Let’s start with celebrations. Julie Janssen, support specialist at LaCreole Middle School, received the Distinguished Educator Award for April. Julie is someone who advocates for students, uses creativity as she finds ways to offer solutions and supports, and goes above and beyond in all that she does.

We are fortunate she is on our team. Additionally, we received $1,492,900 in a seismic grant for Whitworth Elementary School. We will continue to apply for additional grant dollars to complete seismic upgrades throughout our district.

Recently, many read in the newspaper that our district is experiencing a decrease in funding from the state.

I just want to be sure you know the reasons. I’ll use the analogy of a household budget where you can predict the amount of money you have available each month.

If you experience an unfortunate chain of events such as a roof leak, a medical need, and a car repair that need attention all at once, you would have to make adjustments to your budget.

The same holds true for our district budget. We are currently experiencing a decline in enrollment, a decline in the way we receive funding for students with economic challenges, and a change in our program for fifth-year students.

Any one of these would not be so challenging to our district budget; however, experiencing all three in the same year is challenging.

In our district, we have a culture of collaboration and transparency. When we hit obstacles, teams of people come together to provide input into decisions and support the work of our school board.

We have a collaboration team that includes representation from every area of the district. We have a finance committee that includes members of our community who work with staff to review trends and district practices and set the course with zero-based budgeting, which aligns district resources with district priorities. We have an administrative team that is accustomed to creatively solving problems.

The recommendations from these teams come forward to our five board members who maintain their focus on “what’s best for kids.”

We are proposing a balanced budget for 2016-17 that aligns resources based on the needs of our students.

If you have questions, please call.

Michelle Johnstone

Dallas Superintendent

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