As the saga of CMS' $100 million budget shortfall unspools, readers regularly send us their questions about why it's happening and their suggestions about what they'd do if they were in charge. One recent e-mail seemed interesting, given the toxic relationship of late between the school system's top brass and many of its teachers.
A reader named Jean Tate e-mailed the following note:
"A friend shared that in a system she once worked in ( I think it was in Texas), all central office staff ( including the superintendent) had to sub at area schools for 4 days per year. The system saved a ton of money on subs and the "ivory tower" got a dose a reality that helped everyone. I think this is a great idea for CMS. They could assign people different weeks, so no one department was overburdened at any given time -- and it would save a lot of money. I think it would improve relationships and maybe open the eyes of some of those gone from the school building for a little too long."
To be sure, CMS administrators and central staff personnel are in the schools daily. Asked about Tate's idea, CMS spokeswoman LaTarzja Henry responded:
"CMS central office staff is actively engaged in functions at each of the 178 schools in the district. In fact, area offices have moved to school-based locations to better serve their school populations. On any given day, you’ll find central office staff on school campuses coordinating programs, proctoring exams, conducting walk-throughs, providing training, supporting school staff, volunteering and documenting school events. It is our direct service to schools and active participation in school functions that allows central office staff to better understand and serve the needs of the district."