Thursday, April 21, 2011

Round Rock ISD's Curious Priorities

"Curiouser and curiouser..."

Last week the Round Rock Independent School District posted budget recommendations listed in order of priority.   Some parents have expressed concern over the listed priorities and have contacted elected school board members.  Unfortunately, it seems that most of RRISD Board members were caught off guard by the queries since they only became aware of the list when contacted by concerned parents, and apparently had no input in setting the priorities.

Some of the priorities for reinstatement are rather curious.  Reinstatement of hall monitors at various levels are ranked #6 and #17, and of cafeteria monitors at #23, but Dyslexia Teachers are #36 and Talented and Gifted (TAG) Teachers are #47.  Both sets of teachers rank below stipends for PE Coaches, but at least they rank higher than the Superintendent's Leadership Retreat.    Parents of TAG students are noting the district will now barely service these mandated programs, while funding other areas far beyond mandated guidelines.  Alternative programs are mandated for at least four hours each day, but RRISD will fund nearly 12 hours of such programs.   The concerned parents were unsure if there were cuts to the on-site day care provided at the High Schools or the special school for students who are failing. 

I do not know how the decision-making process works at Round Rock ISD, but it does seem odd that our elected board members were not a part of setting the priorities.   From my vantage point, it seems the voters hired (via the electoral process) board members to govern the school district.  That Board then hires an administrator to run the district.  Certainly the board cannot micro-manage day-to-day operations, but something as significant as setting spending priorities should have had board involvement.

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