Murray 2015-2016 Budget Letter


Since arriving in the role of principal for SPPS in August of 2013, I have spent the first 1 year and 9 months gaining a deeper understanding of the school district and getting to know the community of Murray. I have visited every classroom, attended multiple school and community events and have met with many community, business and political leaders.

What I have found is that the Murray community has a rich tradition of student success in academics, athletics, music, arts, and many other areas, so much so that there is a basic expectation for greatness when our students perform day to day or in special events.

The school has outstanding community support, which is evidenced by the top-notch generosity of fiscal donations and hours of volunteering. Our teaching staff is beyond compare and consists of a balanced mix of experienced professionals alongside teachers who are early in their careers and bring fresh techniques and innovative ideas with them into the classroom. Our teachers meet regularly in professional learning communities to review student work and to create common assessments, review student results through data analysis with an equity lens and to prescribe tiered interventions based on individual student needs. Our teachers, administration and staff genuinely care about our students and will do whatever is necessary to ensure their success.

All of the conditions described above make for a solid foundation for success and continued excellence at Murray Middle School. The existing foundation is important for us to continue to improve our educational program so that we may better meet the needs of our students, families and the community.

Part of our challenges is continuing to build toward even greater excellence in our current budget challenge. District cuts, inadequate funding at the state level, federal reduction and greater spending restrictions in categorical aide has all resulted in some changes next year.

French will be reduced to .6

English Language Arts-Grade 8 will be reduced to 1.5

The Pilot 1:1 Tutoring Program has been eliminated

Supply money has been reduced from nearly two-thirds.

Professional Development will not pay any registration costs for external training

What the budget has allowed us to do is maintain the middle school model we have worked so hard over the last two years to build, job embedded professional development, restore the art elective for 7 th and 8 th grade and maintain our music program. The losses we are facing will impact student programming and we will prioritize reinstatement of the losses should there be additional funding.

In partnership,

Stacy Theien-Collins