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FACT or RUMOR?

As WCS continues to deal with the school funding crisis, we realize that rumors and misinformation can run rampant in our schools and community. If you need something clarified that is relevant, please submit your question or rumor and we will do our best to address it.

Do you need a rumor clarified?


LAST UPDATED APRIL 27, 2010

RUMOR: Is it true that WCS will consolidate three elementary schools into one magnate middle school? 
FACT: There are no plans to consolidate Elementaries into a magnate middle school or to create any Grade 5-6 magnate schools. 
RUMOR: Rumor has it that the baseball fields at Carter which are used by St. Malachy and Warren Parks and Rec will not be allowed to be used this summer?
FACT: The parking lot renovations through the bond construction at Carter Middle School and Wilkerson Elementary this summer cannot allow for Warren Parks & Recreation or St. Malachy to use the fields there this year.
RUMOR: What happened to preschool registration? Does this mean that WCS will no longer have tuition based preschool? 
FACT: Tuition-based Preschool will run at WCS next year and the administration is currently finalizing the schedule and locations for next year.  Information will be available in our schools and on the district website very soon. 
RUMOR: Is it true that there will not be summer school this year?
FACT: Summer school will run this year and the details are currently being finalized.
RUMOR: Are you discontinuing the Community High and Middle School at Butcher?
FACT: There are no plans to eliminate either of these programs for next year.  However, we did eliminate the High School Completion program in our Adult Education Program for next year due to the mid-year loss in revenue from the state.
RUMOR: Did Grissom take out their soda machines?     
FACT: The machines are still in the school but serve primarily juices and water.  No pop or soda is sold in the machines. 
RUMOR: My daughter attends Cousino High School and says the pool is empty.  I read here that the pools are not empty. 
FACT: The pools are not empty but they are currently covered to reduce the evaporation of water.
RUMOR: Was most or all of the 20J money returned to the district by the state?  If so, where is it? 
FACT: 20J has not been restored in any amount to WCS, leaving the district with an annual loss of $3.7 million in revenue.  Currently, there is no momentum in the legislature to restore this money to WCS and other 20J districts.  
RUMOR: Are lunch supervisors being eliminated for 2010/2011 school year from the elementary and middle schools?
FACT: There are no plans to eliminate lunch supervisors for next year at this time.
RUMOR: Is it true that the board is pushing to stop health insurance during the contract negotiations?
FACT: There are no plans to stop health insurance for employees who qualify for insurance either through a collective bargaining agreement or a contract with the district.

