Top Two Challenges:
1. Completion of a fair and sustainable teacher contract. Signs are that we are close, and a contract that is long-term affordable while respecting our teachers as bargaining table partners is a very good thing.
For years, contract growth has been the largest cost driver in the school budget; keeping this in check leaves more money to maintain student/teacher ratios, pilot and finance technology initiatives, strengthen early learning, and preserve breadth-of-program, for starters.
2. Advance our long-range facilities plan so we can properly upgrade and then maintain our school buildings. Completed in 2007, our current plan needs to be updated with current enrollment and projections, expanded to include lifecycle costs of building systems, made realistic by tying planning concepts to financing strategy, and integrating it with the Mayor’s (pending) capital plan. Then it must be sold to the public through a deliberate marketing effort.
The alternative: more years of deteriorating, inadequate school buildings along with piecemeal efforts to repair one or two schools of perceived greatest need, without considering the city’s full planning needs and funding capabilities.