The Terry Kemple “ABC” Plan
A Plan to Improve Educational Outcomes
= Active Accountability
Everyone involved in the education of our most valuable resource, our children, should have clearly defined, measurable goals. Students, parents, teachers, staff, school board, and the community should all know specific things they can do to improve the educational outcomes for our young people.
If the expectations are known, measurements are taken, results assessed, and constructive criticism applied – the process will improve.
= Budget Transparency
There is perhaps no area where the sheer size of the issue creates more complications. The Hillsborough County School District budget is about $3 billion per year. That’s right, a 3 with nine zeroes – $3,000,000,000.
In spite of the fairly continuous complaints from most of the board members about how inadequate this staggering sum is, it’s still a lot of money! And, with the economy being what it is, it’s unlikely that there will be much in the way of budget increase in coming years.
These two facts make it that much more important for the school board to scrutinize details and put accountability measures in place that will insure expenditures are going directly to improving students’ educational outcomes. Every effort must be made to eliminate current wasteful spending and avoid further wasteful spending in the future.
Because of the sheer size of the budget it would be impossible for the vast majority of people to go through, let alone understand, all the detail. That’s why there is a professional financial staff.
The board is responsible for working with the staff in order to set expectations and analyze outcomes.
There also need to be policies in place that insure transparency so that parents and other taxpayers can see how their tax dollars are being utilized.
Perhaps the most important component of the ABC Plan is this – that the members of the community actively engage in the effort to improve the educational outcomes for our students.
From parents to religious leaders to leaders in our neighborhoods, for the maximum success to flow to our young people, everyone has to take an active role in the process.
The school district can’t do it alone. But the district should take the lead in reaching out to the community, promoting parents rights with the 9/12 pledge, and bringing these representatives together.
By stressing ways to develop unity where possible, provide support and guidance where necessary, and involve the community – with the emphasis on parents – the district will lead the way in overcoming many of the barriers that currently stand in the way of academic success for many of our students.
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