The meeting started about 20 minutes late (bothersome because I was rushing to get there on time) and then we listened to about 40 minutes of explanation regarding the District's budget and where, specifically, the $465 million gap was coming from next year. It was enlightening to get to see, in person, Chief Financial Officer Michael Masch (bio) explain where all the money goes to and how the State and Federal governments are pulling out QUITE a lot of money.
In the meantime, the SDP has to deal with all of this. So, they split the participants into various classrooms (divided into groups of staff, parent/community members, and students and gave us this document. What they kept emphasizing was that we were providing input into what the District would like to prioritize. Often there would be a comment or question referring to cutbacks on these programs and the District folk were VERY hesitant to use that phrase or respond directly to it.
The unfortunate thing about this document is that it does not contain an itemized list of ALL the expenditures of the District. Rent for buildings, HVAC systems, initiatives like the Renaissance program - they are not mentioned at all here. You can bet that the teachers and other staff in my breakout session brought that up.
All of these meetings and articles I am reading are really getting me to understand and believe that I need to get more involved and educated on the subject of politics at the state and federation level. I've gotten to know who my representatives are in Harrisburg (and the fact that PA is losing one very soon) and I recommend you do as well. If you want to call, email, write, text, facebook, tweet, or whatever to your representation in PA, check out this website for more info.
In the meantime, just keep updated on what's going on so that you can give an educated response to anyone discussing the School District with you in the future.