Issues

Tim Rollins knows a lot of work needs to be done to improve our school district.  Here are his viewpoints on some of the major issues:

Budget

The district faces a multi-million dollar budget deficit, estimated by the administration to be $50 million for next year.  We need to ensure that education dollars are being spent effectively and in ways that advance the District’s core mission of educating children.  This is best done by affording full, complete and transparent access to the District’s finances to all members of the community so that we may have an open discussion about spending and priorities.  Difficult choices will need to be made, but difficult choices are best made when everyone shares the same information.

Safety and Discipline

All kids should be able to go to school in an environment that is safe and free from disruption. We need to implement and enforce a discipline code that accomplishes those goals, that is enforced consistently and fairly, but that is implemented in conjunction with effective alternative programs designed to address the needs of students who show disruptive behaviors.

Curriculum

Our children should graduate from school prepared for a job or college.  We need consistently high goals, a curriculum that teachers support and that improves performance, appropriate interventions for underachieving students, and choices like magnet schools and charter schools.   I support honors courses and AP courses for high achieving children.  We should look to find ways to offer those courses in all high schools and we should carefully review whether the cost of eliminating “under-enrolled” AP courses is worth the educational sacrifice.  We also need to identify and implement an effective curriculum that will bring children who are currently performing below state standards up to and above those standards.  We need to ensure that we are not only working to increase test scores on standardized tests, but also that we are developing critical higher thinking skills.

Community Input

Successful school districts listen to their communities.  The District must listen to and value what the community wants from its schools.  It must communicate clearly what its goals are and how it will achieve those goals.  We, as a community, need to take ownership of setting the priorities and goals that we want for our school district, and we need a board and an administration that will work to further those priorities and implement those goals.

Accountability and Transparency

The school district is funded largely by our tax dollars.  It should offer full transparency to the community, including transparency with respect to its finances, operations, and educational performance.  Information should be freely available and easily searchable on the District’s website.  The discussion regarding the best way to solve the District’s financial issues took place largely behind closed doors, and even the school board is being taken by surprise by major decisions.  We need a District in which the administration answers to the school board, and the school board and the administration involve the community in decisions involving curriculum, safety, discipline and finances.