It was created by teams of staff and community members working on core planning, curriculum, cost containment, and marketing. The volunteers filled the meeting room for the presentation.
One highlight of the plan includes the addition of project-based learning to the elementary and, eventually, middle school curriculum. Julie Berndt, part of the group that worked on the curriculum portion of the plan, says the first step in implementing project-based learning is to see what other schools are doing, “Of course there’s Plymouth’s Discovery school up there that is full-blown project-based learning. So take some school visits, go to some trainings, but at least see what’s out there, experience it through trainings and on-site visits to see what they’re doing, and see what we can bring back and start putting in our classrooms.”
The cost-containment team created a list of options the corporation can take to lower its budget. Team member Todd Shafer says big cuts are expected in the near future, “The rationale for doing this was the most recent estimated school funding formula for Culver Schools show a decrease in funding over the next two years of $712,000 and a little bit more than that, which is almost a 13-percent decrease in funding over two years.”
He says it wasn’t an easy job to come up with things to cut, “We talked about developing an incentive to pay teachers for unused sick leave days, to encourage teachers to save their sick days. This incentive would be something less that the cost of a substitute teacher. Reduce staff, both certified and non-certified, by RIF-ing or through resignations when appropriate. Hard one to say, but that was there. Investigate the possibility of reducing building-level administrators. Reducing all non-certified employees to less than 28 hours per week and reduce non-certified employees’ insurance benefits.” Along with listing other potential options, Shafer reiterated the importance of ridding the corporation of the former Monterey School Building.
Additionally, the marketing team updated the school board on its efforts to create a unified brand for the school corporation. They’re planning on launching a GoFundMe account to raise money to create the brand and pay for its implementation and, eventually, ongoing marketing expenses.
The Culver School Board voted unanimously to accept the strategic plan.