Academics and extra-curricular activities
Students are in school to learn. Everything else is nice, but extra.
Prioritize the number of core classes available and reduce the number of electives such as highschool sports classes like ping pong class and some other non-academic classes.
If there is a question, reduce middle school athletics - if someone wants to pay for this it means the school board is picking athletics over academics.
Eliminate redundant field trips and projects like going on the same field trip in both 4th and 5th grade.
If you have a choice, don't cut things that help academics like afterschool tutorials with teachers in core classes.
Try new things to help students learn. Use videoconferencing instead of having special classes at each school. Use independent study for some high level classes.
Change our schedules. Make a 4-day week work for high schools by getting the state law changed, making the school day longer, shortening our year by cutting our breaks and not making us watch videos for weeks after our exams are finished. Let us use the extra days for homework, jobs, sports, rest or internships.
Students can do certain jobs instead of paying people to do them. This could be worked into community service, independent study or punishment. Examples include landscaping and mowing grass, assisting with computers and other technology, school websites, library assistance, advising clubs, tutoring, cleaning, etc.
Make students pay for AP tests…but refund the money for good scores. That's an incentive to do well. Scores are more important than numbers of students taking tests.
Try year-round schools so that you can put more students into fewer schools
Manage resources like textbooks, computers, furniture, sports equipment, TVs, etc. Some classrooms have way too many textbooks while others have none. Some schools have more computers and TVs than they can ever use.
Trade resources from school to school instead of always buying new things.
Be green and use green technology. Don't leave computers on all day and night. Turn lights off at night, etc.
Teachers don't use all of the textbooks. Don't order textbooks that teachers are never going to use.
Make PTAs buy things that help with academics. The jumbotron and the big TVs in the lobby for announcements are nice, but they don't help people learn more and pass tests.
Don't waste paper! Stop sending useless printed handouts home with students. Set up parent and student emails and put our report cards online.
One thing we need you to add to the budget is paper! Give teachers more paper to make copies. They get one box a year and have to pay for the rest. It is hard to take and do well on a test when you have to share your test copy or use one that the teacher has used for 5 years.
If teachers are going to lose their jobs, make sure it is the ones who don't care anymore or are bad teachers. Not the ones who work hard and do a good job. If you want to know which ones these are, ask the students.
Administrators and other non-teachers
Do we really need so many people working at the front office? Use the non-teacher positions at schools wisely. Every high school does not need a separate registrar, lockout person, attendance person and other assorted front desk people.
Rotate positions such as registrar from school to school the way school nurses operate. Maybe some of these positions could be given to coaches or assistant principals.
Review employees who work all year - how many months are they really needed? Some administrators are busiest at the beginning and end of the school years. If you need extra help bring in retired leaders, business people, etc. to help during busy times
Take a look at salaries. Eliminate bonuses for people at the Ed Center and teachers. Put a salary cap on top level employees and others who are making a lot of money. Measure performance and use that to adjust salaries higher if you need to.
Restructure guidance counselors so their jobs are more focused on what students need. You need a lot at the beginning of school to help with schedules. You don't need as many the rest of the year.
In neighborhoods where it is possible, integrate school bus transportation with CATS. Give students bus passes. You won't need as many buses. It will also help CATS have more riders. It might also encourage city bus drivers to stop picking up students who are cutting class.
Group bus stops - we don't need to have them everywhere.
Make older kids walk farther to get to the bus or school.