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MGIS Sample Parent Letter 2

MGIS Sample Parent Letter 2



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Published by senorahegel

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Published by: senorahegel on Mar 06, 2008
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Sample LettersLetter 1: Letter from the Council of School GovernanceMilwaukee, February 26, 2008To the Milwaukee Board of School Directors and the MPS Superintendent:We, the undersigned members of the School Governance Council of MilwaukeeGerman Immersion School (MGIS) hereby notify you that we have not signed the budgetfor the fiscal year 2008/09. We are refusing to sign the budget document because we arevery upset with the negative impact on our children’s education that all choices to balancethe budget imply. We write this letter to voice our concern and dismay about the lack of funds for one of the district’s most successful programs.As you know, MGIS receives only the Board allocation of $ 4,634 per student anda transitional grant of $45,000. We are one of only two K-5 schools in the system whichdo not get any Title I funds because the percentage of our students who receivefree/reduced lunch is 33%. We are also one of only six MPS elementary schools whichdo not receive SAGE funds.While we realize that many elementary schools in MPS have faced difficult budget decisions in an era of flat revenues with increasing expenditures, we believe thatdescribing the budget-related decisions that our schools has made in the past few years provides a meaningful backdrop for the Board to better understand the difficult decisionswe currently face to balance our school’s budget. Specifically, budget constraints inrecent prior years have required us to make the following difficult decisions:1.FY 05: Assistant Principal position eliminated (although with 593 students,MGIS is considered a large elementary school). This results in increased timespent by classroom teachers, as well as the principal, in resolving disciplinaryissues, taking away from critical teaching time.2.FY 03: Art teacher reduced from 1.0 FTE to 0.1 FTE3.FY 06: Art teacher position eliminated completely. Classroom teachers must nowincorporate art education within the classroom curriculum with little or notraining in art instruction.4.FY 02: Technology teacher eliminated, though technology aptitude in the digitalage should be fundamental for our students.To fund every position and every line item at the current FY 08 level, we wouldneed $ 3,842,208 for FY 09. Even after adjusting the projected number of enrolledstudents to 594 (the same number we had in FY 08) we were short by over $ 270,000. Byusing PLAN money, we were able to reduce the anticipated deficit to about $180,000.These budget constraints were forcing us to make decisions that will severely limit theeducational opportunities of our students. More specifically, we were required to1 of 3
eliminate two teacher positions. The School Governance Council considered two equallydistressing alternatives:1.Eliminating two classroom teachers at K5 and first grade -- increasing classsizes to between 32 to 35 students per teacher in each of our three K5 andthree first grades,or 2.Eliminating our two remaining specialist positions (music and physicaleducation). The music and physical education program that MGIS offers hasfigured prominently in many parents’ decision to enroll their children atMGIS, since the teachers provide many enhancement activities extending beyond classroom instruction.The Council reluctantly recommended to our principal to eliminate music and physical education completely.MGIS has been one of the highest performing elementary schools in MPS for many years. We find it ironic that one of the Administration’s proclaimed core beliefs isthat “the classroom is the most important place in the district,” while at the same time providing insufficient funds to maintain the classroom quality education which MGIS isknown for.We also have to question the Administration’s and School Board’s credibility withrespect to its recently publicized
 Action Plan to Improve Milwaukee Public Schools2007-2012
. For example, under 
Strategies for Goal 1
(5), it is stated that “additionalresources are allocated to schools as funding becomes available to create classroomconditions that enable students and teachers to consistently perform at high levels.” It isfurther stated that the district intends to provide equitable learning opportunities in areaswhich include the fine arts and physical education instruction.In our 30 year history of success as an outstanding MPS elementary school, thefaculty, staff, and parents of the Milwaukee German Immersion School have createdconditions that enable our students and teachers to consistently perform at high levels.Why is the Board and the Administration forcing us to make budget decisions whichimperil our ability to continue to perform at these high levels?We ask the Board members and the Administration to revisit the allocation of funds provided to MGIS, and provide us with the means to continue our proud traditionof providing a quality, well-rounded education to Milwaukee’s children.Thank you for your consideration. We appreciate the courtesy of a response.2 of 3

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