Sunday, May 1, 2016

Here we go again: JPS edition.

WLBT reported that JPS Superintendent Dr. Cedrick Gray was complaining about a half-million dollar cut to the JPS budget in the middle of the fiscal year:


Jackson Public School's budget will be cut by $550,000 for the last three months of this school year. JPS Superintendent Dr. Cedrick Gray spoke out about the funding and said this is based on the lack of state revenue collections.

"That is some celebratory stuff going on within Jackson Public Schools," said Dr. Gray.

Dr. Cedrick Gray was referring to the increased graduation rates, academic performance improvements and the increase in percentage of third graders passing the assessment tests. However, Dr. Gray said the momentum is put on hold as the district learns of not only the half million dollar budget cut, but another budget cut possibly coming. WLBT story.

Here we go again.  JPS griped last month that charter schools removed another half-million dollars from the JPS budget.  JJ will say now what it said two weeks ago: JPS

 shouldn't blow $1.2 million on paying off its friends and lining pockets when refinancing bonds. JJ reported in January  that JPS refinanced $118 million of 2008 bonds lasts year.  The professional service fees (bond lawyers, underwriters, and other bond pimps) were $538,416 in 2008.  However, Dr. Cedric Grey and his pals raised that cost to $1,233,824 last year*.  A difference of nearly $700,000.  $700,000 is more than $565,000 even in Common Core math.  Perhaps JPS should start looking out for the students instead of its good ole boys. 

Then there is the actual budget itself. The 2014 audit states that the revenues were $267,205,302 and expenses were $265,302,900.  The $565,000 expense is only 0.2% of JPS expenses and 0.2% of JPS revenues.  It is a rather challenged administration that can't find a way to save 0.2% of expenses but perhaps JJ is being a bit harsh.   

Keep in mind that JPS has a budget that is $24 million larger than Desoto County Public School District despite having 6,700 fewer students than DCPS.  The 2014 audit also states Desoto spends $8,059 per student while Jackson spends $10,147 per student- a difference of $2,088 per student.

However, Dr. Gray did raise another point. WLBT reported:

 "On Friday, April 22nd school districts received a notice from the Mississippi Department of Education that House Bill 1643 passed the legislature and is now pending the signature of the governor," added Dr. Gray.

Dr. Gray said this bill currently has 7.07 percent reduction from full funding for school districts starting next school year.

"The allocations for JPS is 126 million 400 thousand dollars which is a reduction of from last year's allocations of over 4.3 million dollars, a reduction," said Dr. Gray.

Dr. Gray said some very difficult decisions lie ahead that could affect you and JPS students.

 JJ will use the 2014 audit to estimate the budget for JPS.  The expenses were $265,302,900 in 2014.  A $4.3 million budget cut is.......... 1.6% of the JPS budget.  Find a competent CEO in corporate America who can't cut 1.6% of a budget that is well over $250 million and still produce positive results without all of the bellyaching.   Perhaps JPS should quit spending an extra $50,000 for "minority participation" on its waste collection contract. It could tell Tony Gaylor to give back some of his $300,000 fee and Betty Mallet some of her $100,000 fee for their "work" on the refinancing of the school bonds.  Then there is the $350,000 given to Malachi to be a "financial advisor" on the refinancing.  At least Dr. Gray failed in his attempt to pay Malachi approximately $500,000 to draft a budget and review JPS finances two years ago.

 Keep in mind JPS spends more per student than the other school districts in the Jackson metro area. See the table posted below. Dr. Gray needs to suck it up and get serious about controlling his budget instead of complaining every time he loses less than half a penny out of every dollar.


54 comments:

Anonymous said...

So, Dr. Gray puts 'momentum' 'on hold' when he learns of cuts? Is this like holding the program hostage?

He should send packing all those cronies he brought along with him and paid high salaries to when he descended upon JPS.

And will someone please tell him the Farrakhan Look-Alike Contest is OVER?

Anonymous said...

Pretty easy to see why Jackson Jambalaya readers responded so enthusiastically to help Reimagine Prep. Opportunities versus handouts and initiative versus excuses any day of the week!

Anonymous said...

2:43 People set up gofundme accounts to ask for money, which, in essence, a handout. Good try, though.

Anonymous said...

And to think, the 88.1 mill rate for JPS schools on our tax bill is going for this shit

Anonymous said...

