The Wawascene was created by Dr. Mark Stock, former Superintendent of the Wawasee Community School Corporation. Due to its local popularity, Dr. Stock has left the blog site to future Wawasee administrators.

Blog Rules

Comments should be respectful and pertain to the topic posted. Comments about personnel matters should be made directly to the administrators responsible. Blog moderators reserve the right to remove any comment determined not in keeping with these guidelines.

Monday, February 28, 2005


Mr. Mikel wanted me to announce that if there is a delay on Tuesday, February 29th, the textbook adoption committee meetings will be cancelled.

If your colleague is on that committee make sure they get this message.

Change to 3 Hour Delay

Switch to 3 Hour Delay with alternative K schedule.

Conditions were improving some but there were several accidents right at our second deadline time plus a brief local power outage right at 8:00 AM.

West Noble cancelled due to their county trucks not being out.

Our county trucks came out at 7:00 AM. We hope a little more time will improve it.

2 Hour Delay

Freezing rain came late. Very late call today- well after deadline time. Intersections freezing up after 6:00 AM.
Stay tuned -

Friday, February 25, 2005

More Legislation

Some of you might like the ammendments below. Some might not. However, you feel, let them know.

Click on the Indiana Principal's Site for info or the Legislative Zip Code to send e-mails.

HB1812 with School Uniform Ammendment
HB 1812 began as a legal settlement bill. It changed the standard for determining when a student who resides with a person other than the student's parents will be treated as having a legal settlement in the school corporation attendance area where the child resides rather than the school corporation attendance area where a parent resides in cases in which the child is relocated for the purpose of attending a particular school. Adopted by committee February 8, the bill is on second reading. An amendment to the bill by Representative Noe has become a school uniform directive without opportunity for testimony. It reads: “The governing body of a school corporation shall adopt and implement a school uniform policy for students enrolled in the school corporation in kindergarten through grade 12.”

House Bill 1009, the Voucher Bill
This bill passed out of House Ways and Means Thursday morning. IT IS UP FOR A VOTE ON THE HOUSE FLOOR MONDAY, FEBRUARY 28. Please contact your representative and let them know how you feel. It comes to a vote Monday. Please note that:· When funding for public schools is at such a low level it is not a good time to direct dollars that could be dedicated to the public school funding formula away from those schools.· The dollars would go to private schools even if the private school and the student funded never demonstrated attainment under NCLB.· The fiscal impact for the three-year period defined is substantial--$11.4 million in 2007, $17.1 million in 2008, and $63 million for 2009.· The funding source was changed from direct school revenue to the state’s general fund. The state’s general fund provides revenue for public schools, Medicaid, corrections, and any other item within the state’s budget.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Facing the Future

As you are aware, there is much uncertainty in the legislative session. In addition to reading The Wawascene daily, I hope you are following some of the links on The Super's Blog and the Indiana Government Site. By clicking on General Assembly and Bills and Resolutions you can follow much of the legislation. ISTA has provided some very good links and legislative hot line information as well. Please e-mail your legislators. I heard one commentator say it is helpful simply to e-mail them the name of the bill (such as House Bill #_____) and then say, "I oppose it or I support it." That is enough for them to tally their responses.

Every citizen should do their part.

The following cuts have already been made in the last few years:
1. We have reduced at least three teaching positions through attrition in addition to four positions that were RIFed two years ago.
2. We have reduced one nurse position at Wawasee High School.
3. We have reduced one secretarial position at Wawasee Middle School.
4. We have reduced the Hot Lunch Directors position.
5. We have reduced one half of a secretarial position in Central Office.
6. We have reduced the cost of a bookkeeping position in Central Office by one third.
7. We reduced the Transportation Secretary position from a year round position to a school year position.

