SISD takes proactive measures

February 5, 2011

Southeast Elementary School

Education is 44% of the state budget. With the projected deficits in the State of Texas current budget, school leaders across the state are busy brainstorming on how education can survive the inevitable cuts. Sweetwater ISD could suffer as much as a million dollar shortfall for at least the next two years.
Under the leadership of SISD Superintendent Mr. Terry Pittman, Sweetwater has been preparing for a couple of years by combining jobs and job responsibilities. To date, 14 professional and 5.5 paraprofessional positions have been absorbed through attrition. The fruits of these labors have enabled the district to provide increases in salaries to attract and retain highly qualified personnel.
Another recent proactive step was the decision to move the HOBBS alternative school setting next school year to a more economical set up. Students will be transported to the Wallace School in Colorado City. By joining this new co-op, a projected savings of over $130,000 will be gained annually.
Many districts are forced to make a choice to either reduce staff, cut pay or eliminate programs. SISD has chosen to be proactive and make changes that do not involve any of these avenues. Another factor in this budget situation includes the high probability that school districts will not be notified of final budget numbers until summer.
For academic benefits the idea that has been proposed, discussed and studied for many years is actually a part of the answer for the financial crunch the district is facing. That idea is the reconfiguration of the two elementary campuses. Changing Southeast Elementary and East Ridge Elementary to grade level campuses would create an estimate savings of $330,000 every year. Currently the two elementary campuses serve students from Kindergarten through third grade. This paradigm shift will establish Kindergarten and first grade at Southeast Elementary and second and third grade at East Ridge Elementary beginning the 2011-2012 school year.
Grade level campuses solve age old problems of students moving back and forth during the year and suffering academically. Class size adjustments are simplified and avoid the unbalanced numbers between campuses. This set up lends itself to a much better educational situation for each grade level with all being together and drawing off each other’s strengths. It narrows the campus wide focus on the needs of that age child. Programs can be concentrated on the appropriate age campus instead of duplicated.
This change will mean that half of the K-3 teachers will have to move campuses and adjust to a new classroom and all K-3 teachers will have changes which include new staff members, new leaders, and some new surroundings. Although all drastic changes are uncomfortable at first, Sweetwater continues to make decisions that are better for students and expands their proactive measures.
The things that won’t change will be the programs that students enjoy and need and the things that go on inside the classroom. In other words, the things that truly matter will remain. Sweetwater students will continue to be nurtured and challenged by dedicated adults every school day.
Although such changes are only half of the projected shortfalls, SISD feels confident in moving forward with proactive efforts. The district continues to look for ways to save money and will proceed absorbing positions through attrition. Instead of waiting for the final decisions from the legislative session, Sweetwater has already made moves and continues to study ways to not only survive but thrive through the reductions in state funds.

Comments

Ignorance is not bliss

March 10, 2011 by mcarter (not verified), 3 years 27 weeks ago
Comment: 134

SWTguy, you obviously don't have elementary age children in this school district. Or, if you do, you're obviously not involved with PTO or other activities centered around the school. If you were, it would be glaringly obvious to you why this is a TERRIBLE idea! Also, to the grandmother who commented, you are absolutely correct! And the principal who is pretty much universally disliked at Southeast will now be in charge of BOTH campuses!! How any one person, no matter who they were, could be expected to be effective in their role while being torn between two different sides of town is beyond me. And will she show a preference to Southeast because that's where she came from? Who knows?

The School Board needs to back down from this now before it's too late. Parents aren't happy. Students aren't happy. Teachers, faculty, and staff aren't happy. I don't think that makes for a good learning environment or a good working environment. Use your heads!!

Seperating Schools

February 17, 2011 by debecook (not verified), 3 years 30 weeks ago
Comment: 129

I have 2 grandsons that go to Eastridge. One in kindergarten and one in 1st grade. This will mean we will have to try and make parties at 2 schools now, not to mention the difference in the way things are done. My oldest grandson went to southeast his first year of school and had problems with his teacher. As soon as he moved he did great. He cried and asked his mom if he had to go back to southeast and he was fine when she told him no! I also have several neices and nephews that go to southeast, and they all have problems with the teachers and principal. WHY CAN'T THEY JUST LEAVE IT ALONE!

Can you fix it?

February 20, 2011 by SWTguy (not verified), 3 years 30 weeks ago
Comment: 130

How about you fund the millions of dollars that SISD is going to lose this year thanks to our illustrious governer in Austin! They are doing this so that we can all save some tax dollars and not have to lose those "good teachers" at East Ridge. Does it really make a difference which campus your kids are going to? All of those teachers from Southeast that teach 2nd and 3rd grade will be moving over to East Ridge and all of the teachers who teach K-1 will be moving to Southeast. It's not like you will be getting a new set of teachers. They will be going with your kids! I think this is a great option. It also will make it much easier if someone moves across town. Their kids won't have to switch schools mid year. Get over it and get on board. It is your elected officials in Austin who have created this problem. Don't write a letter to the editor....write a letter to your legislators. I have written a letter each week since all of this budget shortfall mess has been in the news. I suggest you do the same...and encourage everyone else to do so too!

Leave the elementary schools alone!!

February 7, 2011 by mcarter (not verified), 3 years 31 weeks ago
Comment: 127

Everyone is up in arms about renaming turf at the Bowl, and no one seems to have even noticed what they are doing to the youngest students and their parents!! People, they are going to split the schools up...it's a done deal, no public discussion, no warning...just poof, and it's done!! Now parents who have children in more than one elementary grade will have to put their children on separate buses, attend separate functions, or drive from one end of town to the other...this is crazy!!! Not to mention that the whole staff will be topsy turvy...we're probably going to lose a lot of good teachers over this!!

Wake up to what is going on here...thank God this is my son's last year at Eastridge! It's a wonderful school and they should leave things as they are. Not to mention I think they are imagining this so-called "savings". Savings for whom?? Certainly not the parents!! Maybe they are counting on losing experienced teachers and that's where the "savings" will come from?

How long do we have to wait until school board elections again???

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