I had lunch with a friend who teaches at JPS. He said every year they loose a month of classroom days so that students can take standardized tests. A MONTH.
When I was in high school we had 3 minutes between classes and sometimes the teacher would teach until the bell rung and THEN start telling you what your homework was. In other words they valued the student's time and did not waste it.
Don't get me wrong I am very much against paying teachers only on degrees earned and years of experience. And I agree that standardized tests scores should be used to determine teacher's pay and to show the school how to improve. BUT - we pay all these 'professionals' at the state and local level to come up with these tests and they best they can do is - give us a month for test taking.
Any private business that was run like that would be broke in no time. There should be a reasonable time allowed for standardized test, something like 3 days per year. Think about it - most high schools and college can test students on final exams in three days for all subjects.
My daughter teaches in Colorado and has the same problem. A good start might be to eliminate the Federal Dept. of Education. I do know know if they are part of the problem, but would not be surprised at all.
As concerned citizens we should be outraged at the amount of class time that is wasted on standardized tests. Design the test to be quick and effective and get on with it.

Anonymous said...

The Reimagine campaign was for a hand up, not a handout. I don't expect a lame ass apologist to know the difference.

Anonymous said...

People should be able to afford their own kids before they decide to have them. Asking other people to pay for their education is not a hand up, it is asking for a hand out. The majority of kids in Jackson schools are already supported by tax payers.

Anonymous said...

Where is the 'initiative' in having someone ask for and receive handouts on your account? I't not like they were required to actually sit down and write a thank you not.

Anonymous said...

4:19 Paying for a field trip is a handout/feel-good tax deduction (and is a good way for donors to take a dump on JPS kids, a regular occurrence in these comments) no matter how you spin it.

Anonymous said...

3:59, I call b/s on your friends counting. The public schools, nor the private schools, spend one month of classroom time for standardized tests - unless your friend is counting regular subject matter tests that he/she is too lazy to prepare on her/his own and uses a standardized test for that purpose.

But, assuming that you are referring to what used to be called 'achievement tests', ACT, SAT, etc I would want to see some real documentation over this counting, rather than listening to a teacher bitch.

Anonymous said...

Some very bitter people read and comment here. Very bitter.

Anonymous said...

The troll a-hole @ May 1, 2016 at 6:08 PM needs to show us where anyone at Jackson Jambalaya has ever "dump[ed] on JPS kids". JPS has earned all the disdain coming its way but show us specific comments jerkoff where anyone here dumps on the kids themselves. F%$kin Panty Waist.

Anonymous said...

Them folks in Clinton are doing something right!

Anonymous said...

"JPS griped last month that charter schools removed another half-million dollars from the JPS budget. "

I think this is the heart of the problem. Everyone knows money for charter schools is transferred from JPS on a per-student basis. JPS think it should be entitled to keep the money even after students have transferred to a charter school, and JPS is no longer responsible for the students' education. They want the money without doing the work, in basic terms.

Lazy frauds, and most people everywhere can see right through them (although apparently many Jacksonians can't)

Anonymous said...

1:54 How/why does Dr. Gray = Louis Farrakhan lookalike to you? Is it the bow ties? Lots of men wear bow ties. You probably wear a vest with a nametag to your job, but I wouldn't say you're a door-greeter doppelgänger.

8:09 You should probably get more fiber in your diet. An Internet comment shouldn't cause you to fly in a rage (BTW, the comment at 5:19 is an example of what you're looking for, but I guessed they earned that). And "panty waist?" How old are you, gramps?

Anonymous said...

8:09 "a-hole?" "Jerk-off?" "Panty waist?" Name calling is a sure-fire sign of a limited vocabulary, as evidenced by your insults from three generations ago (BTW, gramps, the comment at 5:19 is an example).

Anonymous said...

Wah, Wah, Wah!!! He is constantly complaining about something! The only thing he cares about is getting his paycheck.

Fill In The Circle With No. 2 Pencil said...

Shark suits, skinny stache, bowties, photo-ops = Louie the Lip Farrakhan. What's wrong with those who wear vests and name tags? Somebody has to make sure your motorized cart's battery is charged. Jeeze.

The testing sessions don't, themselves, last a month each year. It's the counselors and ancillary personnel who have to be in the testing rooms that are tied up for a month each year in preparation, planning, following federal guidelines, execution and other activities surrounding the annual exercise of evaluating these scholars.

Depending on the size of the district, the testing itself can last two weeks or more, plus make-up days for those who miss.

Anonymous said...

KF, might want to do a story about the failing school in the Delta that turned things around rather dramatically. First rate educators were brought in and money was put where it did the most good. Ask why the success was resented. Talk with Mr. Barksdale.
Maybe the description of what works and what the challenges really are will be helpful.