The following cost shifts and cuts have been made this year:
1. Climate control and energy savings No hard estimates
2. Close high school pool No hard estimates
3. Staff development cost shifts 38,000
4. Gifted and Talented Program 13,000
5. Pay for special ed. prof. dev. from fed. funds 6,000
6. Eliminate support staff banquet 3,400
7. Reimbursement to GF for spec ed copy costs 2,000
8. Eliminate little league donations 4,500
9. Cut 1 WMS position TBA 35,000
10. Cuts by attrition Unknown

_____________________________________ Total 101,900

Note: Cutting positions by attrition will be dependent on maintaining reasonable class sizes and the number of retirements and openings there are. The sooner we know this the easier it will be on those affected.

Now we must move to personnel/program cuts. Our General Fund is 89-90% personnel costs. There is simply no way to get up to $600,000 in cuts without affecting personnel. Decisions have NOT been made but I will ask the board to discuss the process at the March meeting. The board is not likely to be discussing actual personnel cuts at that meeting. However, I would like to have a public forum between the March and April board meetings to present the fiscal situation in an open environment so everybody can hear. I will likely propose some options for the public and board to consider so that everything is open to the public and staff. Then the board can vote in the April board meeting. Our WCEA agreement provides the internal deadline of April 15th to submit a RIF list. No list has been created yet. We have been working on trying to find non-personnel items.

Trying times.

Ten years ago I came to each school and did a presentation regarding school choice, vouchers and my predictions for the future. I was right, in that the time has come where the public school mandate is being challenged by many pieces of legislation and no doubt some of these will go through. This will further erode support for public schools. Where I was wrong, was that I said if public schools did not improve we were in danger. Well, we have improved. By almost every measure I can find, I feel comfortable saying that Indiana and Wawasee students and staff have risen to the occasion and have improved. (click here for Dr. Reed's announcements on Indiana performance) I think we are on the cusp of further great things.

But then this.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Friday the 25th

If there are no school cancellations through Wednesday, February 23rd, then we will skip Friday the 25th as a snow makeup day. This means that even if there was a cancellation on Thursday due to inclement weather, we would add the day to the end of the year. This way parents, students and employees can proceed to make plans for Friday.

The forecast only seems to be calling for a chance of snow showers at this time. So, the odds look good that Friday will be a day to catch your breath.

The February doldrums seem to have hit. Keep your chin up everyone.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Vouchers -Public Tax Dollars For Private Education

There is an excellent post on The Super's Blog this weekend about why Republicans (that includes most people in this county) should be worried about blurring the lines between private and public education.

Please take the time to read this and then read this article from the Indy Star.

(A reminder for those not familiar with hyperlinks. When you see words that are underlined and in a different color, many times it is a short cut to the website where the article is located.)

I encourage you to write your legislators by clicking on the little sticker on the side of this page , enter your zip code, and send an e-mail to them.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Putting Budgets in Perspective

Sometimes it is hard for people to create meaning from all the budget and finance numbers that get thrown around. But to put some of it in perspective, below is a quote from the ISTA Hotline:

Growing enrollment schools also take a hit, receiving far less than is needed to meet their needs. Hamilton Southeastern Schools received the 4th highest increase in the state but will still be a whopping $ 9 million short of needed funds. The budget proposal under-estimates their projected enrollment growth by nearly 900 students - students the schools must educate regardless of the funding shortfall.

While there are some property tax increases to help get schools to 7/10th of a 1% average increase state-wide, all but 40 school districts in the state still receive less than the 2.75% increase to stay even with inflation. One hundred fifty three school districts receive NO increase or a CUT in 2006 compared to 2005. The rest don't receive enough to keep pace with growing enrollments.

Hamilton Southeastern Schools is said to be $9 million short of needed funds. Using an apples-to-apples comparison and using our enrollment figures, Wawasee by this same definition would be considered $2,158,151 "short of needed funds."

Hamilton Southeastern does indeed have a problem. But, using the same measuring stick, Wawasee has a major problem as well.

The Fort Wayne Gazette ran this newspaper article on the problem. (Click here for the article.)

