SYNOPSIS OF SEIC MEETING WITH ORACLE SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT DENNIS BLAUSER AND ORACLE SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER LINDA LYON
MARCH 9, 2016
Superintendent Blauser reported that overall the Oracle School district is in good financial shape with federal and state auditors finding seven minor discrepancies. Since 2013 Administrative costs have been cut by 27%.
In 2013 (the last time districts were rated by the state), OSD received a “C” rating. A revised A-F rating system will be used again starting in 2017.
Testing programs consist of the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) administered a twice year to grades K-3 and AzMERIT (administered annually to grades 3-8.
Three District students scored “perfect” on the AzMerit test. State-wide the District's strengths were third grade math, advanced math in middle school and middle school reading. There has been a complete revamp of the preK-3 reading program and it will be expanded to grade 5 for the next school year.
Next year the District plans to revamp the math program as they did with the reading program this year.Teacher retention remains a problem due to low salaries and other factors. The same is true for teachers’ aides and bus drivers.Computer accessibility and instruction remains a major goal. Internet speed is very poor, but conditions should improve over the next several months.
The District hopes to institute programs for middle school students on programing and 3-D printing, among other things.The Oracle School Foundation raised over $15,000 to sponsor 10 needs-based scholarships for preschool students. Thirty to forty more children are eligible for preschool but lack the financial resources to attend.
Mr. Blauser noted the biggest obstacles to achieving goals are state underfunding, lack of funding for preschool, a legislature that is generally anti-public education, teacher shortages, ever changing academic and accountability standards, enrollment and competition from charter and private schools and empowerment scholarships (vouchers).
Jo Ann Ellison