By Dr. Brian J. Blake
---- — KINGSTON - Greetings! I want to take this opportunity to thank all of the voters who came out to cast their ballots last Tuesday. While the results were mixed, I was encouraged that the voters recognized the hard work of both the professional and paraprofessional staff by passing their contracts. The staff is very appreciative that the contracts were passed and are continuing to work hard to improve the quality of education we provide to our students.
The passage of the two contracts accomplishes a number of objectives for the District. Both contracts enable us to attract and retain high quality staff at all levels. The contracts help to keep us competitive with surrounding districts, encouraging our best and brightest staff to remain in the district. Another objective is that in future years, only one contract at a time will be presented to the voters. In two years, a support staff contract will be presented to the voters while the professional staff contract will be presented in three years. Presenting contracts in this manner will enable us to control costs by limiting the impact to the taxpayers in any one year. We hope to continue this process in the future.
The vote to support the default budget will pose significant challenges to us as we move forward. Over the next few weeks, I will be working with the leadership team to develop a priority list and identify changes that we are able to make in our system to meet the priorities.
One area that has already risen to the top of the priority list is the notion of full day kindergarten in the district. The research and results support the importance of kindergarten, especially in light of the Common Core Standards. We believe that a full day program is a key component of becoming a top performing school district. The difference between the proposed and default budgets will require difficult conversations regarding staffing patterns and program needs. In the coming weeks, we hope to identify changes within the system that will enable us to move forward with offering our students a full day kindergarten program.
Finally, I would like to welcome our new school board and budget committee members. I would also like to thank our “retiring” members for their countless hours of service to our district and community.
I look forward to continuing our work to improve the educational opportunities for our students. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.