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.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Realtors already knew this

The higher the SAT scores, the more the house is worth.

Or, is it the other way around?

It was just a burrito

Here is a good one.

It was just a burrito.

Misleading Politics

This has been one of the most misleading and frustrating years for politics that I can remember.

It looks like the budget bill will pass without the additional taxes such as cigarettes, gambling etc. This allows the legislators who pledged "no new taxes" to mislead the public by saying they didn't vote to raise taxes.

Here is the big lie.

What they have actually done is to shift the responsibility to pay for school expenses over to local property taxes. With the states plan to cap property tax replacement credit - it means any new expenses in the future will also be passed along to the local property tax payer.

The bottom line is simple. Wawasee schools will probably receive LESS money than last year AND the local property tax payer will have their taxes increased. State officials will brag and say they kept their promise not to raise taxes.

It will NOT be true.

Here is a press release that explains more of it in detail if you are interested.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

What do you think of paying extra money to teachers who teach in the toughest schools?

California's Governor, Arnold Schwartzenegger has proposed paying inner-city teachers in the toughest schools more money so that they get more experienced teachers in those schools.

The plan has met with mixed reactions.

Monday, April 25, 2005

The Pledge

Put this in the category of..."Stuff you can't make up."

A Counselor at a school substituted the words "under your belief system" for "under God" while leading the school pledge and has now become a national story.

Everything we do and say is 15 minutes from "live on CNN."

Bill Gates calls it, "living the documented life."

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Editorial in Star

Today's Sunday Indy Star has an editorial on education which is representative of many opinion pieces. It has some good points but due to the complexity of the topic it still misses the mark. It's just not that simple.

Read the article here.

Here is a little background. The K-12 Efficiency report referred to in the article never mentions the author or documents the background of the report. This report was authored by a small group of people lead by Governor Daniels' educational policy advisor David Shane. Mr. Shane's only educational experience is that of being chief negotiator for IPS many years ago. Not exactly an expert on efficiency.

Speaking of Mr. Shane, when was the last time you read Dr. SueEllen Reed's name in the paper? Dr. Reed is the Superintendent of Public Instruction and had 8,000 more votes than Mitch Daniels and was the number one Republican vote-getter in Indiana. Where is she? The governor and his team has taken the number one vote-getter in Indiana and banished her to the bench. David Shane is now the educational policy advisor and he is not even an elected official. Dr. Reed can hardly get an appointment with the Governor. So much for more open and ethical government that was promised.

David Shane also worked at the Hudson Institute when Mitch Daniels was there. When the Hudson Institute was putting out white papers critical of education, Mr. Shane was behind it.

I have a copy of the K-12 Efficiency report and also copies of rebuttals to the slanted, biased view of Mr. Shane. This report is nothing more than an opinion piece full of misleading information. It is not research. It is a collection of carefully chosen numbers and opinions that is being used to shape public opinion.

Mr. Shane is behind the scenes pushing the Governor's anti-public school agenda.

And won't read in the newspaper.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Sprinkling vs Raining: When to use the Rainy Day Fund

Someone recently asked me a question regarding my recent recommendations for future staffing and reductions-in-force (RIF).

The question was, "Why don't we utilize the school corporation's cash balance or the Rainy Day Fund? It's at least sprinkling isn't it?"

In addition to a being a great metaphor, it is also a good question.

It is true, the school corporation is in good financial shape as far as having a Rainy Day Fund reserve. The problem is that a Rainy Day Fund reserve should be used a last resort. In other words, it should be used when it is pouring and not just sprinkling. One of the problems that created the state deficit is that Indiana has been raiding THEIR Rainy Day Funds over the years to pay for programs. Now they have a problem. They cut taxes in the past, which may be a good thing, but there is a cost for that and now we are paying for it.

If we make small adjustments when we are able, we reduce the risk of having to make large RIF's later. Think of it as steering your car. Small incremental changes keep the car tracking straight. If you hold the steering wheel too tight to it's current course and do not make smaller adjustments, you will need to make a more severe change in course at the last minute to avoid a crash. In the end, this is more disruptive. Even the small changes are emotionally draining for those most affected. This is even more reason why small changes should be made whenever possible.

