Legislature, Please Support Your Public Schools

Dear Burgin School Family:

It’s been a tumultuous couple of months for the education community. Tensions surrounding the various pension reform proposals, a constricted state budget, proposed unfunded mandates, and a rash of school violence tragedies nationwide have left educators and students raw.

Earlier this month, our Kentucky House of Representatives passed a budget proposal that is now in the Kentucky State Senate. Despite its ups and downs, the House budget made significant investments by funding SEEK at its highest per pupil level to date and returning the Transportation funding removed by the Governor’s proposal to its current level. It also restored the Family Resource Youth Service Center (FRYSC) funding that helps so many of our families across the Commonwealth, funds the required contribution to KTRS, and fully funds health coverage for retired teachers through the next biennium. This was neither a small task nor a small victory.

That’s not to say that it was perfect; several critical programs did get cut, among them funds for textbooks, professional development for teachers, and teacher internship programs that help with recruitment and retention of new teachers. These are critical programs and products for learning; the districts will have to pay for them whether the state is willing to or not. Ultimately, this means local districts will have to find more money to make up for the dollars the state decided not to invest in public education. Meanwhile, state lawmakers may still take up pension reform and/or charter school funding, items that will draw more dollars out of state coffers.

It’s time to support public education, public educators, and public students. The atmosphere is out of order. Teachers need to be supported and feel supported, both in their retirements, their healthcare,  their classroom resources, and their continued development training. They need to be respected for their craft – a difficult task that develops with each day. They need to be prepared and equipped to handle the emotional trauma that occurs in their classrooms each time an act of school violence hits the news, near or far.

If they do nothing else, the state legislature is constitutionally required to pass a state budget before the General Assembly ends April 13, but that budget will likely move much sooner. That means the time is now. With less than ten legislative days left in the 2018 legislative session, I ask that you stand and support your teachers by calling our state legislators and asking them to fully fund public education. The quality and safety of our educational system relies upon adequate and full funding.

Click here to call your Senator and Representative!

Sincerely,

Will Begley
Superintendent

 

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Superintendent: Join Me In Supporting Public Education Funding

Dear Burgin Family:

It’s time for all of us to speak out. Education is the lifeblood of our community, our economy, and our future. This message is to voice support for full funding of public education.

The Governor’s proposed budget is dire, as promised. Sacrifices across every state cabinet are being made. But the Governor has high aims at developing workers in the middle skills gap, workers with additional certifications, and increasing marketable skills in citizens who participate in the workforce, and he is making investments in those programs. I am here to tell you that those workers will not appear and those programs will deflate over time if we do not fully fund public education.

Governor Bevin says he has proposed funding SEEK at its highest historic level but a recent white paper by the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents shows that is simply not true. The Kentucky Center for Economic Policy reports that SEEK funding per student is lower than it was in 2008 when accounting for inflation and number of students. Kentucky is in fact one of only 12 states where funding per student is less than it was in 2008. That’s right, less than it was in 2008.

The budget bill in its current format allows districts to dip below their two percent fund reserve. At best, this is an irresponsible policy solution. Schools ought to operate with healthy fund and reserve balances to ensure teachers get paid and there is no disruption to services. We hardly think the Governor would advise the Commonwealth of Kentucky to reduce its bank account to just over a week’s worth of operating money. As a school district, we don’t intend to be so fiscally irresponsible with our finances either. If we reduce our bank account to two percent of our budget, teachers may not get paychecks. Roofs could not be repaired. Buses could not run.

I’m also deeply concerned about the idea that some of the cuts in this proposed budget are seen as “add-on” programs. Programs like KTIP, funding for Family Resource Centers, professional development for teachers, and materials like textbooks are not superfluous. Boards of Education will have to find ways to fund these programs because they are critical to the success of students. They are critical to the success of our future workforce. They are critical to the success of our future economy.

Teachers and administrators are carrying a lot of weight in an effort reach higher levels of achievement. Students are working hard in classrooms to be the best they can be. Boards of education are working hard to stretch every dollar and they are being punished for being responsible with school revenue strands.

Education is not charity and its funding and programs are not excesses to be cut. Education is an investment in our families, our communities, our economy, and our future.

