huge cost, but rather than hire an IA to NOT DO the job of working solely with these kids, hire two full time / all day with 2nd grade ONLY or just hire another teacher.

The parents, patrons and staff of CCE have nowhere to turn. The administration is not going to do what is right. If there is money there now, please use it for the benefit of these kids. Next year it isn't going to be any better. These kids are suffering, and the teachers can't do the job they need or want to do with this group.

Parents were told to wait patiently for the first grading period, first round of tests. What will the School Board do? Were these kids successful?

No where to turn! If you have thoughts please share!!!

-- Posted by __2--- on Tue, Oct 5, 2010, at 7:58 PM

Bigpappy,

Thank you for the correction that CCE is the bigger elementary. Please take into account though, that JTE without the 6th graders would be significantly higher.

-- Posted by Ron Archer on Tue, Oct 5, 2010, at 8:37 PM

I'm sorry, electriceye, I guess I'm missing something. If CCE has 368 (which includes the 51 sixth graders), and JTE has 302 (without sixth grade) and one subtracts the 51 from the 368....that leaves 317 according to my calculations. So, isn't 317 greater than 302?? What am I missing here?

-- Posted by Bigpappy on Tue, Oct 5, 2010, at 8:47 PM

Bigpappy,

We have no way of saying how many 6th graders JTE would be there. I do not have access to the complete numbers per class. Being a staff member at CCE, you obviously do. If that is the case, then good for CCE.

-- Posted by Ron Archer on Tue, Oct 5, 2010, at 8:52 PM

electriceye....just because I can read the CCSC's posted enrollment chart that can be found on the website does in no way mean I am a staff member at CCE. I was merely responding to your statement that JTE was larger than Clay City Elementary. In fact, I was trying to find out where I miscalculated when figuring enrollment. Nonetheless, it is important to remember the southern end of the county when commenting about how great things are concerning the education of our most important resource...the children. Your quote: "From where I sit and what I see, CCSC is doing everything to put out the best product (everyone must see education as a product) possible." My intention was to point out that it makes no sense to have excess money when crowded classrooms exist. The second grade at CCE is not the only large classroom there. Last time I looked at enrollment figures, the fifth grade classes (63) and third (57) are also large. Your Quote: "Perhaps the enrollment of CCE is too small for the building. The exception of those students in 2nd grade now." 63 fifth graders in two sections is pretty ridiculous in my humble opinion. In closing....your quote: "Being a staff member at CCE, you obviously do. If that is the case, then good for CCE." makes zero sense to me, not that it matters. I stand firm in my belief that smaller class size in the elementary grades makes better sense for all involved, especially if empty classrooms are present.

-- Posted by Bigpappy on Tue, Oct 5, 2010, at 10:47 PM

Electriceye-

# 1- Due to concerns about not involving the public in the important discussion of education. I will continue to utilize the comment section to discuss opinions on your and other's comments.

Okay, I just thought we might have a more in depth discussion. While you seem to think that you can learn nothing from me, I'm sure I could learn something from you. I learned a long time ago never to ignore what another person has to say even if you have no use for it at that particular time.

# 2- Perhaps the concept of redistricting is an idea that is a hot topic. Perhaps placing some of the kids that have emotional challenges can be placed at Clay City. This is a smaller environment and if they have rooms available, then perhaps they could have better success in a smaller environment.

How is the elementary school with the highest ADM a smaller environment? That doesn't make sense.

# 4- Where did you get the numbers for what other corporations want to have? Who did you get the information from that we keep 18%?

From the budget meetings of 2008 and 2010, where Mike Fowler stated that we do, and that many corporations hold less. Also, "Dr. Schroeder stated that this corporation is in a lot better shape financially than many school corporations in the area. He does not believe the

corporation needs to cut personnel for the 2010-2011 school year because the

corporation has been prudent and frugal and has attained a structural surplus

and a healthy cash balance. A healthy cash balance is deemed to be 10%, as

established by the 2007 Goals, Strategies & Activities document. The

corporation currently has over a 10% cash balance in the General Fund." from http://www.clay.k12.in.us/downloads/boar..., the minutes of the School Board Meeting of 01-14-2010. If you were in attendance at the Cost-Cutting Committee, you should have it in your notes as Dr. Schroeder and Mike Fowler both used the figure of 18% in reference to cash balance, Dr. Schroeder twice and Mike Fowler once. Dr. Schroeder stated that other corporations hold 10%, before he went into explaining what the state does that Mike had prepared a slide in his slide show to explain. Ever since 2007, these are the figures that have been repeatedly quoted by administrators of this corporation. The facts and figures are all in the databases of the Indiana, but I see no need to check for accuracy as the administrators have told us over and over again that they are holding more in a cash balance and out of education than most school corporations.

I firmly agree with your observation that everyone should read this as an opinion page. They should also take the time and make the effort to check the facts for themselves before forming their opinion. As to my "crying wolf" and, perhaps, losing my credibility, kindly remember that people also thought that Columbus was going to sail off the edge of the world, Galileo was tried for heresy because he said that the Earth was not the center of the universe, and it was widely believed at one time that if a human being went faster than twenty-five miles an hour they would die. At one point in my life, I was called all sort of foul names, the only one that I can think of that I feel is fit to mention being "Maggot", and from it I learned that what anyone says about me is of little consequence as long as I know it is not true.

It is funny that you should mention people not coming up to me at the meeting to give me their e-mail addresses. I've been answering e-mails all day from seven new friends. As five of them are school corporation employees and the other two have concealed their identity, you figure out why they might not have wanted to approach me last night. If I had not received the e-mails prior to posting my first comment today, I might suspect that you were one of them. On second thought, how could I be sure that you are not?

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Tue, Oct 5, 2010, at 11:05 PM

Bigpappy & Electriceye

While there will be some variance due to transfers, the 08-09 4th Grade Class at JTE totaled 58, which is the latest year's data available from the Indiana DOE database. Adding that, which would be 6th Grade now, back into JTE's enrollment you get 360 to CCE's 368. I don't think that a difference of eight students would make me think that one or the other stood out as "bigger", but as JTE doesn't have these students I have to call CCE the largest.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Tue, Oct 5, 2010, at 11:29 PM

Holy Wall of Text Batman!!! Leo, I normally like reading your posts, but I have a new word for you. "Consolidation"

-- Posted by Oldtown on Wed, Oct 6, 2010, at 11:04 AM

Sorry, Oldtown, I try to keep it down to saying what gets my point across.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Wed, Oct 6, 2010, at 2:42 PM


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