Friday, February 18, 2005

Tough Times Ahead

As Wawasee looks at a bleak financial future, I thought it might be helpful if we passed along a few pointers about school finance. Picture a small bowl of water sitting on your sink. Now picture the water faucet running. The running faucet is like the school district's revenue stream. The bowl of water is like the General Fund cash balance.

The state of Indiana has cut the faucet back $175,000 this year. Current budget bills, if passed, would project cuts again for the next two years as well. If current projections were true, Wawasee schools would have to look at cutting anywhere from $400,000 to $600,000 dollars from our ongoing expenses in the next two years. Picture cutting back the water faucet, once, twice, three times in a row. Raiding the small water bowl (cash balance) won't help this problem.

When revenue streams are cut then ongoing expenses have to be cut. One year savings won't help. What does this mean? Wawasee will have to make some tough decisions is what it means. People are asking hard questions, like, "What about my job? Will I have one?"

These decisions have NOT been made yet, but will need to be made by April 15. I will be announcing the first $175,000 in cuts and cost shifts next week. These cuts and cost shifts have not affected personnel at this time. But we have a long way to go.

I still welcome ideas and thoughts about cost savings from the General Fund. Transportation and Computer Technology and Equipment and Repair type of savings will not help the General Fund. Ninety (90) percent of General Fund expenses are salaries and the other ten (10) percent is mostly supplies, utilities and property and casuality insurance.

I have received several helpful ideas already. However, one thing is clear. E-mailing your legislators and governor are the only way to express a concern to those who can help. Your school board does not have control over the state funding formula.

False Alarm at Syracuse

Smoke but no fire. Actually steam but no fire. Bill got steamed up and set off the fire alarms this morning at Syracuse Elementary and staff had to leave the building. :-) Just kidding Bill.

The kitchen storeroom had a water hose split and spray steam all over setting off the alarms. No kids were present.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Satire on The Super's Blog

I don't know if you like satire, but there was a funny post someone put on The Super's Blog. Click on the link on the side of the page to read it.

If you want to forward any posts from that blog or this blog, you click on the little envelope at the end of the posting and it will let you e-mail it to someone else.

I don't know what your politics are, but there are many bills floating through that have huge implications for public education. Take the time to send a message to a legislator whether you support or oppose a bill.

At least they will know what you think.

Two Hour Delay Wednesday 16th

Two hour delay for Wawasee. The slush started freezing after 4:30. Roads have been sanded and salted which has helped. Hills in places are icy and slick.

Have a good day.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Snow Storm Coming

Just a reminder that I will be posting closing and delay announcements on The Wawascene. You can bookmark it at home as well. Postings should go up shortly before 6:00 AM if a delay or cancellation is called. This may beat your call chains. Stay tuned.

Side note: You will notice a new link to the Indiana Principal's Association on the side bar. This site is a tremendous site for communication on bills and legislation that affect public schools. Please spend some time surfing around here when you get a free moment (ha - free moment) . I promise you it will help you be more informed.

The "Write Your Legislator" sticker on the side bar will actually take you to the same site except it will bring up your U.S. Senators and Representatives after you put your zip code in.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Support Service Banquet Cancelled

I regret having to announce this, but here goes....the support service banquet for 2005 will be cancelled. This suggestion was passed along by a classified employee as a possible cost saving measure after hearing about the budget cuts announced by the governor.

The savings will be around $3,300 dollars from the General Fund. We cancelled the teacher banquet quite a while ago to save money but due to the popularity of the support banquet we continued it.

In future blog postings I will be listing the additional cost-saving measures that are being undertaken. Our goal is to find $175,000 in reductions or cost shifts. The closer we get to $175,000 the less it will affect the students. If you too have ideas for cost savings that have not been explored, please e-mail them to me.

These are tough times and much of northern Indiana's schools will not fare well under current budget bills.

Please click on the link called "The Super's Blog" on the left side of the page and read the post titled "A Lot More of Less." This will give you one person's view of the state budget issues. Many of the issues mentioned in this post are also prevalent in schools like ours. Please visit The Super's Blog site every week and read the commentary and editorials on school issues. Read the one on ISTEP testing too.

