The Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) Grant applications are due on February 24. We have been working continuously since last November's election to refine the budget (to determine the amount to be requested from BEST) of our proposed project, as well as clarify facts, deficiencies, and other components of our narrative. I continue to be optimistic regarding our chances of securing the grant. We have been fortunate to partner with Cooperative Strategies, a company that offers assistance to schools in our situation, in the writing of the grant. Our main point of contact with them, Scott Newell, spent several years with the BEST program and has a thorough understanding of the processes involved as well as insights regarding previously successful (and unsuccessful) grant applications. We have also continued to work with architects, engineers, general contractors, and sub-contractors to more accurately revise cost projections for our project given the variety of variables that impact the development and construction of our proposed campus over the next few years. More specifics will be available after February 21st when the FINAL draft of the grant proposal is presented to the Board of Education for their approval prior to submission in advance of the deadline on the 24th.
We have also been working diligently to develop a budget that addresses student and programmatic needs as well as improving staff salaries as promised prior to passage of the Mill Levy Override (MLO).
Revisions to salary schedules have been vetted and will be presented to BOE for action on February 24th.
We have nearly completed our review of our Language Arts/Reading/Writing curriculum and expect recommendations to address needs in that area within the next 4-6 weeks. Review of our Mathematics curriculum and resources will be next, followed by Science and Social Studies.
We have also made revisions to our Transportation Department's "Fleet Replacement Cycle" and purchased a much needed bus already this school-year.
We plan to hire a Technology Instructor at the MS; an Intervention Specialist at BV; restore a teaching position at both TPS and our Pre-school; and 2 para-professional positions.
Additional plans for Technology enhancements to meet changing student needs, safety resource officers, part-time librarian for the MS, and upgrades to our curriculum are also progressing.
Our goal is to address our most glaring needs. We will continue to monitor student progress and make adjustments in instruction, staffing and allocation of resources. I would anticipate that revisions to our current plans will be made as results dictate.
Contact Your Legislators: In closing this month's letter, I would like to encourage you to contact our state legislators and share the need for the state to step up to their constitutional obligation to provide for K-12 education. Your voices are more powerful than mine (they expect Superintendents to advocate for schools and school funding). The stories you can share regarding the negative impact cuts to our district have created and the additional tax burden it has placed on our community to meet the needs of our kids are the ammunition they need to convince their peers to more adequately fund our schools.
If you have any questions about our schools, the MLO, the BEST grant, or other ways we can partner with you, please do not hesitate to contact me at the District Office. Thank you for the opportunity to work with you in the interest of our kids and community.
Dr. Bill Wilson
Brush School District RE-2J