Talk of the District

Difficult changes yield savings, creativity

By COREY LUNN – Gazette Columnist

During the recent budget adjustment process, everything we do has been placed under a microscope. This resulted in finding more efficiencies and encouraging the school district to not only think about doing things differently, but to better meet the needs of our students, families and schools. With this in mind several changes are now in the works for the next school year.

Many positions are being changed and eliminated over the next two years. Many of these are at the district level including the assistant superintendents, other assistant-type jobs and administrative support positions. These changes will dramatically alter the make-up of the central services building with more than half of the district services structures and positions looking different than they currently do.

Across the district, some principals will have additional responsibilities added to their jobs. As a result of these changes, more than $350,000 will be reduced from the district office budget with much more savings included in the approved $6.5 million in budget cuts for the 2012-2013 school year.

Although change is often difficult, this district-level restructuring has not only allowed us to lessen the budget adjustments’ impact on the students and classrooms for one more year, it has also encouraged us to be more creative. For instance, as part of the restructuring, we have placed more emphasis on and improved the support for our school buildings by taking a position with a pre-K to high school focus and changing it into separate pre-K to elementary and middle to high school positions. This will give much more attention and oversight to the most important things that we do: educating and meeting the needs of our students.

With these cost-neutral solutions, I am expecting exciting and dramatic changes in our school district. This will support our K-12 STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) initiative and add many more exciting ideas for further study and consideration.

In our elementary schools, this will include reconnecting with families and neighborhoods, adding more school options and integrating world languages. In our secondary schools, there will be a focus on increased opportunities for accelerating student learning, personalizing schools (making larger schools feel smaller) and offering more college and career readiness programs. This will result in even more classes offering post-secondary credit and more savings to our families.

In all of our schools, we will be continuing to look at technology integration, 21st century learning opportunities for all students and engaging the greater community in what our schools should look like in the future.

Through our budget challenges, we are taking the opportunity to reinvent the support we provide to our schools and the opportunities we provide to our students. In the future, I will share more details about how you can become involved in this process. I am confident and excited, both as a parent and superintendent that we will be much better off for going through this difficult process. There are great things on the horizon for Stillwater Area Public Schools.

Superintendent Corey Lunn can be contacted via email at lunnc@stillwater.k12.mn.us or by phone at 651-351-8301. Questions can also be sent by mail to Superintendent, Stillwater Area Public Schools, 1875 South Greeley St., Stillwater, MN 55082. Register for Stillwater Area Public Schools eNews at www.stillwater.k12.mn.us/subscribe.

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