Thanks for all you do.

Snow Day Make Up Reminder

Remember that February 21, 2005 is a school day now. It is the make-up day for our previous cancellation.

February 25th is also a "Snow Make-Up Day" although we haven't needed it yet.

As we get close to that date, please consult The Wawascene for updates regarding the use of that day. In previous years if the weather gets "iffy" close to the make-up date, we make announcements on whether or not we are going to use it or skip to the next one.

Everyone either has the flu or they are at the Writer's Workshop today.

36 substitutes today. Lisa was calling subs for the subs for the subs I think.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Teacher Tax Break

We all know that many teachers spend a fair amount of their own money buying extra classroom supplies throughout the course of the year.

Our school attorney David Cates has forwarded the following link to all teachers to inform them of this deduction.

Click on the colored words "tax-break" and some of the details are posted.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

WMS Principal Prints Correction

Ms. Swartzentruber, Principal at Wawasee Middle School, has announced a correction to the newspaper article that appeared in the Wednesday, February 9, 2005 Times-Union paper. A parent stated in the public portion of the meeting that there were 13 special education students in her child's general education class of 23. According to Ms. Swartzentruber there are actually 8 students in that particular midddle school classroom during that period. Assigned to that class are also a special education teacher and on most days a paraprofessional during that time period. Although there were 23 students at one point there are now 20 total students during that class period.

The newspaper accurately reported the parent's comments but the parent evidently did not have all the correct information.

We are all concerned about the rising expectations and the rising number of students with difficulties, so this is not meant to imply the parent shouldn't have concerns about her child's education or any other child's right to a good education.

I just thought the information should be accurate.

Thursday, Feb. 10, 2005 Wawasee - 2 hour delay

Two hour delay this morning. Roads are snow covered and slick underneath. No salt or sand visible anywhere we could find. Not as bad as yesterday - but the slickness came early enough to get the call out this morning.

NOTE: Some of the TV stations have been very inconsistent lately in posting information. Hoosier 103.5 has been the only media outlet that I am aware 0f that has never let us down. They have been accurate in every case. This is the media outlet we have recommended to local parents. We were notified that some TV stations weren't carrying the announcement. We submittted the information to them so we have no understanding of why they didn't or couldn't post it. FYI (This NOTE was posted at 7:03 AM although the delay announcement was posted at 5:52 AM)

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

February Board Meeting Review

The February board meeting was a fairly light agenda.

The board approved a change in high school Industrial Technology courses as presented by Mr. Coblentz. Many of you may remember the old "industrial arts" courses. In many schools such as ours the old technology still exists and some of the curriculum remains similar. Mr. Coblentz and Mr. McAdams are willing to attend two weeks of intensive summer training for several years in order to teach a series of courses called Project Lead The Way. This series of courses is designed to appeal to engineering students or other advanced math and science students to give them a taste of engineering skills in a "hands on" format. This will replace some of our existing Industrial Arts type courses. It should not require new staff and there are financial state grants to support the technology needs and training costs. Special thanks go to Jamie and Allen for their willingness to go the extra mile to provide exciting new opportunities for students!

The big topic of course was the discussion on state and local finance issues. I presented a slide show on the state's fiscal woes and explained the financial impact.

The bottom line is simple. We must cut at least $175,000 this year.

Tough times. We hope you will be patient through the months that lie ahead.

We are taking every measure possible to limit the effect on children.

As part of our attempts to communicate better we will begin posting the board agendas and the board minutes on our websites so that you can stay informed.

If you put this blog site on your favorites list you will be able to check in each week to see the postings and each month you can be linked to the school board meeting minutes to see who retired and who said what. Once the site is operational (this week we hope) you can read the actual minutes instead of just the newspaper version!

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Getting Started

This blog has been created to communicate with employees, students and patrons of the Wawasee School Community.

Topics of interest from the field of education will be posted each week as an attempt to communicate to patrons and employees alike.

Blogging will begin officially the first full week of February.

See you then!