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News from the Superintendent: April 26, 2010
April 26, 2010
With APS’ budget issues and a challenging economic situation globally, this has been a time of uncertainty for all of us. The news hasn’t been good in some time, but circumstances keep changing. If it seems to keep changing before your eyes it’s because the process has been open and interactive this year.
The worst part of the whole economic crisis is the fear of not knowing what will happen next. The times we live in have left everyone worried and on-edge, and while I can’t control all the external forces that created it, I can at least continue to let you know where things stand with APS.
It’s been my intention all along to keep you informed and take your feedback. Hundreds of e-mails tell me you don’t always agree with the outcomes, but you want to be part of the process. Two of the goals I laid out when I first became superintendent involve a better communication plan inside and outside APS and transparency in the district’s financial matters. It may not be pretty, but it’s open.
Budgeting is a process, not a product. It evolves and changes and that’s what you’ve witnessed over the past few weeks. It’s like putting a puzzle together. We’ve been crunching numbers and looking at all the ways we might save or cut in order to cover a $43 million shortfall. As you’ve seen, it hasn’t been easy. There are still many difficult decisions to be made.
At times, the process has made us look like we’re flip-flopping or having math difficulties. The truth is, the process is similar to how APS budgets have been created through the years, but this year it’s out where everyone can see it. I’m not criticizing past administrations, just noting the difference between organizing a budget behind closed doors and presenting a final version afterward, and offering employees and the general public a look at what goes into it. We’ve erased and started over until we find something that works, much like what principals and department heads are doing this week with individual site budgets.
The process is going to take a little more time. Principals and department heads will turn in what they’ve come up with on May 5 and we’ll go from there. And when we’re ready to present the final version to the Board of Education, you’ll be the first to know.
Have a good week.