Like many of you, the Bibb County School District once again has to tighten its purse strings. We are thoughtfully striving to provide a public education worthy of the community we serve. On June 21, the District proposed the 2012-2013 Operational Budget to the Board for its consideration. The Board is expected to vote on the budget at a Called Board Meeting on July 5.
This budget represents a defining moment in our District. It demonstrates that we are funding priorities essential for the continued growth of student achievement in Bibb County. Simply put: Budgets define an organization’s core values. I am confident we have presented the Board a responsible budget that appropriately adjusts for the realities of lower local revenues, increased employee benefit costs, and other negative financial forces beyond our control.
We take seriously our responsibilities of being good stewards of public monies. I encourage you to review the proposed budget, which can be found here. As you carefully look at this budget, you will see our commitment to provide more learning opportunities without raising property taxes or implementing employee furlough days as so many other school systems across Georgia are choosing to do to balance their budgets. To accomplish this we have made some difficult decisions but the interests of the students remain our number one priority.
We remain steadfast in our faithfulness to continue the transformation from where our school system is into systematically moving it toward one our community desires and deserves. There are many strategies to making this a reality, but one being used is improving our District’s effort to leverage our economies of scale. In many cases our employees are assuming more tasks because the reality of rising budget constraints yields fewer staff members. Our employees are the backbone of our system and we are so fortunate to have these professionals at all levels of employment doing their part in working for our students. I cannot thank them enough for their dedication to public education.
One core value that is not negatively impacted by budget consideration is increased instructional time. This school year, our students will have 20-30 minutes of additional instruction time as a result of an extension of the regular school day without changing the morning start times. These changes are a direct consequence of our complying with the federal requirements of the School Improvement Grant for some of our schools as they increase learning time in the core content areas for students. My leadership team and I judge this to be a unique opportunity to beneficially expand our instructional offerings for all students - not just a handful of them. Our principals are extremely supportive of this change, so we believe this operational enhancement is a tremendous opportunity realized at little additional cost. This adjustment aligns nicely with our promise to transform the way we deliver core curriculum to improve achievement for all students.
Without question this budget represents a substantial investment in our students, our staff, and our community. But if we are indeed serious about improving public education in Bibb County, we cannot compromise our core values as outlined in our Strategic Plan that the Board approved in March.
I am confident this budget reflects that standard.