Leadership Team Meeting Minutes – March 13, 2012


Leadership Team/Department Heads Meeting





A note from Principal Blacksher:


The minutes below reflect our leadership team’s grappling with extraordinary budgetary challenges. All of us – administrators and education staff – are acting with transparency and collaboration. At times, conversations can become difficult. Difficult conversations are sometimes necessary and sometimes useful. However, reported only through meeting minutes, misinterpretations and misrepresentations can occur. I urge you to read carefully, react with patience and understanding, and ask for clarification of anything reported in our minutes. We are all in this together. 




Marcus called the meeting to order at 11:20am.


Nancy reminded the group to turn in spreadsheets by Thursday on where the students chose to go to classes.

–David said he has a separate spreadsheet for each teacher.  Can he put each teacher on a separate sheet?  Nancy said take more time and put them all on one sheet.


Leadership Team


I.          Budget

–Marcus distributed a new budget sheet.  They took supplies away and put in another FTE.  The actual costs are not on the sheet.  The average teacher salary went down and it reflected on this sheet.  We can add back a librarian, no change, the paras, TSA,  and they took out the counselor.

–Avid is cut from 8-5 sections, ELD cut of 1, English cut  2 with one going back in, so a cut of 1, PE, cut of 2, VAPA,

World Language cut .6.  ROTC stays at a .5.

–Patrick asked how the Army will do with 1 ROTC instructor.  Marcus said unless the SSC thinks otherwise, we will do this and probably go back on probation with only 1 instructor.

–Patrick asked if this a proposal or talking points.  Marcus said these are talking points.  The budget is due March 23rd.


A.         English

–Michele mentioned the 24% of seniors ready for college.  She mentioned the API scores—37% comes from English.  She asked why we would cut this important department.

–Marcus said one of our focuses is on literacy and restoring the librarian meets this.

–Michelle mentioned the larger class sizes will have an impact on learning and the scores.

–Patrick said we have many more electives than other high schools.  He discussed the scores.  He mentioned the size of the Math department and the fact that the lower level class sizes are kept small.


–Katie said Science has an average class size that is higher than both English and Math.

–Many of the elective Math classes bring us money with the AP classes.

–Michelle said Science has larger class sizes as students are allowed to double up and this affects the statistics.


Marti said pre-calculus is being offered throughout the district.  Doubling up is not allowed in Math classes for next year. This affects about 40 students. Marti said there are students that need a 4th year Math class.

–David said many of our kids are college bound and it is more challenging today to get into college.  Many students come here for what we have to offer to make a difference in special courses we offer.

–Patrick asked if we could handle the number of students who need Health?  We offer it in 9th now, but some 10th and 11th, next year 11th and 12th will need to take it.  The 12th graders will have to take it on cyber high.

–Patrick asked about clerical staffing.  He asked this of Katie.  She said that given Lauren’s remarks at the last meeting this was not considered.  Cutting an hour per clerical position would be a larger reduction than 6.5%.

–Patrick asked if we could continue to look at this in a dollar amount and then decide how much to reduce clerical and IT support personnel.

–Patrick asked about discretionary funds and Marcus said they are still discretionary.  Patrick said at other schools these booster funds from parents are  put into supplies.


–Michelle said she is not comfortable with the Librarian being part of English. Marcus said literacy is one of our priorities.  Literacy should be taught through all the content areas.  The Librarian will work with all departments.

–Kathleen asked if all the teachers from Newcomer have been placed. Marcus was not sure.


–Joseph felt that classroom teachers put in more hours than the counselors.  He said that teachers work on the weekends.  Counselors justified Bounmy for helping them with all the various tasks.  Perhaps the counselors should stay after school to do this work and come in on the weekends.


–Lauren said counselors do not take a prep, they work on the weekends.  Lauren said she stays until 4, 4:30 or 5 and she takes work home for letters of recommendations.


–Stan said the district’s idea about this budget is divisive for the school.  Why can’t we tell the district we won’t accept this and ask them to use their reserve? He said we would tell the district it is unreasonable to take a 7.5% cut when the district has a big pool of money.

–Marcus said he must turn in a budget by March 23rd.


–Patrick said that we need to have our strength of community.  He feels the rainy day fund will be released.  We should cut to the bone on supplies—0 like GWHS has done for the last several years.  The budget will come back to us.

–Patrick said he supports what Bounmy does but we are fat on secretarial staff.  Lincoln has the same amount of clerical as we do.  Washington has the same amount of clerical as Galileo and they have more students.  Patrick would like to see the cuts across the board.


Ethan said PE has 137 students who did not pass the Physical Fitness Exam and they must take PE all 4 years.  We are the only school in the district that gives PE credit for athletics—this is to make sure class sizes are lower.  Now the PE department will not sign off on this. He mentioned ROTC and now it is an elective class while PE is Core curriculum.  Only PE credits can be given for ROTC if the instructor has a PE credential.  He sees class sizes of 55 with only 4 PE teachers.

He also mentioned 9th and 10th grade curriculum for PE.  Will the 9th and 10th grade classes be combined?


–Marcus said if his figures were right, we might have to add 2 more PE teachers to make sure all students are covered.

–Patrick said we should leave it like it is and then we are OK in the fall.  Ethan is worried that teachers we want would be consolidated and would go elsewhere and not want to come back if more money comes our way.


–Michelle wanted to know about electives in English.  She also asked if they could forgo the electives to reduce class sizes.


–Kathleen is worried about losing competent teachers and picking up teachers who do not speak English well.


Ethan said the administration has done an outstanding job of hiring new teachers that are a good fit for the culture and climate of the school.  He mentioned the test scores, and he also mentioned the Superintendent’s Zone.  We have raised our API scores.  Why are we not being protected?  He felt we should be projected and this should be put to the Central Office.


Karin asked what would happen if we submit a budget that is not balanced.  We have never done it.  Marcus said we have to turning a balanced budget and we cannot protect anyone. We can have a priority list if we get more funds.


–Denise talked about a similar situation that happened last year, although not with as many cuts. We want to teach and to teach well.  Marcus said the administrators do advocate as well.


–Lauren said with AVID they take from the academic middle—2.5-3.3 students.  AVID ups the AP funds with their students.  AA, AI and Pacific Islander are higher percentage in AVID then the general population.


Joseph wanted to know about the cuts—are these based on seniority?  He said VPA has a 1-year requirement.  PE has a 2-year requirement.  How can we meet the requirements with the same number of sections?

–Michelle said if we cut AVID, we should be looking for professional development for English teachers to include those methodologies in their English classes.


Next steps:  UBC meeting after school today, SSC meeting tomorrow.  Marcus is not sure what to do with the PE situation.


–Patrick asked for another version of the “Talking Points” with a change in PE by the end of the day.  The administration said,” Yes.”


–Jessica suggested taking names off comments from the minutes.

–Patrick suggested a header from Marcus at the top of the minutes saying these are challenging times.


Meeting adjourned at 12:15pm.