Kingfish said...

You are correct. Sad part is, the local school board tried to torpedo that school after all of the success took place.

Anonymous said...

2:43, the great thing about GoFundMe is you have a choice, you can give or not. For most people, we don't have the choice to pay our taxes or not. We also don't have much say in how those tax dollars are used or wasted these days.

Kingfish said...

St Andrews and Jackson Prep held funnd raising campaigns at the same time. No one criticized them here for doing so nor went to their Facebook pages and made similar remarks. Of course those schools are predominantly white so that might have something to do with why these klukkers were silent.

Anonymous said...

Jackson overall is a D, but has a few (Davis Magnet, McWillie, Casey) top-rated (statewide) elementary schools. Why is that? What has JPS done right in those schools that could be replicated elsewhere in the district? Parent involvement may have something to do with it, as Davis is by application only, and many of the students at Casey and McWillie are transfers. McWillie has more racial diversity than other JPS schools. Casey does in theory but it's really nominal. Davis Magnet is not diverse.
Is the $ per pupil cost at JPS the same for each school? (Do these three schools have more resources?_

Kingfish said...

Y'all always trot those schools out but they are special schools. If I cherry picked and put my best students (out of 29,000) into a handful of schools, I'd say the same thing. One is a magnet, one is a montessori, and another is an arts magnet or something like that.

Go look at third grade reading gate last year.

Anonymous said...

You can not blame people for not wanting to give money for schooling other people's children. We can all see how our tax money is spent by the schools. If I remember right there was a Rankin County school that wanted millions of $ for a new stadium at the same time the kids didn't even have school books.

Anonymous said...

Laugh everytime someone touts McWillie and now, beyond academics, for racial diversity too. McWillie is used by all the white folks in Belhaven, Fondren and increasingly "LeFleur East" who don't want to pay for private schooling. McWillie is their JPS "safe school". For 90+% of those white children 6th grade is the last time you'll ever see them inside a JPS school. The privates, Clinton, Madison and Rankin County schools abound with white McWillie graduates.

Anonymous said...

@3:55 / 12:55.

"The testing sessions don't, themselves, last a month each year. It's the counselors and ancillary personnel who have to be in the testing rooms that are tied up for a month each year in preparation, planning, following federal guidelines, execution and other activities surrounding the annual exercise of evaluating these scholars.

Far from being one month of "classroom days". But I guess your poor teacher crying eyes couldn't see much difference when you initially complained.

Counselors; ancillary personnel - yeah, they have to go from one classroom during their two days of testing to another classroom. That's their job. Many classrooms, many days.

Planning, preparation - uhhh, also the professional's job.

The issue you were certainly implying was that the students - you know, those who we are supposedly spending all these tax dollars to benefit - were spending one month in standardized testing. As it is, there is no more today than there was three decades ago.

No prize this time; but feel free to come back and try again later.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the C-L quaffed down gallons of Cedrick's kool-aid.

Kingfish said...

How so?

Anonymous said...

"The issue you were certainly implying was that the students - you know, those who we are supposedly spending all these tax dollars to benefit - were spending one month in standardized testing. As it is, there is no more today than there was three decades ago. "
What I know is that two different teachers have described the same problem to me. One is my own daughter who teaches in Colorado. The other has been a friend for 25 years and is a very honest person and not given to exaggeration. I did not understand all the whys and wherefores that are causing this but it seems to be two things. First there is more standardize testing being done than we we were in school. I think we all know this is true. Second is that they are going to great extremes to prevent cheating. Such as - today is the makeup day for XYZ test and we have to put the kids who have already taken the test in class rooms and leave them there all day and so they cannot go to their regular classes, etc, etc. Again, I cannot give you the blow by blow, but this guy is completely honest.
It sounded like the administrators are really dumb. My brain says - OK make up at least six or eight different versions of the test so that the entire school is not stopped for testing. They are so worried about keeping different groups of students separated from other groups that no one can go to class. Bottom line is somebody gets paid to design and administer effective tests, prevent cheating, and cause a minimal loss of class time. And they are doing a very poor job of it.

Anonymous said...

The Money JPS spends per pupil is the cost of concentrated poverty. When most (nearly all) of the students in the district qualify for free or reduced lunch (around 85%), that indicates children in poverty who will need extra services, interventions, and supports to be ready to learn. Public schooling is not a business; children are not interchangeable like car parts or wood for furniture making. Each child is different, unique, and present individual challenges that need individuated interventions.

