| || || |
Germantown’s share of ADA money is predicted to be smaller, because while our enrollment numbers are flat, Collierville’s are up.
The OPEB committee met and is requesting more numbers from the actuary. It looks as if we may be in a position to save money in this area.
The employee paid portion for health insurance premiums will not increase next year. The Health Insurance account is very healthy. If trends continue, the district will likely take the excess funds in the account and use them to give teachers a free paid period around Christmastime.
There are some new positions being added for next year. Since the district will be rolling off of its shared services contract with the other municipal districts, we will be adding employees to cover those services for the district (purchasing, technology). The district also plans to hire a Chinese teacher for the High School, four new teaching assistants (one for each school), and one RTI Coach for Houston High School. Mark Dely suggested that the district explore the use of high school students as tech support. He noted that Maryville does this with success.
Next year every 8th and 9th grader will have a laptop. The district plans to purchase 800 new computers for the middle and high schools, and there will be two new laptop carts for each elementary school.
Mr. Dely noted that the high school had requested an additional English teacher, which was not in the draft budget. Teresa Price noted that there is money in the budget, so they could add another teacher if needed. Kevin Jones also indicated that it is possible that the district may only need 27 SPED teachers instead of the 28 currently in the budget. Linda Fisher suggested to the board that the district wait to see what enrollment numbers look like before making a hire. Mr. Dely indicated that some of the English classes are crowded, and he would like to see smaller class sizes. At this point (at about minute 47-48 in the video linked above), Natalie Williams asserted that she had a different opinion on class size. She contends that “once you hit 3rd grade and beyond, the size of the class does not impact classroom performance, and that is shown in research study after research study.” She specifically referenced the Tennessee STAR experiment and indicated that she did not feel class sizes should be reduced district-wide. You can read about the STAR experiment here. Both Mr. Dely and Mr. Hoover indicated that they would like to have a discussion about optimal class sizes, and Ms. Fisher suggested that it could be discussed at a future meeting.
Nutrition Services are still running a deficit with the switch to Aramark, but things are improving. A small profit is expected next year, and our contract requires them to pay a refund if they do not hit performance marks.
There was a discussion on the stipends that teachers will receive in lieu of a cost of living increase. Dan Haddow and Teresa Price also indicated that they would like to see the future implementation of having an “Early Out” day every other Wednesday, where schools would dismiss early and teachers could have more time for planning and learning.
The board meets again tonight, April 18th at 5:00 for a work session and at 6:30 for a business meeting.