Welcome to Laurie Goodman's blog. I use this space to share news and opinions about education and schools in Ridgewood, the state of New Jersey and the nation, in addition to other issues I'm personally interested in. I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, questions or opinions, too, by posting comments on any blog entry. Please observe basic courtesy -- keep your comments focused on issues, no personal attacks or bullying, please. Contact me directly at: lauriegood@mac.com

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Reason #5 to vote YES on April 20:
We kept the budget cuts out of the classroom as much as possible.

As we looked at places to cut from the school district budget, we avoided some “quick fixes” that could have taken big chunks out of our expenses. For example, we have maintained class sizes at the relatively small numbers we currently enjoy and which the community has supported over the years. Even though there is not “scientific” evidence or studies that "prove" class sizes directly affect student achievement, it has long been felt by parents, and by teachers and administrators, in Ridgewood that class size has an impact on learning, classroom management, etc. As someone who came from California, I personally survived in very large classes (average of about 30) growing up. My daughter was in a classroom with 40+ students in 2nd grade. This was the norm and we dreamed about the luxury of having 22 or 25 kids in a class. (A little perspective is good.) In talking with the community during the budget process this year, I heard over and over parents asking that we please keep class sizes where they are. Luckily we were able to maintain that priority.

Other cuts we made in an attempt to stay away from the students’ daily classroom experience included: supervisors, supplies, secretaries, professional development, co-curricular, athletics, staff development, Director of MIS, Director of Curriculum, freezing aide and non-affiliated salaries.

Obviously, we couldn’t keep all the cuts away from students. Unfortunately, our cuts to Guidance services at the high school, Reading Recovery in first grade, textbooks, and other cuts will be felt throughout the district. But overall, we were able to lessen the impact and retain as much of our programs as possible. Click here to see the complete list of cuts...If you spend a few minutes looking carefully, I think you will see that we have been mostly successful in minimizing the impact of the cuts.

Something to remember: as painful as the cuts are, and as hard as we’re all going to have to work to adjust, we will do it. On April 21, the day after the budget vote, we’ll still have the things that make Ridgewood great. We’ll still have amazing students, we’ll still have involved parents and we’ll still have excellent staff. Those are the things that truly make our education excellent.

Any questions about the budget, please get the facts: Visit the district website's budget page, email questions to budget11@ridgewood.k12.nj.us, or post comments here.

Please vote YES on April 20.

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