Likewise, there have been no DISCUSSIONS OR RECOMMENDATIONS BY ANY MEMEBER OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION about reducing access to healthcare for dependents and qualifying family members of employees of WCS.
RUMOR: All caffeinated beverages are being banned at the schools.
FACT:  The district does offer a few beverages that contain caffeine.  However, the district provides a wide range of healthy beverages for students, such as juices, bottled water, and milk as part of our daily breakfast and lunch programs.  There is no official ban on caffeinated beverages.
RUMOR: Prom, Homecoming, Senior All Night Party are being cancelled this year and next year?
FACT: There are no plans to cancel these events this year or next year.  Some other kinds of events were cancelled this year due to the mid-year funding cut from the state.
RUMOR: Special education (especially speech therapists and social workers) are going to be privatized or made to join a contract company?
FACT: There are no plans to contract any of our Special Education staff with the exception of situations where no WCS staff is available.
RUMOR: Is it true that there are teachers in the district making $100,000+ a year?
FACT: Yes.  However, this is only typical for teachers who are at the very top of the experience scale AND who perform duties above and beyond their normal teaching day.    For example, teachers are compensated for coaching, sponsoring clubs, etc. 
RUMOR: Why can’t it be the parents’ choice as to whether there is an aide in the overcrowded classrooms?
FACT: The decision to place an aide in a classroom is an administrative one THAT TAKES SEVERAL FACTORS INTO CONSIDERATION.  To afford parents the opportunity to make administrative decisions would be very difficult to manage.
RUMOR: Schools of Choice kids increase discipline problems.
FACT: WCS policy prohibits the district from accepting Schools of Choice students who have a history of serious discipline problems.  In fact, in the last several years, WCS has expelled over 100 students for discipline problems and only 1 was a Schools of Choice student.
RUMOR: More cuts will have to be made in 2010-11 because of lack of funding.
FACT: Given the current information available from the state, we are expecting another cut in per pupil funding and when coupled with our increased employee and other district costs, cuts will have to be made to balance our budget. 
RUMOR: Based on the cancellation of our winter dances, many students are concerned that next year’s homecoming dances and events will be cancelled. Many others are worried the Leadership classes (Governing Practices) will be canceled at the high school. Could anyone shed some light on the validity of these rumors?
FACT: No DECISIONS have been made to eliminate dances, events, or any classes for next year AT THIS TIME.  The cancellations this year were done to offset the mid-year loss in revenue from the state.
RUMOR: If you close the pool at Cousino, it can’t be reopened without a substantial costly renovation, due to the fact that it is so old.
FACT: None of the pools are closing permanently this Spring but THEY ARE being idled by dialing down the heat to save energy costs AND TO USE LESS CHEMICALS.  This in effect will not “close” the pool where a costly renovation would be needed to use it again. 
RUMOR: If one of the middle schools is closed, when would the district know and when would the parents/students be notified?
FACT: School closings are typically done through a process based on enrollment and district attendance demographics.  Notification would likely be several months in advance and would only be done in close consultation with the community.
RUMOR: Will the band students still be taking a trip to Cedar Point at the end of the school year?  Will this include 5th grade band?
FACT: Each field trip is at the discretion of the school or program this year.  Check with the sponsoring teacher or principal for more information.
RUMOR: Are you going to have a private company transfer my kids to and from school?  Is custodial, food service or bussing going private?
FACT: No.  At this time, there ARE no plans to privatize or outsource any union JOBS in WCS.  This current Board of Education remains committed to the employees who work in the district and THE BOARD RECOGNIZES the value the EMPLOYEES bring to the organization and the larger community.  
RUMOR: Are you planning on rezoning?
FACT:  Rezoning of school boundaries is typically done when schools are closed.  There are no plans to close schools so the issue of rezoning has not been discussed.
RUMOR: Is it true that the district is eliminating bus service?
FACT: No decisions have been made about eliminating the transportation of our students to and from school.  The district has, however, already adjusted our athletic transportation to “one-way” travel for this school year.   THIS ADJUSTMENT WILL CONTINUE NEXT YEAR.
RUMOR: WCS is cutting all Specials in the elementary schools for the 2010-2011 school year.
FACT: WCS is committed to maintaining a balanced blue ribbon education for our students through Specials (eg. Art, Music, Physical Education, Media/Technology, Spanish, and Band).  At this time, there are no plans to cut them for next year.   
RUMOR: Schools will not be cleaned this summer like they usually are.
FACT: Our schools will continue to be cleaned meeting all appropriate standards for cleanliness and safety. 
RUMOR: I heard that the district will have to cut teachers for the 2010/2011 school year in an effort to balance the budget.
FACT: There have been no decisions made on the number of any staff reductions for next year.  We are currently working with our Focus Groups to prepare recommendations for the Board of Education to consider across a wide range of DISTRICT SERVICES.
RUMOR: Have Freshman sports been cancelled for next school year?
FACT: The status of freshman sports for next year has not been finalized.  However, freshman baseball and softball were eliminated as part of this year’s budget for the 2009-10 school year.
RUMOR: I heard that the Parent focus groups, who are helping with decisions about the upcoming budget, are unbalanced.  Parent volunteers from one area of academics or student activities have more representation within the group.
FACT: There is an appropriate and healthy blend of parents from all schools and all interest AREAS in both Focus Group A and B.  THROUGHOUT the process, there have been some good conversations about what parents value for their children.   THE FOCUS GROUPS WILL ONLY MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE BOARD TO CONSIDER.  THEY WILL NOT MAKE ANY DECISIONS REGARDING THE BUDGET FOR NEXT YEAR.
RUMOR: Are pensions changed as of 2011?
FACT:  At the state level, there is currently a legislative proposal pending that makes adjustments to public school employee and other state employee pensions.  For more information, visit http://michigan.gov/orsschools

