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Sticky budget scenario for MV Whisman

Original post made on Mar 18, 2010

With little hope for more support from Sacramento, educators are again planning for a school year under severe budget constraints. At Mountain View Whisman, the district is grappling with a budget administrators say is $6 million less than it should be.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, March 18, 2010, 10:19 AM

Comments (14)

Posted by Teacher Spouse, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 18, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Oh please...

"Goldman said that internally the district has negotiated the elimination of three sick days previously given to classified employees beyond the required number. He said they were seeking to do the same for certificated staff and administrators."

Get a clue, Goldman, teachers get sick a lot more than classified staff and administrators (at the district office). Why? You try hanging around 30 kids in a classroom and not get sick! And then bring it home to the rest of your family to get! Cut the administration's sick days, but leave the teachers alone!


Posted by Big Al, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 18, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Once again our $200,000 superintendent is no where to be found or heard from during what is perhaps the biggest crisis this school district has confronted in decades. And all that talk about "quality leadership" we have been constantly bombarded with from him. Seems like his position would be a great place to start saving money.


Posted by parent, a resident of Waverly Park
on Mar 18, 2010 at 3:27 pm

I tend to agree with Big Al. I need to be convinced that a Superintendent, at $200K+ is truly essential. We have fabulous and talented educators and leadership (principals, etc) at the school sites. I know the district would never consider it, but I think spending that money on more teachers, who are the ones who actually provide the education to our little ones, is worth examining.

Hey we've got a lame duck Supt right now and the world hasn't ended. Let's give it a try. Eliminate the biggest stuffed shirt at the district office.


Posted by Stever, a resident of The Crossings
on Mar 18, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Maybe they could collapse the CFO and Supe into one job for a little more money. The same for other admin jobs. Pay more for less. On second thought, we aren't really sure they are even justified positions. Still, I read here somewhere that MV has a higher than average admin position ration for the size of the district.


Posted by John the Man, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 19, 2010 at 5:06 am

Stever, you've suggested that before. It won't work.

A lot of what superintendent does is PR. That person attends a lot of community/parent meetings, waves the flag, tries to get donations, etc. It's a LOT of time involved in just being seen and attending functions.

CFO, on the other hand, is a lot of time just pouring over accounting and financial statements. As much time as the super spends doing the PR thing, the CFO is in his office just crunching numbers and trying to get money in to match money out.

There is NO way one person can do both jobs. Let's just disabuse ourselves of the over-simplification that that might happen because it cannot and will not.

And even if it were proposed, only a fool would take both jobs. You'd spend 25 hours a day working and you'd drive yourself crazy. Only someone who is delusional would take such an offer.


Posted by John the Man, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 19, 2010 at 5:10 am

Big Al, Maurice G is a jackass. He is all hot air. All talk, no substance.

Think about this: he is STILL pushing the use of 'continuous improvement'. Even if you buy into such silly management techniques, CI was passe years ago as it is.

The best part? No one but Maurice and his cronies really believe in it anyway. The few teachers who use it only use it because they get extra money to attend its training. The district's best teachers just roll their eyes at CI and just ignore it.

The best part: the district administrators who so publicly espouse the use of CI don't even use it themselves. That's the pathetic irony of it.

Good luck to whatever district is duped into hiring Maurice, they'll need it.


Posted by Steven Nelson, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 19, 2010 at 8:36 am

Sup. and dist. admin. My own inspections of this district are that John is the Man - The CFO and Superintendent are both necessary positions for a district of this size and complexity. ALL other admin positions? I'm not so sure they can't be combined in some reasonable way.

HOWEVER I have used CI processes at my former work (Xerox and a GE supplier) and I am starting to see some amazing efforts at the schools that are working! Teachers 'fidelity' efforts on if they are using the types of instruction they 'think' they are. Work group cooperation on common - self chosen - tasks. I listened to the Monta Loma efforts last night (I actually attend school board meetings). Some of the best teachers may be rolling their eyes - but if they are just sitting in 'their own' classrooms - they are not contributing to teaching - and the district - as 'professionals'. I also personally know some of the best teachers - who ARE both contributing to and LEADING CI work groups.


Posted by parent, a resident of Waverly Park
on Mar 19, 2010 at 9:07 am

Oh and what a WONDERFUL job our current Supt has done with PR! In my opinion, he's brought shame and humiliation to a district that hired him to bring stability and progress. His face has not been seen at any public events since the public found out that he was "in a relationship" with someone other than his wife.

John the Man, do you think that Supt duties can truly only be filled by a full-time $200K employee? Do you suppose there is any way that numerous others in the district can handle these activities? With the district starting their cuts in the classroom instead of at the district office, I'm just not convinced that we even need a full-time supt.



Posted by James, a resident of Whisman Station
on Mar 19, 2010 at 9:14 am

I don't know if it's CI, but from what I've heard from the principal at our school is that they use a data driven approach to track the performance of each child and target the instruction to achieve improvement in the kids that need help in an area, and acceleration for kids that are proficient. This is very much what the Obama administration has proposed to track and improve student achievement.
The principal said it's difficult to know what the kids need and to track progress without this kind of system, and it will be even harder with 25:1. I think one of the teachers in 4th grade won some kind of award using this system? The results speak for themselves, Title I academic achievement award.


Posted by John the Man, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 20, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Craig is going to make a fine super. But all the asso/asst supers in the district? You could install monkeys for each of them and get the same or better results.

Put it this way: any district that bought what Maurice was selling, that is a district in trouble. The first time I met Maurice, I grabbed my wallet because you can tell he's a phony from a mile away. I was and am still astounded that anyone in the district thinks he was anything more than a fraud.


Posted by Political Insider, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 20, 2010 at 9:14 pm

The Whisman school district is poorly run. Cant keep schools open, want more money but somehow private schools succeed on closed public school sites.


Posted by Observer, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 21, 2010 at 9:44 am

James:

"they use a data driven approach to track the performance of each child and target the instruction to achieve improvement in the kids that need help in an area"

Translation: They teach children what they don't know like they always have. So, beyond all the jiberish, how is this any different than what you or I experienced in school?

"it's difficult to know what the kids need and to track progress without this kind of system, and it will be even harder with 25:1"

Translation: Disregard that traditional public education in California worked fine for decades. Kids have always been tracked by performance, and class sizes were once in excess of 30. This is about poor leadership and parents that are responsible for their children's education.


Posted by James, a resident of Whisman Station
on Mar 21, 2010 at 1:14 pm


As far as I can tell they started receiving this Academic Achievment Award in 2005/2006 and have won it three times, so they must be doing something right. It is my understanding that the Superintendent looked at what has been demonstrated to work in other districts around the county and tried to implement those ideas here, but I think it's really the teachers working as a team that are responsible for the success.


Posted by James, a resident of Whisman Station
on Mar 21, 2010 at 1:35 pm


Note that Obama's "Race To The Top" program mandates this kind of data system.

"Supporting data systems that inform decisions and improve instruction, by fully implementing a statewide longitudinal data system, assessing and using data to drive instruction, and making data more accessible to key stakeholders."

So Mountain View Whisman has already implemented some of the ideas that RTTT is asking for. Keep in mind that elementary school isn't what it used to be, kindergarten is more like what 1st or 2nd grade used to be. We can't have kids not finishing highschool, and they have to be prepared for college, otherwise we're going to be in a race to the bottom and the fiscal situation is just going to get worse.


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