Suburban districts don't "get it done with less" in as much as they don't deal with the challenges of a district like JPS. Why do you think Ridgeland is getting sued by HUD? Because they got caught doing what most suburban districts understand and do to keep costs lower and accountability grades higher, they simply push out or keep out as many poor/minority students as they possibly can. This isn't about "building a better mousetrap", but more about simple classist/racist segregation, plain and simple.

Until true class/racial integration takes place in Jackson, Dr,. Gray has every right to complain about every cent that the district misses out on due to "budget cuts" that simply go to fund tax cuts for corporations.

Anonymous said...

8:50 AM conveniently avoids noting that Jackson's black middle class has been storming the city exits for more than a decade now. There is nothing in Jackson to integrate.

Anonymous said...

9:23 AM conveniently ignores the notion of Class that 8:50 am mentions every time the idea of segregation was discussed.

Kingfish said...

Ignore him. He is the guy who says charter schools spend too much time on reading and math.

Anonymous said...

@Kingfish,

So, you think that drilling and killing poor black young kids (who populate most charter schools) on reading and math rudiments only (no arts integration, science integration, social studies application, etc.) without any real world connection and content is the best way to engage these at-risk kids? And you think you understand enough about education to dog Gray about his critiques and complaints about the unnecessary and truly crippling budget cuts? No wonder Mississippi has really struggled to solve its educational challenges over the years, too many non-educators assume they know more about education than trained educators. SMH!

Kingfish said...

Kids at a first grade reading level first need to learn how to read. Period. Of course arts should be a part of education. However, you are criticizing schools for spending too much time on reading when the kids they kid don't really know how to read. I love it.

Anonymous said...

Kids learn how to read when they read things that interest them. Rudiments work well for first time readers who pick it up easily. But for those who struggle, get behind, then find them selves reading grade levels below where they should, if all they did was those same elementary rudiments, then they get bored, embarrassed, and un-engaged. They need to pick up the needed reading skills as they participate in activities and engage in content that interests them, mainly arts and contemporary subject matters (creative non-fiction, poetry, music, real world problem solving, current events, etc.)

Your thinking is what keeps MS last on these educational indicators. For you, learning for the at-risk student becomes more of a punishment than a tool for empowerment. If a student doesn't get it the first time, the first way, then something is wrong with them and they don't need (or "deserve") to engage in educational or academic pursuits that interest them or they enjoy. Besides, time on task on ineffective methods doesn't help any student, much less at-risk students. Lets try something new, relative, and effective for change.
Besides, I wonder if those lovely students in Madison or Biloxi just sit and do math and reading drills all day-everyday?

Anonymous said...

Yes, by all means, let's leave it up to the professionals inside of JPS. Their outstanding record of documented success is a clear demonstration that they know what they are doing.

Anonymous said...

Before we start teaching kids art appreciation we should at least teach then to spell art.

Anonymous said...

@11:48

Right, because the professionals in Madison and Ridgeland are also very good at what they do, zoning out apartments within the city and being "attendance zone Nazi's", arresting parents who students attend the schools there out of zone. Hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it? These are just real good educational and academic interventions that address the students' weaknesses and tend to them with precision, accuracy, effectiveness and efficiency. What pedagogical or ed leadership texts or research support these interventions? (sarcasm)

Anonymous said...

8:50, please remind me again why any city would want to attract the type of student or the type of family you are talking about?

Anonymous said...

@2:08
Maybe because poor and minority people want to better themselves too? They want a piece of the "American Dream" and realize that a good education will help in that regard? Perhaps, as in Ridgeland's case, is not a question of attracting them, but serving them as citizens and constituents who already live there!?!?!?!?!

Anonymous said...

3:54, one sure way to better themselves would be to get an education no matter where they live. For many their American Dream is to sell enough dope to buy a shiny set of wheels to put on some piece of junk.

Anonymous said...

@5:02

So, can the people in Ridgeland living in the apartments that are being zoned out by the mayor and the city council get a good education at the schools in Ridgeland? Also, why is the city trying to zone them out, is it because they are trying to sell dope to put rims on a piece of junk? Have you actually even talked to any one in those situations and are trying to make it? Not all poor black folks deal drugs to buy rims. This is exactly why we need more integrated spaces, to dispel sad stereotypes people erroneously hold about "the other".

Anonymous said...

What have you done 5:26 to integrate your space?

Anonymous said...

6:37, you should know by now that the person in question is one that does not have to integrate or really do anything except complain. If you do not agree with that you will be called a racist and that will end the conversation.