I urge you to call your legislators in support of full funding of public education, including SEEK dollars, transportation funds, professional development for teachers, textbook and materials for classrooms, and family resource centers. I am communicating with them and I hope you will too.

Click here for contact information for your House and Senate representatives.

Will Begley, Superintendent
Burgin Independent Schools

Happy Holidays from the Superintendent

Dear Bulldog Family:

With the holiday season upon us, our attention naturally begins to turn to thoughts of spending time with family and friends, the hustle and bustle of Christmas activities and the anticipation of good fortunes in a New Year. 

While I don’t have the benefit of having worked in Burgin for many, many years and building relationships with people over that time, I have had the privilege of getting to know many of you over the past several months.  Over time, as trust slowly is built, people have begun to share their lives and their circumstances with me.  For this I will be always grateful.  This is the human and personal side of my work which I enjoy so much.  

However, it is also the time of year that so many of our children and families struggle with the challenges that make this time of year so difficult to enjoy. For this reason, it is important that we continue to draw on our collective attributes as a caring and compassionate school district and strive to support our students and families – as well as each other as friends and colleagues – as best we can.

The spirit of the holiday season gives all of us hope for good fortune and a fresh beginning in the New Year ahead. It is my wish that you will find joy in the holiday season and that the New Year ahead will be open to a world of opportunity.

It is important to enjoy your well-deserved break and recharge your batteries.  I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to our outstanding staff for their tireless efforts and contributions throughout the year at Burgin Independent Schools.  My best wishes for a safe, relaxing, and fulfilling Christmas to you and all your loved ones.

Go Bulldogs!

 Burgin Ind_Will Begley

Will Begley
Superintendent
Burgin Independent Schools

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @BurginSupt! You might have missed this gem, from our redneck holiday party sponsored by the district admin team. Burgin1

 

Welcome! Great things are ahead.

Burgin Schools Family:

Welcome to the Bulldog Blog! I’m thrilled to unveil our newest method of celebrating and communicating with you, our biggest fans. The Bulldog Blog will serve as a platform for spreading great news about our district, providing commentary from the district’s leadership on larger issues impacting education and learning, and distributing plans for the district’s continued growth in the region.

For our first blog, I want to paint a picture of the spaces in which our children learn. We are committed to providing bright, clean, environments conducive to learning, and Burgin staff have gone above and beyond to meet that goal. From stair treads to murals, athletic facility improvements to floors, nearly every space in the district has experienced a cost-effective refresh. Here are some of the highlights:

  • 75% of the school has new interior paint (halls, gym, cafeteria and stairwells)
  • NEW 7 x 10-foot mural in gym to capture the 100+ years of BIS history
  • NEW stair treads in our three stairwells
  • Classroom and hallway floors stripped and re-waxed
  • Baseball field is getting new backstop and dugouts

Fresh paint can change a mindset, but it’s important to note that the learning environment also includes the 75 teachers and staff who work tirelessly to make every day a positive experience for students. A recent study shows that when positive brain states are achieved through supportive groups, memory retention, motivation, perseverance through challenges, and resiliency increase. Learning is challenging – students need to feel safe and supported to make mistakes, to try new things, and to ask for help. The research on learning environments is vast, analyzing everything from natural light to room temperature. But, one thing is clear – students need positive, well-lit, clean, spaces to do their best work.

I challenge you with this first message on the Bulldog Blog – find at least one member of our maintenance staff this month and thank them for all their efforts. They’ve worked hard to make Burgin Independent the best place with the best spaces in which our young minds spend their day. Not sure who they are? Here, we’ll brag on them for you.

  • Leo Sinkhorn, Maintenance Director
  • James Cox
  • Eva Holt
  • David Warner
  • Lisa Waggener
  • Jeremiah Holsinger

Keep reading! We’ll post more celebrations, important updates, and critical conversations here on the Bulldog soon.

Burgin Ind_Will Begley
Will Begley
Superintendent
Burgin Independent Schools


Sources:
https://singularityhub.com/2017/10/24/neuroeducation-will-lead-to-big-breakthroughs-in-learning/
https://www.edutopia.org/blog/the-physical-environment-of-classrooms-mark-phillips