At the district level, earlier this year, all non-union Central Office Administrators, Administrative Assistants, and the Technical Production Specialist voluntarily eliminated a significant pension benefit. When a public school employee retires into the state retirement system, they are responsible for paying 10% of the cost of their healthcare with the state paying the other 90%.  Currently, in accordance with our collective bargaining agreements with our four unions, WCS pays this 10% portion for our retirees and any future retiree of the district.  THE NON-UNION CENTRAL OFFICE STAFF HAVE VOLUNTARILY GIVEN UP THIS PENSION BENEFIT.
RUMOR: Is WCS going bankrupt?
FACT: No.  However, the district will not be able to continue to operate into the future unless we are able to get more revenue from the state or reduce the cost of our employees.  If neither of those are possible, the only other option is to continue to cut programs and services for students.  In the past few years, we have been able to do a blend of the three, but it has come at the expense of using our district savings account, which is one time money used to maintain our financial stability. 
RUMOR: Fifth grade camp has already been slated as cut for next year.  If so, how much money will this actually save the district?
FACT: Through cost savings from teacher supervision, substitute teacher costs, and  transportation, WCS will save about $20,000.
RUMOR: I heard that the district is closing one or two of the high school pools and that high school swim teams will be consolidated. 
FACT: The district closed the pools this year after all swim team activity was finished in order to save energy costs.  No decision was ever made to close pools permanently or consolidate swim teams.  Pools along with all other extra-curricular programs will be addressed in the coming weeks as the district prepares the budget for next year.
RUMOR: WCS is closing schools for next year.
FACT: No decisions have been made to close any of our schools for the 2010-11 school year.  Our steady enrollment increase makes it difficult to close schools because we need the space. 
RUMOR: I heard that the administrators had all sorts of perks and special benefits.
FACT: Union administrators (principals, assistants, supervisors, etc.) have a comparable health insurance benefit package as teachers.   School administrators receive a stipend of $35 per month for a cell phone since this is the most efficient means of getting in touch with them when they are not at their desks, especially in school emergencies and crisis situations.

RESEARCH SHOWS THAT STAFF WITH CELL PHONES INCREASES THE SAFETY FOR OUR KIDS IN EMERGENCY AND CRISIS SITUATIONS.

Maintenance supervisors drive district vehicles (most of which are 8-10 years old and have over 100,000 thousand miles on them). Use of these vehicles is a negotiated benefit with the supervisors.  These vehicles allow them to get to emergency situations more quickly from their homes since they are on call 24 hours per day – 7 days per week.
RUMOR: Did the Central Administrative staff really take any concessions that save the district money?
FACT: Warren Consolidated’s superintendent and 12 non-union central office administrators, administrative assistants and technical production specialist recently agreed to new contracts with a wage freeze.  Earlier this year they had agreed to:

*pay 10% of health care premiums;
*250/500 deductibles and higher co-pays;
*forfeiting district paid health-care coverage in retirement;
*forfeiting district sponsored long-term health care

This will save the district several hundred thousand dollars over a three year period.  If all employees followed suit, the district would save $5.7 million annually.  The savings would result from:

$2.5 million – Healthcare savings
$3.2 million – Freezing contractual step increases for all employees 

Please note that the health care concession is permanent for the central office administrators but they would receive their step increase only if other employees receive theirs.  
RUMOR: Schools of Choice kids from outside the district cause overcrowded classrooms.
FACT: Schools of Choice students DO NOT cause overcrowded class sizes.  Class size maximums are bargained between the district and the Warren Education Association, the union that represents the teachers in our district.  Also, the majority of our revenue comes from the state, so additional students means additional revenue for the district.  In fact, WCS would be a noticeably smaller district with fewer resources for kids if we did not have Schools of Choice. Also, only students from Macomb County may attend WCS through Schools of Choice.
RUMOR: Why don’t you put aides in the classrooms that are overcrowded?
FACT: The administration determines how class size overages are resolved.  By union contract, teachers who have more than the maximum number of students will be given an aide or a financial stipend.  The decision to employ an aide is at the discretion of the district.  *Our original statement indicated that the decision was the teacher’s choice when in fact it is an administrative decision how class size overages are resolved.  We apologize for the previous information. 
RUMOR: Is everyone in WCS in a union?
FACT: No.  There are, however, four unions that represent most of the employees in the district.  Aside from the 12 non-union central office administrators and other staff (e.g. substitutes), the remaining employees are members of four unions who collectively bargain their wages and benefits.  The unions include:

(WAA) Warren Administrators Association – principals, directors, coordinators and supervisors
(WEA) Warren Education Association – teachers and other professional staff
ASFCME Local 1815 – clerical, childcare, and business
ASFCME Local 1346 – maintenance & custodial staff, bus drivers, cooks, technology

 
 

 


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