Sunday, August 10, 2008

If your school district has a $13.4 million shortfall...

If your school district has a $13.4 million shortfall...What would you do if you were in charge for a day?

Recommendations have been made to the school board to add a virtual suggestion box to the home page. Graduations were piped through the net, why not let the property tax payers, working parents, current and former students, teachers, and community partners make suggestions through the net? After all, this is the second time in one year that the RCBoEd has decided to raise taxes.

So why doesn't a school district that is raising taxes again, incorporate Google Apps for Education? Bring in Moodle for Blackboard? Incorporate Google Docs, Presentations, and Spreadsheets, Star Office, or OpenOffice for proprietary software? Use Google Earth to teach subjects where collaboration can enhance the learning event for everyone involved? Use Google's SketchUp to supplement learning in Engineering, Construction, Interior Design, or anything 3D ? Encourage the use of wikis? Get involved with global initiatives like the Flat Classroom and Horizon Projects?

The school administration noted that summer school is not profitable, yet failed to add those "fun to learn" courses, such as chess, double dutch jump rope, basic keyboarding, creating ePortfolios, Internet safety, basic web design and bring in volunteers from the community or education majors looking to facilitate a class to add to their "real world" teaching experiences. Why not have fun while learning something new and sharing knowledge?

The community can be encouraged to support schools by participating in Target's Take Charge of Education, UPromise Schools Program, Coke Rewards for Schools, Donor's Choose, Campbell's Labels for Education, Office Depot's "5% Back to Schools" Program, join the local PTAs, PTSAs, booster clubs, and other local philanthropic opportunities.

GA Department of Audits and Accounts posts the salary and travel pay for everyone in the school district, for any district in GA based on June, the closeout month of the school year. Each January of a new year, Internet surfers can visit the site and see the released reports of salary and travel by name of every employee paid, before taxes. The link is referenced in the end of this post.

So now, RCSS hires America's Choice. A company that came in and conducted "training" for principals. So, "Did learning take place? and "Are the principals implementing a knowledge sharing plan?"

For a school district who's mission statement reads, "The Mission of the Richmond County School System is to educate students to become lifelong learners and productive citizens" is oxymoronic when the graduation rate is 62% and 1500 students failed the CRCT. The primary reason that the graduation rate is 62% is due to two magnet schools which graduated 100% of their students. This information is available through the GA Dept of Education website.

All comments, recommendations, suggestions are welcome. If you were in charge for the day what would you do if you were in charge and inherited the school district with the $13.4 million budget shortfall?

Links referenced in this blog:

Google Apps for Education
Google Earth
Google SketchUp
Google Pack which contains Star Office
America's Choice
Georgia Dept of Audits and Accounts
Richmond County School System (About Us)
GA Dept of Education
Flat Classroom
Horizon Project
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