Wawasee has been making small adjustments over the last 5 years. These have been somewhat imperceptible to most people. This year is the largest and most visible of our personnel cuts. If we had done nothing over the last 5 years, we would be looking at changes on a very large scale this year.

While we could swallow the loss without RIFing this year, our fear is that this is may just be the beginning of issues that affect public education. Ten years ago I went to every school in our district and talked about the future of public education and the impact of privatization, vouchers, and tax credits on public schools. The time has come.

We may not see the effects of these issues in a dramatic way here in Wawasee immediately, but I guarantee you that the state fiscal impact of vouchers, tax credits and privatization will impact our schools.

This explains why I feel we should protect the Rainy Day Fund a little longer.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Warriors head to state again!

Breaking News!

The following Wawasee High School superbowl teams qualified for state competition:

social studies

Math missed the cut by 2 places.

Interdisciplinary was first place in our class statewide.

Congratulations Warriors and Super Bowl coaches!!

WHS Academic Super Bowl Results

Congratulations to the Academic Super Bowl Teams for their outstanding performance last night at the State Regional Competition. We are anxiously waiting to hear how we match up against others around the state to see if we qualify teams for the State Competition. Results from last night's competition are:

Interdisciplinary Team - 1st place
Math Team - 1st place
Social Studies Team - 1st place
Science Team - 2nd place
Fine Arts Team - 2nd place
English Team - 3rd place

Wawasee placed in every category and hopes to be at Purdue University on Saturday, May 7th.

Go for the Gold. Go Warriors.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Dealing with state money woes

I will be reviewing the following information with the school board in Tuesday's meeting. The agenda can be found at the corporation website. (See link on the left side of this page.)

What are the fiscal challenges that Indiana public schools are facing?

Dealing with constant unfunded mandates
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) - federal law requiring changes in school accountability
Public Law 221 - state law requiring changes in school accountability
Core 40 - requiring high school curriculum changes
Rising ISTEP cut scores -more remediation, focus on standards
Recent increase in high school graduation requirements
Cost shifts from state and federal to local taxpayer
Teacher' Retirement Fund payments shifted from state to local
FICA costs shifted from state to local
Federal mandates for disabled (promised 40% funding -it is now up to 18%)
Payment delays from the state -requires schools to borrow millions to be able to pay bills
Increased health care costs
Rising utility rates
Increases in liability insurance

What has been done in the past to control costs?

Certified teaching reductions by attrition
Reduction-in-Force (RIF) two years ago
One secretarial position WMS
Hot Lunch Director Position
One-half secretarial position CO
Cost of one-half bookkeeper CO
Reduced Transportation Secretary from year-round to school year and absorbed summer responsibilities in CO

What are we doing currently to control increasing costs?

Climate control and energy savings
Close high school pool
Staff development cost shifts
Gifted and Talented Program para
Pay for special ed. prof. dev. from fed. funds
Reimbursement to General Fund for special education copy costs
Eliminate non-profit donations

Are you looking at extra-curricular positions?

We have left numerous extra-curricular positions unfilled in the last several years, most of them smaller stipends for clubs and activities without high demand, and some assistant coaching positions.

We plan on leaving some additional extra-curricular positions unfilled for next year.

What about administrative costs?

Unlike many school districts, Wawasee does not have mid-level administrative positions, funded by the General Fund, that can be eliminated or combined. However, I will be recommending a freeze on all administrative wages.

What personnel cuts are being recommended to control costs?

WHS 1 Math, 1 Science, 1 English
WMS 1 Aquatics, 1 Eighth Grade
NW 1 First Grade
SE 0
ELEM 1 PE teacher (5 minutes per class reduction)

Who is most affected by these proposed changes?

There are four individuals who have been notified that there is a possibility of a lay-off. This could affect two high school teachers and two PE teachers. We are hopeful that this will not be necessary. However, to meet the deadlines in state law we must notify people that could be affected.


