Expansion of Pre-K programs for low-income children. Student health centers at every high school. High school graduates conversant in a second language. Three years of coaching for new school principals. Lower class sizes at schools with higher levels of high poverty students. More frequent technology updates in classrooms. Teacher salaries at the national average. Five days of custodial services per week versus three days.
These ideas, and many more, were submitted by WCPSS school board members when they were asked about focus areas for the 2015-2016 operating budget. The list reveals a group of individuals who have a vision for a school district that is proactive in addressing the needs of its students and their families, as well as the employees that serve them daily. This same group knows the challenges of attempting to do this very thing with fewer resources than what is ideal.
The list prompted much discussion and comment from school board members. For Kevin Hill, the list demonstrates the gap between what the system has provided in the past and what it provides now. He urged, “there needs to be a resolve about what Wake can do.”
Tom Benton wistfully called this, “a dream list.” And Jim Martin pressed that the list be shared with county commissioners to share their best thinking. But Keith Sutton warned that the list might be misconstrued, and they could be seen as, “think[ing] it’s Christmas and here’s the list.” He further cautioned that the list first needed to be analyzed within the context of the strategic plan, which is ultimately a community-provided list of priorities.
School board members will next provide their top three priorities to the Superintendent and revisit the list at their retreat on February 14.