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Words from the Sup't

Focus on future despite cuts

June 08, 2011 - I've spent a good deal of time in the last few weeks writing to you about the State of Michigan's proposed budgetary changes.

Last week, these changes came to fruition, meaning that our district will receive for the school year 2011-2012 a reduction in per pupil funding of at least $1.5 million.

In order to offset this reduction by $100 per student (reducing our cut from the state to $800,000), the state's budget requires us to meet four out of five financial "best practices."

I'm confident, due to the collaborative nature of our relationships with our collective bargaining groups, along with the strategic moves our district and employee groups have made over several years, that we'll meet these requirements.

The Clarkston Community Schools is now the holder of our own health insurance and we share services with Lake Orion. We anticipate making a few other changes in order to meet the state's financial best practices mandates. More information will follow.

In addition to the cuts required from the state, the Clarkston Community Schools has taken several steps to balance our budget over the next two years, amounting to $3.4 million worth of reductions and savings.

This means that next year we will freeze salaries for all employees, we will have fewer media specialists, less aide time in the early grades, less money in the International Baccalaureate budget, and we will increase the distance between bus stops and reduce some money for non-instructional field trips.

Through all of this, I've made a commitment to focusing on the future. We will accomplish this through our revised vision, mission, learner profile, and strategic plan; by building upon the excellence that exists in our district; through great teaching; and through the continued support of parents and the community. I will provide more information on this in the coming weeks.

As you're aware, I've written two installments of the Superintendent's Call to Action. You've had a chance to read and comment on my ideas.

My third installment is entitled the Superintendent's Manifesto III, which you will see in the coming days.

Here, I offer some suggestions as to revisions of the state's Constitution, a Children's Bill of Rights, the establishment of the WE Party, and a focus on Education-kNow!

As an advocate of locally controlled schools; excellent teachers; engaged, globally connected students; and collaborative communities & parents, I believe that the need for us to stand together is just beginning, especially since the legislature and governor will next tackle their school reform agenda. I will continue to do all I can to advance our cause.

This week, our seniors complete their final days at CHS and RHS. I'm thankful for all of the support offered to our graduates from parents, teachers, family members, school personnel, the board of education, and the community.

I'm grateful to these seniors for the contributions they've made to Clarkston and I wish them the very best in the future. I pray for their safety as they complete busy schedules.

It's an honor for me to serve the Clarkston community and the Clarkston Community Schools.

Rod Rock, Ed.D., is superintendent of Clarkston Community Schools

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