State committee re-evaluates Dual Immersion funding
March 9, 2012
The Utah State Legislature Executive Appropriations Committee originally denied additional funding for the state’s dual immersion program. According to Park City School District Finance and Information Specialist Patrick Ogden, only $800,000 in additional funding was granted of the $1.8 million request.
Several sub-committees had listed the dual-immersion program more than halfway down a list of additional requests to be funded in the education budget for the 2012-2013 school year. Ogden said after communicating with educators and parents throughout the state, the committee re-evaluated their decision and agreed to fund a portion of the request.
"The additional funding would have been helpful but not essential to the program’s expansion in our district," Ogden said. "We get about $10,000 a year for each of our schools from the money that’s in the state budget." The school district will receive about $40,000 in state money for the dual-immersion programs next year.
The dual-immersion program is primarily funded by the school district although Ogden said it’s not necessarily an additional cost because they aren’t hiring additional teachers.
"We do have a part-time dual-immersion coordinator and that is an additional cost we’ve accrued, but except for the start-up cost in terms of getting supplies in various languages and maybe the initial outlay of textbooks and study materials, once those have been purchased, it’s just the typical classroom maintenance issue."
SB64: Educator accountability bill
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SB64 sponsored by Sen. Aaron Osmund (R-Jordan) was approved by legislators this week. The bill requires administrators to pass annual evaluations based on four areas, including student progress. Ogden said teacher, parent and student feedback on an administrator’s performance will also be taken into consideration when evaluating administrators.
"They will be judged on their effectiveness, of how well they evaluate their teachers and employees," he said. "Each district will set those goals as to how they want to evaluate the administrators. There is also a requirement that at least 15 percent of administrators’ pay will be tied to the evaluation."
Park City School District teachers and administrators are evaluated annually for their first three years of employment. If they pass the evaluations satisfactorily, the evaluations will only occur once every two years, Ogden said.
"This is a very interesting and difficult issue in terms of tying dollars to student or even employee performance. Administrators only have so much control over employee action and performance and educators only have so much control over what students perform and learn," he said. "There is a line there that is very blurry and hard to draw as far as a quantitative measure."
The school district will have to go over its administrative evaluations to add language regarding feedback and effectiveness of administrator performance along with salary adjustments based on performance levels.