On a positive note, in State School Superintendent Barge’s address to COMO on Friday, he noted that he considers media specialists’ contributions to student achievement equal to that of classroom teachers and recognized that we interact with more students each day than most classroom teachers. When the Finance Study Commission work moves to its next phase, we may want to remember these statements – and remind others!
State Education Finance Study Commission Update
The first deadline for the State Education Finance Study Commission, established by House Bill 192, was September 30, 2011. The letter sent from the co-chairs, Sen. Fran Millar and Rep. Brooks Coleman, to Gov. Deal regarding the interim recommendations of the commission is at http://tinyurl.com/GovDeal930. An executive summary of the interim recommendations, which address school nurses, professional learning, capital outlay and the 65% rule, is at http://tinyurl.com/IntRec93011. For an example of how budget and Capitol staff are approaching analysis of these issues, you might want to read the white paper on professional learning at http://tinyurl.com/ProfDev2011.
Also relevant to media centers is a presentation on Textbooks and Technology delivered to the commission in late August.( http://tinyurl.com/TextTech) Finally, Joe Martin, long-time education advocate and recent state school superintendent candidate, has created a document overviewing his suggestions for funding formula framework changes. (http://tinyurl.com/FundFormula) These are not highly specific, but do leave media staffing at current funding. It also alludes to flexibility rather than expenditure controls, which might not bode well for return of media materials direct funding. (See pages 10, 16, and 30 for most critical media-related information. Page 8 also includes an interesting statement: “A teaching position could be filled through various forms of technology along with new combinations of employees.”)
All information on the Commission membership, activities, presentations and papers may be accessed through the Georgia DOE website at http://tinyurl.com/EdFinComm192
What can you do? Please keep your stories coming about how funding changes are impacting your ability to meet student needs. If someone on the commission lives in or represents your district, please contact them directly as your situation affects their own family and neighbors. (The list of commission members is on the website.) Stay tuned and please respond when we need your advocacy support or more information.
Thanks for all you do for our students! Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org.