What started out as a typical meeting of 5 CBOC members quickly swelled to a very crowded 16 person meeting. In the year and a half I’ve served on CBOC, this was the first time we’ve had more than 6 people in the room for a meeting, the first time we’ve had more than one teacher (3 this time!), parents, several retired persons who have grown children that went through the district and want to help make things better, two professors, and a parent who has children in the Charter system and an aunt who wants to see CSD get better because her niece is in the district. All crammed into a room that was too small with a 52 page financial report and dozens of questions.
We had questions about what our taxes do for the district, how charters get funded, how much we’re spending (or not spending, as is the case) on purchasing new supplies for common core curricula, State of Delaware negotiated pizza contracts, how teachers are simply overwhelmed by the amount of testing and data entry they are required to do and how the district “suddenly” developed a $9 million budget shortfall (Hint: it wasn’t sudden) and exactly what our property taxes fund and do not fund.
Most importantly, we talked about buckets of money. Yes, I said buckets. When you have a 52 page financial report in front of you with hundreds of line items under dozens of categories, the best way to make sense of it is to imagine that each bucket has a category label on it. And the monies that go into each bucket can only be taken out and spent on whatever the label on the bucket says. That’s how it works in public school financial operations. I can explain it way more in depth, but you should really come out to our April Citizen’s Budget Oversight Committee meeting to learn more!
The bottom line is, we have interest now. 320% more interest if my memory is serving me up the correct number of guests we had last Wednesday.
There’s a steep uphill climb that we are about to embark on. The climb begins this Thursday at 6:00pm when the referendum steering committee has its first meeting. Word is, I have an “in” with one of the co-chairs of the committee. Looking forward to getting to work!