For the first time in years, Shelby County Schools (SCS) is presenting a balanced budget to the Shelby County School Board for the 2017-18 school year, headlined by nearly $50 million in investments for students and schools.
“This budget isn’t my budget or the Board’s budget. This is the entire community’s budget.” -SCS Superintendent Dorsey Hopson
Superintendent Dorsey Hopson says the “unprecedented” investments are a direct result of input from teachers, staff, parents and community partners received during “Greater Schools. Greater Communities.” feedback tour and survey last fall.
District leaders used the input to develop funding priorities and identify key investments that would have the greatest impact on student achievement.
“We really listened to schools and communities in terms of what people really wanted to see inside our schools,” said Hopson.
The investments include:
- $11 million for teacher raises
- Academic transformation plans for 19 Critical Focus schools
- iZone expansion
- 26 Summer Learning Academies
- More math and literacy interventionists
- More behavioral specialists
- More instructional coaches
- Expanded professional development for teachers and school leaders
According to Hopson, SCS is the most financially stable it has ever been. Since the merger in 2013, District leaders have worked hard, despite funding reductions, to ensure every dollar spent is aimed at increasing student achievement by finding efficiencies in every area of operations.
Outside funding has also played a key role in the District’s financial stability. The Shelby County Commission has invested $40 million over the past two years, and SCS has also been “very aggressive” in seeking state and federal grants. Strategic community partnerships have also helped generate money from the private sector for major initiatives, such as the iZone.
Superintendent Hopson is now looking to the community for feedback about the 2017-18 budget and future school investments. He says public input plays an important role in the District’s decision-making process.
“Some of our best thinking has resulted from having great conversations with community members, said Hopson. “This budget isn’t my budget or the Board’s budget. This is the entire community’s budget.”
The School Board is holding a public hearing about the 2017-18 budget on May 11 at 6 p.m. in Board of Education auditorium. Additionally, Superintendent will be engaging prominent business and community leaders later this month to discuss these investments and new opportunities to support students and schools.