Programs for children should not be negatively affected in a major way by these recommendations. Most of these cuts are due to retirements, student enrollment patterns and shifts in personnel. HOWEVER, if implemented, these changes will take our current program to the leanest levels in some time, including a slight increase in some class sizes.

But, it does leave our fine arts programs unaffected and our academic and athletic programs lean but intact. From this point forward, any further reductions in future years, forced on us by this state legislature, WILL result in reductions and/or elimination of actual programs. I make these recommendations because I believe that our community is generally supportive of our current programs and does not wish to see an entire program eliminated. These recommendations are designed to maintain our current programming. If the state does not correct current state budget formula inequities, this may not be possible in future years.


It will not be necessary for the board to vote on these recommendations Tuesday evening. There is still time for staffing changes due to job changes, relocation, and retirements. We are hopeful that we will still be able to keep individuals who have received a preliminary notice.

I would like to thank the staff and community for their patience and support.

If you have never written or e-mailed your legislator before, there will never be a better time.

Monday, April 18, 2005

A Fitting and Timely Cartoon

Here's a cartoon that accurately describes the Indiana legislative session, and unfortunately, most of the state governments in America today.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Study shows certified teachers more effective

A recent study shows that certified teachers are more effective. If this holds true over time it could have implications for alternative licensing programs.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Public school students out perform private school students

New emerging research continues to show that public schools are not only holding their own against charter schools and private schools, but in many cases are out performing them.

Kimberly at Number 2 Pencil discusses the newest research here.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Voucher Vote List

Do you know how your representatives voted on the school voucher bill which was SB 281?

This bill was defeated but it will be back next year. How did your representative vote?

Are you disappointed? Or pleased? Let them know.

Alderman Duncan Lutz Torr Behning Espich McClain Turner Borders Foley Messer Ulmer Borror Friend Murphy Walorski Bright Frizzell Noe Whetstone Brown,T Gutwein Pond Wolkins Buck Harris, T Richardson Woodruff Buell Heim Ripley Yount Burton Hinkle Ruppel Mr. Speaker Cherry Koch Saunders Davis Lehe Stutzman Dodge Leonard Thompson

Aguilera Crooks Klinker Porter Austin Day Kromkowski Reske Avery Denbo Kuzman Robertson Ayres Dickinson Lawson Smith, J Bardon Dobis Mahern Smith,V Bauer Dvorak Mays Stevenson Becker Fry Micon Stilwell Bischoff GiaQuinta Moses Summers Bottorff Goodin Neese Thomas Brown,C Grubb Orentlicher Tincher Budak Harris, E Oxley VanHaaften Cheney Hoffman Pelath Welch Cochran Hoy Pflum Crawford Kersey Pierce



Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Vouchers and Tax Credits Defeated

Vouchers and tax credits have now all been defeated for this session.

SB 281 Student Transfers and the Private School Tuition Tax Credit of $1000

Representative Behning stated that the fiscal for 2006 was a $1.1M gain, and a $1.6M loss in 2007. A provision also provided for textbooks for private school students. Representative Cheney noted that the bill would allow transfers for athletic reasons and that it “will cost us big.” He also stated that Representative Turner’s testimony that Indiana was low in the number of students attending private schools “was testimony to the success of our public schools.” It was pointed out in testimony that private schools under this option had the right to take who they like. Rep. Hoy stated that tax credits were misleading, because “a voucher by any name is still a voucher.”

Again, SB 281, included the amended vouchers and tax credits, has now been defeated. The House rejected this final section by a vote of 45-54.

It will be back.

One legislator had this to say about it all, "We should not try to destroy public education overnight."

No....I suppose many of them would prefer to take their time.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Glad to have you back!

Hope everyone is rested up and ready for the last push. I've seen a few tans showing up out there.

It was pretty nice here while everyone was having fun in the sun.

Serious blogging will start up again in a day or so!

