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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about our district-from the Superintendent

posted May 11, 2015, 7:34 AM by Kari Osborne   [ updated May 20, 2015, 8:01 AM by CEL Marketing PR Design ]

Dear Princeton Public Schools Community,
It seems that there are many rumors swirling around our community, and I thought that I would take the opportunity to answer some of them in a Frequently Asked Questions format:

1. How can we afford the new construction if we are having to do budget adjustments?
The construction is connected to our capital budget, and this funding cannot be used for salaries.

2. What happened to the resource room Gifted and Talented program through the budget adjustments?
Instead of having a resource program at two of our schools, we will be doing a number of things to expand gifted and talented opportunities at all of our schools, such as:
  • The schools will have a coordinator, focusing on a plan for each school, capitalizing upon the needs of the students. We will be looking at activities for student participation in different areas.
  • The coordinator will do trainings to help all of the teachers to be more attuned to the needs of gifted and talented students.
  • We have two full day all teacher workshops prepared which will help teachers how to perfect challenging learning progressions, challenging our top students. Teachers will also work on designing complex cognitive activities to better meet their needs. Teachers will be practicing using these skills from September through March, with coaching available.
  • We will be assessing our program components, which will be used in creating an articulated K-12 program for our students and their families.
3. Why are we introducing Spanish Immersion when budget adjustments are being done?
Spanish Immersion is one of the District Initiatives designed to recruit and retain students, since enrollment has been declining.

4. I heard that the District will be running Spanish Immersion even if only 1 student wants the program.
We have had interest from 100 families so far. These are preliminary numbers, and actual participation may be half that many.

5. Why is the District applying to the state to be an online school?
We have lost many students to online learning over the years. We plan to introduce Princeton Online Academy, beginning this fall. This program is another one of the District Initiatives to recruit and retain students. Princeton has lost kids to online learning, however other schools have also had this situation and this is a way to be competitive with other schools who are starting to offer this programming.

6. Why do people “shop” for schools?
Ever since the mid-1980’s, parents have had the option to send their children to any district they wish. That is why we need to find programs that will entice our students to stay in Princeton.

7. Why doesn’t the District just work on getting better test scores?
Actually, we have been working very hard at improving student learning, and we are making excellent progress, according to preliminary testing.

8. Why doesn’t the District market all of the wonderful opportunities that we offer, such as our ideal class size, Middle School activities and College Credits for High School students?
Another District Initiative is Marketing, and we plan to do a better job of this!

9. It seems like the District has too many administrators, and some have been added.
Actually, the District does not have many administrators, and our audit has verified this. We have not added a position, but for one year, the District combined the Director of Teaching and Learning with Technology, and this was not successful. There were many issues during that year, and so we continued the position.

10. All of this seemed to happen so fast.
In November there was a budget workshop, and Board Members were made aware of the financial situation. In December, the School Board decided to under levy the tax payers since the construction costs would be on their tax bills. During the revised budget process in March, the Board knew that our budget reserves were diminishing. In April, the decision was made to adjust the budget.

I hope that these questions help you understand our situation. As always, do not hesitate to call my office if you have any other questions. Thank you for your support.

Julia Espe, Superintendent of Princeton Public Schools