Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from November, 2010

Thanksgiving note to Norris 2010

We at Norris School District SD#160 have many blessings for which to be thankful and today is certainly an appropriate occasion to recognize some of these gifts. While we enjoy time with our families and friends at home, at church, and of course in the Black Friday shopping mall mayhem this weekend, I wanted to pause momentarily to consider some of what I am grateful for here at Norris and share that. Here's a short, far from exhaustive list:

*I am thankful we have an administrative team that sets high expectations for all because they believe that we must always strive to get a little better no matter what our previous accomplishments. That belief we are accountable to each other for perpetual self-improvement is a pretty powerful motivator.

*I am thankful we have such a dedicated support staff that takes care of so many things behind the scenes that the rest of us have come to take much of what they do for granted. From shimmering waxed tile floors and vacuumed carpets to a flee…

Comments at Foundation Banquet: SCC Learn To Dream & FFA Farm Project

[Speech from Norris Foundation & Alumni annual banquet held @ Yankee Hill Country Club in Lincoln the evening of Friday, November 19th, 2010]

Good evening, I have a special announcement to begin with tonight, that is that I want to point out one of our very special guests here - I noticed retired Middle School principal Barry Stark is here tonight.  Bar-Meister, where are you?  Yeah, there he is...hey, Barry, Mary Jo Rupert, current Middle School Principal could not be here tonight. That's because she's supervising the 7th and 8th grade dance - I am sure she would love some supervision assistance if you want to just rush right over there afterward, I know she'd appreciate it!

[Barry - interjected: "Johnny, I can't rush anywhere anymore!"]

Well, I am here tonight as your Superintendent and I have the opportunity to follow Lenny Vermaas, who pointed out that Teammates is a way to give back that costs nothing. Now you know, as soon as you see a Superintenden…

How much money will be there for state aid to schools, anyway?

I am at the Nebraska School Boards conference in Papillion. Yesterday were the pre-conference workshops and the regular sessions run today and conclude with a Friday luncheon. Yesterday afternoon I attended the NE School Business Officials meeting. The meeting was attended by about 50 school finance leaders (Superintendents, Assistant Superintendents, Business Managers, etc.) from across the state. 

One factor that was discussed was the uncertainty around how much money is actually available for state aid.  Amazingly, it doesn't appear that anyone knows.  Even Dr. Dulaney, who is one of the most knowledgeable and informed in the state about these matters said, "Pick a number, you might be as accurate as one I'd come up with or what the Revenue Forecasting Board just predicted."  One state department official, acknowledging the speculative nature of budget forecasting and guesstimating dollars available for state aid, said "I work with it every day and I'm n…

An ugly state aid timeline is projected for NE Schools

I am at the Nebraska School Boards conference in Papillion. The place is crawling with Superintendents, district administrators, and school board members from across the state. Yesterday were the pre-conference workshops and the regular sessions run today and conclude with a Friday luncheon. Yesterday afternoon I attended the NE School Business Officials meeting. Speakers included Russ Inbody with the NE Department of Education's School Finance office and Michael Dulaney, the Executive Director of the NE Council of School Administrators.

These guys and the other school finance folks who spoke were eloquent and informed, but it was like a three hour Debby Downer monologue. Here's one factor to worry about:

Timeline: The timeline on state aid is not going to work out well for school districts for budgetary planning purposes.  By law, schools have to inform teachers of their employment status for the next year by April 15th.  Though the target date for getting a certified state a…