More School Improvement Questions

 
   Do ALL SAC funds need to be spent for the implementation of goals contained in the school improvement plan?
   Still confused... what about spending funds on paper, student incentives...
 
Q. Do ALL SAC funds (school enhancement funds) need to be spent for the implementation of goals contained in the SIP

No.  The law repeatedly states that a portion of the funds are to be used for implementing the SIP. 
        In my over dozen years involved in SAC I have seen on numerous times a suggestion for a program or item that comes up during the year that does not fit into the SIP.  Instead of taking time to reword the SIP and resubmit it, we can just vote on the expenditure at a SAC meeting. If we had to rewrite the SIP to include it, we would never get the revision done since we are all so busy. 
        Case in Point:  i.e. About 6 years ago we had a new teacher come up with a plan to improve student behavior that he had used in N. Carolina. The expenditures for this plan would NOT fit the SIP. The expenditure included bikes, CD's, MP3's, pencils, books, radio's....(much of those items would come from private or business donations). I voted no on this, the SAC voted yes, the program was instituted, the good behavior was increased significantly, the children learned more, the teachers were happier.....This program WAS a success. If we had to spend the funds only on the SIP, it would not have occurred.
        Now, with legislation, we must address safety in the SIP which maybe we could have tied into the SIP. That teacher was new - started after the SIP was introduced and approved - it would have been a shame not to have been able to implement the program. I reaffirm my belief in the intelligence and the collective decision-making of SAC to determine the needs of their school.....              ~Theresa McCormick
 

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Q. I am still confused on spending SAC money.. we were told that the money had to be spent on the goals that were for that year? For example if a goal is safety then the SAC can purchase items or hire people that would help the school be safer. Or if the goal is higher FCAT scores SAC could pay for rewards for those students who improved their FCAT scores? This is so difficult to figure out. everyone tells you something different. and the state guidelines are open for interpretation. It's hard to tell if you are voting the proper way. For instance can SAC use some of it's money to help a student cover the cost of attending a national Science/History Fair? or not? Can they help the drama club, the cheerleaders, football team or debate team? Or should we just buy books and paper?
  Answer: 
1.   Each district must define what expenditures are allowed under 'enhancement dollars' which is where SAC dollars come from.

2.   State law says a PORTION of the funds must be spent on the school improvement plan - or the goals that you refer to.

3.   SAC determines how the funds are spent in support of student achievement

4.   Some schools do use the funds as a reward - for example - a pizza party for the class that scored the highest in FCAT reading scores...or for  students most improved...or for good behavior. Every school has its problems and therefore, will need to spend its funds differently. An alternative school for 'bad behavior' type children MAY need to use the funds extensively to change the behavior (behavior modification type programs).

5.   Safety MUST be part of every school's SIP so SAC must address safety. How you do that is up to your SAC. A middle school used a small portion ($200) for 'rewards' of lollypops and pencils for high school students wearing their ID's - the ID's are required and students were constantly forgetting them so using positive behavior modification DID work. Another school used the funds ($6000+) for security camera's - which took years to get all the cameras but was definitely worth it with double digit drops in student disruptions and theft.

6.   Sending students to history or science fair....sure, if that is what SAC feels would improve student achievement. Drama? Cheerleaders? That is where we get to the vote of the SAC committee. Personally, my recommendation would be to ask some questions...
"How will this improve student achievement"
"How does this fit in with the current or future SIP"
"How many students are benefiting from the expenditure"
"How does the expenditure make our students and staff safer"
"Does this fit with the state education goals"

7.   Our SAC has had to purchase paper, books, copy costs...sometimes this is needed to best serve the needs of our students.          ~ Theresa, FL-SAC vice president
 
     
 

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