At a special session of the school board on Monday, March 4, [superintendent] Townsend was given approval for construction of a new administration building for Decatur Independent School District. This construction will cost nearly $2.6 million. But is there really a need for this expenditure? Templeton Demographics projected (in November 2012) no major growth to this area for the next 20 years. There is no need for expansion or the expense. They predict a 1 to 3 percent annual enrollment increase over a 10-year period. That is really no significant growth.
The board just approved (March meeting) $500,000 dollars in iPads for pre-K through fifth grade, and we haven’t even moved into a new technology center that will hopefully support all of the devices. Currently, teachers consistently complain of a lack of infrastructure and bandwidth for what we already have.
There is only one GT teacher for the entire district. We have no art classes in the elementary school, and for all the technology we are purchasing, the students don’t spend enough time in technology classes learning HOW to use it. Elementary teachers should be using time in class teaching subject matter, not how to use technology devices. That should be taught in technology classes. Again, we have one technology teacher that serves three elementary schools and aides that teach the classes.
For every child our district loses to private school, home school or another district, we lose $6,500 dollars per year. With our district being property-rich, we will not be getting any money from the state. We will get around $95,000 next year and half of that the next. After that, we could get even less. That’s very little in the grand scheme of things.
So, it’s like looking at your checkbook right now and saying for the next five years or so, we aren’t going to make any more money and we will have to live on what’s left in the bank. That should make our district and superintendent a little more frugal.
Couldn’t this money be better spent on our students and what they need?
Dr. Sara L. Hurst