Thursday, November 9, 2017

TUSD Bond Failure: So Now What???

TUSD's bond failed, so a community member asked me: "Which operations cuts and efficiencies are up for cuts? The administration, guided by the board, needs to be highly transparent on this. Their track record on cuts hasn't been great. There are new serious challenges from cuts to this year's funding, and the projected increasing facility problems without the bond to deal with the most critical. What facilities are in most critical conditions and which categories will be prioritized?"

My answer:

I look forward to learning about what TUSD's administration will do to deal with cuts in funding, negative enrollment numbers, and the community's lack of trust in us, just as I look forward to helping the Superintendent develop a strategic plan. 

The fact that there is no strategic plan is problematic.  If we had one, you would not have to ask me what our priorities are.  You would already know.  

So, number one priority: work with the Superintendent to develop a strategic plan. 

I think we should cut spending in Operations from over 13% to around 6 or 7%.  I know that companies like Sustainability Partners can help us do that in one year (or less).  But, my fellow board members fight me; they accuse me of being crazy for wanting to achieve "the impossible."  At least one suggested that I am "irresponsible" for suggesting that we can cut Operations by 50% by 2018/19.  They basically said: "Oh, the horror. Can you imagine all those jobs lost?"  It is an argument I have heard before.  I say it is a failed argument.  For one, I disagree that "all those jobs" would be lost.  For two, I say that if we educate kids better, TUSD will grow.

So, number two priority: Cut Operations spending by 50%.  Put the money in the classroom to attract students/families and employees.

I think our directors should run their departments more like for-profit companies.  I think we should employ an entrepreneurial mindset and serve customers like private schools.  I think we should start a military magnet.  I think UHS faculty members should get their wish and start a professional development institute, if you will (my words), in TUSD.

That means the number three priority: Increase efficiency and effectiveness, decrease waste by collecting data like for-profits do.

I know that people have a tremendously hard time considering my ideas because they are different for TUSD.  But they are common in the world of research, business, and academia, in my experience.
I believe TUSD's responsibility to this community is not to keep people employed; TUSD owes this community well-educated kids.  TUSD has failed many children and many families for many, many years.  It also seems to fail employees—but it does keep people employed.  I don’t think the one makes up for the other.  Do you?

My point: we have to make up our minds.  Do we want TUSD to educate kids?  Or do we want TUSD to save Tucson's economy by creating jobs (because the City Council and Pima Board of Sups. and Corporate Commission and and and can't figure out how to do that)?

So what do you think???

No comments:

Post a Comment