School leaders keep close eye on funding plans

Published 7:00 pm Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Brookhaven School District has adoptedstandards to guide its professional training and schooladministrators report confidence with the district’s financialstanding as statewide budget discussions begin.

    “I feel comfortable with where we are,” said Superintendent Dr.Lisa Karmacharya about district finances.

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    At Tuesday’s board meeting, Director of Finance Susan Quin said thedistrict’s cash balance at the end of December 2011 wasapproximately 609,000 higher than at the end of December 2010.

    That increase comes despite a funding decrease in this academicyear. The district’s 2011-12 budget shrunk by almost $800,000compared to the 2010-11 budget.

    Board members were pleased by the report.

    “Any time we can have less revenue but a higher balance I’m happy,”said board member Stan Patrick.

    When asked about the budget after the meeting, Karmacharya said sheanticipates tight funding from the state legislature and is glad tosee the district showing strength.

    “Right now we’re just waiting to see what the Legislature does,”said the superintendent.

    Karmacharya also presented board members a set of standards toguide the district as it provides continued training for itsstaff.

    The standards were recently adopted by the Mississippi Associationof School Administrators, of which Karmacharya is vicepresident.

    Board members questioned Karmacharya about the extent of thestandards and what the results of implementation would be. Afterminor deliberation, the standards were unanimously approved.

    Board member Willie Harrison did request Karmacharya report back tothe board on the results produced by adopting the standards.

    Karmacharya said the standards did not commit the district to anyspecific development program.

    “It’s a set of standards that here’s what we believe and here’swhat we’re going to adhere to,” Karmacharya said. “I feel reallygood about this.”

    Among the seven standards is a commitment that “learningcommunities” contribute to “continuous improvement, collectiveresponsibility, and goal alignment.” The standards also advocatefor skillful leaders, the effective use of resources and a varietyof data regarding student and teacher performance.

    A variety of models and theories regarding human learning should beintegrated, according to the standards.

    Finally, the standards adopted by the district call for theapplication of professional learning to support long-term changeand for an alignment of outcomes, educator performance andcurriculum standards.

    The standards were written by Learning Forward, a nationalorganization that studies staff development.