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Reminder of Board Meeting Change

This is just a reminder that the Wawasee school board moved the board meeting for April to Tuesday, April 19 at 7:00 PM. The meeting will be held in the board room at the administration offices.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Favorite signs seen at the statehouse rally

The following sign was seen at the statehouse rally for education on Wednesday.

Carried by a teacher:

"If we taught in a stadium would you support us?"

Education Rally in Statehouse

I attended a statehouse rally Wednesday afternoon in Indianapolis. The rally was put on by a coalition of educational organizations in response to what many feel have been overtly negative attitudes towards public schools coming from the governor and legislators this session.

Wawasee is one of the many schools that will actually receive less money next year and the year after even less. When the Wawasee school system is near the bottom in funding per student and the local board has no control over it, there is nothing to do but to go to Indianapolis and show concern.

Here is one report on it.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

We just received the following press release from the Indiana General Assembly

Media Alert Indiana General Assembly Release

Representative Behning to Discuss School Vouchers

State Representative Robert Behning (R-Indianapolis) will be available to the Media on Tuesday, April 5, 2005 to discuss Senate Bill 281 concerning school vouchers.

The media availability will take place in room 125 at the Statehouse at 10:00 a.m. Representative Behning will be joined by Kenneth L. Johnson, a graduate of North Division High School and a native of Milwaukee. Kenneth L. Johnson serves on the Milwaukee Board of School Directors, which oversees the city’s public school system. Johnson, a democrat and an AFL-CIO member, has been a major proponent for school choice in Milwaukee (He was elected in 1999 and reelected in 2003.)A graduate of North Division High School and a native of Milwaukee, Johnson is an officer of Isom Memorial CME Church, a husband, and proud father of a current MPS student. Johnson is a journeyman electrician and member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. A former member of Shalom High School's Advisory Board, Johnson is also a Commissioner of the City of Milwaukee Redevelopment Authority and a Fellow of The Rockefeller Foundation of New York.Johnson believes in improving parental involvement, in setting stronger standards, in strengthening school governance council authority, in expanding career options for students in elementary/middle schools, in increasing community investment & confidence, and in developing a district accountability system. The Milwaukee Parental Choice Program began operation in 1990-91 and currently serves nearly 15,000 children each year by providing school vouchers worth up to $5,882 per child. Being the oldest of the modern school choice programs, Milwaukee is the most widely studied school choice program. Studies from Harvard and Princeton Universities have found student test scores to improve by 6 to 11 percentile points in both math and reading. Studies have also found public schools exposed to competition from the school vouchers have spawned improvement in public school test scores as well. In addition, nearly $100 million of private money has been invested into education through the creation of new schools and renovation of older schools.

Who: Representative Behning Also appearing on the panel will be Kenneth L. Johnson
What: Press Conference to discuss Senate Bill 281When: Tuesday, April 5, 2005 at 10:00 a.m. until 10:30
Where: Indiana Statehouse – Lower Level, Room 125Contact: Christina Nash, 234-2993

NOTE: Here is an opposing view of the Milwaukee experiment

Fort Myer's Beach Weather

With so many community people in Fort Myers right now, I thought I would provide you with the link to keep tabs on their days. Fort Myers Beach Weather

With days like today, who could be jealous!

Saturday, April 02, 2005


It's 64 degrees and 21 mph winds in Fort Myers, FLA at 2:00 PM today. Not as nice as it could be. Keep telling yourself that!

The Super's Blog has satire again. Check it out.

Joe Thomas is a teacher in Arizona. He has a blog site that has a lot of information about school vouchers. He is not believer in case you wondered. After the page loads click on the word BLOG at the top.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Spring Break Send-Off

Happy times to all you lucky people going to where it is warm and sunny. Hopefully.

Take a deep breath, feel the warm moist ocean breeze on your face, brush the hair from your face and wiggle your toes in the wet sand....


Central office will be open and we will be here if you need anything.

Be careful.


PS: For all those staying in the community, The Wawascene will still be posting so if you get too bored you can check in from home or even from Florida if you can't let go completely!!! LOL