Anonymous said...

@May 4 10:12,
Wow, I wonder if you really understand what racism is about. To assume that its OK to stereotype a whole group of people based on an unfounded fear and ignorance of facts is not rational and then to complain about people being called on that fear and ignorance is really just sad.

All people , based on the ideals hat this country was founded upon, have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Of course with that right comes the responsibility of discipline, diligence, and industry. But, I ask, does it cut both ways? IF want to harbor racist feelings, own up to them and be what you are. Don't cower when people call you on your ignorance.

Anonymous said...

8:59,
Of course with that right comes the responsibility of discipline, diligence, and industry.

That is the part I like. For some reason that is usually the part that is missing.

All people have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness but that does not mean people have to give it to people who will not work for it. It isn't my job to work hard for a better life then have to give part of my wealth to those who will not work at all.
If you want something, work for it. Do not expect others to give what they have worked for just so you will not yell racist.

Spend even half of the time working as you do demanding others give to you.

Anonymous said...

@ 10:05,

Are you assuming, then, that the Ridgeland zoning moves are justified? Why would you move to zone out apartments? What about the covenants and codes in Madison and Brandon that limit the size of new construction family dwellings (that effectively block any poor people from living in and benefitting from the city)? While there are bad seeds everywhere, why move to eliminate apartments or affordable housing for everyone, whether they are disciplined, industrious, or diligent or not? That is the unreasonable, indefensible racism at play here. Most poor and minority folks are honest, decent, hard working people who have a right to have their government work for, not against, them.

Anonymous said...

The covenants and codes do not block anyone from living in or building. The amount of cash does that. Anyone who will abide by the covenants and codes can live there. Might be a good idea to get a job before blaming the cities.
Take a look at the apartments in Jackson. Why would any city want such as that in their city? Cities want hard working, tax paying, law abiding people. Why would they want to bring in people who are not any of these?
You seem to have some idea the working people owe those who do not work a place to live anywhere they choose. Get a job, save your money, then buy or rent where you can afford. It isn't the job of the govt. and the taxpayers to pay for your wants. They already pay too much.
The hard working people who pay taxes have a right to what they work so hard to get. Their govt. should not be abler to take it away and give it to those who do not or will not work.

Anonymous said...

I have never understood the "poor shaming" that I see from many here in MS. The assumption is that if a person is poor, they must not work or are lazy. It's like the concept of "working poor" was never understood by the citizenry here. Simply working a low skilled, low wage job does not lift poor people out of poverty, and saving on poverty wages is impossible. Just where exactly are poor people supposed to live, get educated and thrive if they do not have access to safe, affordable housing, good schools, stable infrastructure, and quality health care?

Also, it is as if everyone who is not poor are hard working, industrious "angels" who have the right to hoard tax dollars and therefore government services and supports from the poor. When private businesses benefit from government supports (tax credits, government contracts, etc.), the government is lauded for "smart investment" and "forward thinking". Yet, when the government wants to do the same for poor people to help them rise out of poverty, all of the sudden that same government is "inefficient" and "wasteful". This thinking is shaded by notions of "deservedness" that are characterized by classism and racism. The issue isn't government support for citizens, it is government support for "certain" citizens.

If nothing else, how does this thinking help MS rise from the bottom of most social and economic indices? Without social mobility for a wider sector of Mississippians, MS will continue to be "Mississippi".

Anonymous said...

Most poor and minority folks are honest, decent, hard working people who have a right to have their government work for, not against, them.

Then why do so many of the honest, decent, hard working poor and "minorities" remain in Jackson?

Anonymous said...

@1:35

Some happen to like jackson and want to live here. Others may want to move but they can't afford a 2,000 square foot house in Madison and Brandon because they don't have access to job/career that pays a living wage. This results from a lack of a quality education due to the concentration of poverty in Jackson. Poor people have to live where they can afford. So long as the other bedroom communities in the metro area keep zoning out affordable housing for poor people, where can they go?

Anonymous said...

People may be poor. People may be forced to live in Jackson. Being poor is not a good career choice and living in Jackson is not a good choice. If the people in Jackson are good people why is the crime rate so high? Why do the kids carry guns to school? Why do they elect crooks?
There is a difference in being poor and being trash. People in Jackson are not forced to commit crimes, they choose to commit crimes. They even want to be allowed to go out of Jackson to other cities, commit crimes, and be free to run to Jackson for shelter.
Being poor has nothing to do with it. There are plenty of poor people in other cities.

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In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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