EDUCATION BLACKBOARD

SCHOOL BEAT

Welcome to the 2011-12 school year! 

by MICHAEL S. SHIBLER, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools Rockford Public Schools

Dr. Michael S. Shibler

I hope you have experienced a relaxing and pleasant summer. Even though the middle of July was excruciatingly hot, in my opinion it was far better than minus 10 degrees with snow blowing sideways. Those days will come soon enough.

Thank you, Rockford Public Schools (RPS) employees! It is very important for me to recognize the teachers, support staff, and administrators of RPS. During contract negotiations this summer, our employees agreed to a two-year contract (2011-12 and 2012-13), which will impact each of them financially for the next several years. This landmark agreement will allow RPS to recall 9.5 of the 25 teachers the Board of Education had to lay off earlier this spring. Because our state lawmakers continue to allocate K-12 public education money as defined by Proposal A to higher education, public school districts across Michigan have been required to make serious cuts to their programs and staff. In general terms, I want the Rockford community to know what our teachers, support staff, and administrators have agreed to so that several of our laid-off teachers could be recalled. This includes:

•            salary, wage and step freezes for the next two years—combined with the past two years, this will represent four years of salary and wage freezes by the end of the 2012-13 school year;

•            significantly higher employee cost sharing of health insurance premiums;

•            higher prescription co-pays;

•            higher office visit co-pays and health insurance deductibles.

The above contract terms represent only a few of the many cost-saving and cost-sharing components our employees have agreed to in order to help RPS remain financially stable.

Since 1989, RPS’ ongoing philosophy of continuous improvement has been exemplified by our logo of “Quality Community, Quality Schools—Together Building a Tradition of Excellence.” Our most important resource is people. People make the difference in the success of our community and our schools.

On July 1, 2011, I began my 23rd year as superintendent of the Rockford Public Schools. There is no better community or school system in the state of Michigan. Because I have had the privilege of serving the Rockford area community for such a long time, I know what an incredible difference Rockford people make. Thank you!

As children enter through the school doors this September, we pledge to our community that we will continue to build on our tradition of excellence and provide our students with an exemplary education. We also pledge to you that we will continue to fight for adequate state funding for our public schools with your much-needed help.

As always, if you have questions or concerns, please contact me at (616) 863-6557 or mshibler@rockfordschools.org. Thank you.

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