Is Pinellas backing off cuts to academic coaching supplements?
Quietly, superintendent Julie Janssen's plan to ax the hefty academic coaching supplements in four marquee magnet programs has gone from a done deal in May to not being included on the most recent list of proposed cuts.
The district announced May 10 that the coaching supplements would be gone, effective this fall. And the idea was included on at least two lists of proposed budget cuts after that date. But on the more-or-less-final list presented to the school board at Tuesday's workshop, it was nowhere to be found.
District spokeswoman Andrea Zahn told the Gradebook that discussions about the coaching supplements - which drew cheers from some quarters, and jeers in others - are ongoing, and will continue in the bargaining process with the teachers union. In the meantime, though, the proposed cut will not be reflected in the proposed budget when it's put together in the next two weeks, she said.
As far as we can tell, other proposed cuts that are negotiated items - furloughs, changes to health insurance - will be reflected in that budget. The academic coaching cuts would have save $650,000.
Adding to the intrigue: Janssen had a meeting about academic coaching last week. The invitees included two IB teachers and the IB coordinators from both St. Petersburg High and Palm Harbor University High; two non-IB teachers (one from Dunedin High and one from Hopkins Middle); PCTA reps; and district staffers. "They discussed the coaching model and the benefits to IB students and how a similar model could benefit nonmagnet students," Zahn wrote in an e-mail.