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Author Topic: Franklin West Supervisory Union News  (Read 3147 times)
Chris Santee
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« on: June 03, 2010, 09:35:57 AM »

Superintendent Search
The Franklin West Supervisory Union Board is in the process of hiring a superintendent due to the retirement of the current superintendent, Bruce Chattman.
The position was advertised and the board received ten applications.  From among the applications, it was determined that there were two individuals who the Board believed could be a good match for FWSU and interviews were to be scheduled for the week of May 24-28.  One of the candidates has since accepted another position and the Board determined to proceed with the interview of the remaining candidate.  Should the Board determine not to offer the position to the finalist, the position will continue to be advertised and the process will continue until a new superintendent is hired. 

FWSU Relocation
At the expiration of their lease at Fairfax Commons this June, the offices of the Franklin West Supervisory will be relocated to 4497 Higbridge Road (corner of Route 7 and 104A).  The move will bring all the central office support personnel together in one location, resulting in improved operational efficiency, communication and meeting space for professional development activities.
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Take Care & God Bless,
             chris
csantee@myfairpoint.net
(802) 849-2758
(802) 782-0406 cell
www.TheFairfaxNews.com
Chris Santee
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« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2010, 09:40:55 AM »

Superintendent News
by Bruce Chattman
I want to express my appreciation to the Franklin West Supervisory Union School Board, the Fairfax School Board, the Fletcher School Board, and the Georgia School Board for the opportunity provided for me to serve the students and communities within FWSU.

As most people are aware, FWSU became in unexpected need of an interim Superintendent when Armando Vilaseca was appointed selected to become the Vermont Commissioner of Education in January 2009.  The timing of Mr. Vilaseca’s departure presented a challenge as the district had recently committed to and commenced important work to align curriculum, establish common essential student learning expectations, and improve instruction through the inclusion of technology resources and related professional development within the three town school districts – all necessary to better address the educational outcomes for students.  Concurrently, the Legislature was just beginning to confront the significant fiscal challenges imposed by the recession and discussions about reducing school costs, consolidation of school governance, and related property tax implications of any resulting legislative actions increased anxiety and contributed to an atmosphere of uncertainty.  These various challenges and my interest in serving as interim superintendent resulted in a mutually acceptable arrangement for the past 18 months.  As I now return to retirement, I write to share my perspective of the current state of educational for the Franklin West Supervisory Union and the member town school districts.

Efforts to improve educational results for students through the educational initiatives mentioned above and corresponding professional development with declining resources, improved efficiencies and minimized budgetary increases has been the shared and successful priority of the town school boards and administrators in FWSU.  The citizens of the communities of Fairfax, Fletcher, and Georgia should know that the schools in these communities are doing well when judged by various standards.  Student results on the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) reflect continuous progress and these results compare well against other schools in Vermont, New England, and the Nation.   Students are provided with learning opportunities in core academics, arts, music, world languages, and the whole child is embraced through enrichment, co-curricular and extracurricular experiences.  Parents work enthusiastically as partners with the schools and their involvement is crucial to the success of all students.  Community support remains high.  Administrators, teachers, and support staff are competent, committed and dedicated.  Teacher leadership is valued and supported.  Professional development is designed around student data and aligned within FWSU to share and maximize resources among all schools.  Technology integration to enhance learning opportunities is increasing as teachers acquire the hardware, software, and training necessary for effective use of these resources.  All the pieces required to insure continuous improvement are in place.  The challenge for the schools in FWSU, as with all schools in Vermont, is to continue this focus and continual progress with declining resources. 

As the school boards develop their budgets for FY2012, they will be expected to meet increased expectations/outcomes for students with declining revenue.  The “Challenges for Change” mandate from the Legislature will require school boards to develop FY2012 budgets at a prescriptive level below that of the current budget with the target being $29.2 million less total funds state-wide.  The supervisory union share of this total amount will be determined by the Commissioner based upon a variety of criteria.  His reduction is prior to any consideration by school boards of increased costs related to inflation or changing economic conditions.  In addition, the State of Vermont is presently providing FWSU with $714,973 in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act rather than from the State’s General Fund.  This was action taken by the Legislature in FY2010 and FY2011 in order to balance the state budget. It is anticipated that these federal funds will not be available in FY2012.  The obvious result is either 1) a reduction in state support for education from the General Fund, or 2) a transfer of funding responsibility to the Education Fund (either at the state or local level), or 3) a reduction of these funds from local school operating budgets, or

4) a combination of some/all of the above.   

What this will mean is that school administrators and school boards, with the collaboration and cooperation of the faculty and staff must find efficiencies and economies within existing school operations.  Concurrent with this effort to reduce costs, School Boards must also prioritize its values and beliefs as they relate to student programs and educational opportunities.  As resources decline, competing needs for the remaining resources will be intensified and pre-established priorities will greatly assist the Boards in the process necessary to make very difficult decisions.

The Franklin West Supervisory Union Board has already begun this work by establishing a process to review job descriptions and to determine the necessary level of administrative staffing needed to effectively manage the district with the goal of having this review concluded prior to developing the FY2012 budget.  In addition, the FWSU Board is engaged in a process to “review, study and consider the new legislative incentives for consolidation and to ultimately report findings to the local school boards for the communities of Fairfax, Fletcher and Georgia.” 

Town School Boards should commence a similar review to determine the necessary level of management and administrative support necessary for effective management of the local schools.  The work involved in reaching theses decisions will be difficult but such efforts conducted now will allow the Boards to move from the periphery of budget decisions focused on administrative costs into the areas where the majority of costs exist through the application of the priorities and beliefs to existing budgets. 

A review of the FY2011 budget information presented at Town Meeting indicates that the vast majority of costs in the school budgets are expended (appropriately) on direct instruction and instructional support for students.  There will be difficult financial decisions necessary in the future but as long as the school boards and administrators maintain their focus on having students as the beneficiaries of any decisions, positive results will occur.  Now, more than ever, participation by the public is critical to insure that boards are informed of community values and priorities.  Please take the time to become involved and to let your elected board representatives know of your ideas, thoughts, and concerns.

Respectfully,

Bruce C. Chattman
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Take Care & God Bless,
             chris
csantee@myfairpoint.net
(802) 849-2758
(802) 782-0406 cell
www.TheFairfaxNews.com
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