The Frankfort-Schuyler Central School District’s new state-mandated Annual Professional Performance Review will have an impact on the school budget and on school principals’ schedules. Both aspects were discussed during last Tuesday’s meeting of the school district board of education.
Superintendent Robert Reina recommended the addition of a district data coordinator to manage data from tests and the APPR plan and submit it to the New York State Education Department. This would be a teacher assistant position.
“The data gets tied into our state funding,” he said. “It has to be submitted in a timely manner. We’ve been getting by with a teacher’s aide doing the work part time, but from last year to this year the amount of data has grown enormously.”
Reina said the district would need to have one person dedicated to handling the data. “There’s too much at stake for the school district not to have someone.”
“Another unfunded mandate,” asked board Vice President Michael Button. He then asked if there would be a way to share the position with another district.
Reina said he has not heard a lot of interest in sharing a position at this point. “I think the districts all want to get their hands around it and make sure it’s set up right,” he said, adding once the districts are more familiar with what is involved there may be the possibility of sharing a position. He agreed the position does amount to an unfunded mandate. “The districts are responsible for this data,” he said.
Button asked why a teacher assistant should be hired for this position. Reina replied the person hired must be someone familiar with the educational process.
“This is money that could be used for kids instead of something ridiculous for the state,” said Button.
Board President Lisa LoRe asked if the state ever looks for feedback on any of its requirements.
Reina said there is an online survey once in awhile, but it usually addresses a specific issue and is not open ended.
He said he worked up a rough idea of how much time will be involved for the principals who must meet with and observe each teacher and complete the required assessment report. If the average amount of time for evaluating each teacher is two hours, including discussions, classroom observations, documentation and a post-observation meeting, he said, it would take the principal at the elementary school alone at least 120 hours.
“That’s like 17 days of doing nothing but evaluations,” Reina said, adding school is in session about 19 days each month. He estimated the time would amount to about 11 days for Middle School Principal Julie Tangorra and 14 days for High School Principal John Bubb in a school year that totals 185 days.
Page 2 of 2 - Reina said other schools are dealing with the same issues and there has been talk about the possibility of schools having to hire another administrator to cover the day-to-day functions of the schools while the principals are evaluating teachers, although he has not heard of any districts actually doing this.
Elementary School Principal Joyce Dayton said the superintendent’s time estimates are probably low. She anticipates the write-ups themselves will take two hours to complete, at least initially.
“Part of the folly of this whole thing is that I’ve been in this business 27 years and I can’t even evaluate teachers now,” said Reina. He would have to go through 10 modules of training to be able to conduct evaluations. He said while there is “a lot of good behind the idea,” the implementation is the problem.
“Nobody seems to pilot anything anymore,” said LoRe, referring to a process in which a new idea is tested on a smaller scale before being used on a wider scale.
Reina also presented projected figures for the proposed budgets for athletics and BOCES.
He said the budget for athletics, which includes the same sports programs as the current school year, shows an increase of three percent or $4,368 for a total of $149,957.
The BOCES budget includes several sections. Reina expects the special education services budget will be up eight percent or $95,000 from the current year. He said the cost could range from $29,000 to $35,000 for a single child depending on needs and the related services required.
The Career Technology education budget is expected to drop by about five percent and administrative costs are expected to rise less than two percent.
The Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES budget shows a total increase of eight percent, a good portion of which is for special education.