Budget vote postponed
As it turned out, it was overly ambitious to expect the Baltimore school board to vote on next fiscal year's budget at its April 8 meeting. The item has been pulled from tomorrow night's school board agenda.
The board can't approve the budget until it has resolved the issue of student "weights" -- in designating money per pupil, how much extra to give to kids who are struggling and to kids who are gifted, and how to define what kids are in what categories. It will hold a special work session on Thursday afternoon (
12:30 to 2:30 p.m. noon to 2 p.m. in room 301 at North Avenue, if anyone wants to sit in). It's sounding likely that there will be another special meeting next week to adopt the funding formula and the budget, as well as an accountability structure spelling out the consequences for principals if their schools aren't successful under the new autonomy model.
UPDATE, 4/8: There will be a special board meeting at 6 p.m. April 15 to vote on the budget and the student weights. To clarify what some of the commenters have said: There isn't any doubt that decentralization and school-based budgeting is where the district is going. The delay is over the finer points of how much money to designate for particular students, not the overall direction. Also, because the student weights aren't set yet, the amount of money that schools will receive per pupil isn't set, either. So it's premature for schools to be finalizing their budgets because they don't know yet how much money they'll be getting.
In response to the commenter who said Dr. Alonso is entertaining other job offers: I asked him about it this morning and his response was a laugh. He wondered where in Florida he's supposedly thinking of going. He thought a more likely rumor would be that he's going to become superintendent in Newark, since the job is open and his family is in New Jersey. But he insists none of it is true and says he's committed to being in Baltimore for a decade.