www.ambiente.us    DECEMBER | DICIEMBRE 2009

EDITORIAL | The right thing to do| Top Miami-Dade schools
officials give up some pay to help district
by Herb Sosa

The Miami-Dade School Board, superintendent and cabinet members will give up some
pay to support the cash-strapped district.

This past week, members of the Miami-Dade County School Board elected to give up 10
days of pay to help the district keep administrative costs down. Superintendent Alberto
Carvalho also turned down a salary raise said he would also decline $30,000 in
benefits compensation, instead offering the money to the district's foundation for new
education initiatives.

At a time when Miami-Dade students outperformed their peers in most major U.S.
cities, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago on the national math exam this
year, budgets and how they are spent is of utmost focus & concern.   What's more,
Miami-Dade's Hispanic students had the highest scores of Hispanic students in any of
the big cities.  There is definitely a direct link between good administration, appropriate
budgeting and students performances.
When asked about the School Boards top ranks give back, Carvalho said ``If we're
asking for a collective sacrifice, mine ought to be bigger than anyone else's.''

The board members decided to give up 10
days because the district offices will be
closed for 10 days during the holiday break.
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Board Vice Chairwoman Perla Tabares
Hantman, who asked board members to
sacrifice some of their pay earlier this
year, was pleased by the outcome of the
meeting.

``You lead by example,'' she said. ``We
are here in a very difficult financial time.''

Some district employees, however, will
see their compensation increase in the
New Year.

The board voted to offset the cost of
health insurance for principals, assistant
principals and district administrators.

The adjustment will not exceed the
average pay raise given to teachers,
which was about 1.8 percent.
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The dozen members of Carvalho's cabinet -- the dozen highest-ranking schools officials -- turned down the
compensation adjustment.

``It was the people in the field who really needed it,'' Deputy Superintendent Freddie Woodson said. ``It was
the right thing to do.''
Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) is a public
school district serving Miami-Dade County, Florida.
Founded in 1885, it is the largest school district in Florida
and the fourth largest in the United States, with a student
enrollment of 379,155 as of May 18, 2009.

The district is also the second-largest minority public school
system in the country, with 62% of its students being of
Hispanic origin, 26% African American, 9% Non-Hispanic
White, 1% Asian or Pacific Islander and less than 2% of
other minorities.  Miami-Dade County Public Schools is also
one of a few public school districts in the United States to
offer optional International Studies Programs and bilingual
education. Bilingual education is offered in both Spanish,
Haitian Creole, and Mandarin. MDCPS is the only school
district in Florida to offer bilingual education in Mandarin.

Miami-Dade’s children deserve the best education we can provide.  
If the Miami metropolitan area is to be taken seriously as the business,
cultural & financial Capital of the Americas, education must lead the way.  

It is the responsibility of these elected officials –whom we trust with our children’
s future, tax dollars, and their appropriate development, investment &
distribution – to do right by our students.

We applaud Superintendent Alberto Carvalho and the Miami-Dade Public
School board and encourage them to do even more.


References: schooldigger.com, Miami-Dade Public Schools,Miami Herald
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U.S. News & World Report 2010 AMERICA'S BEST HIGH SCHOOLS
Gold Medal Rank

Of the 21,786 public high schools examined by U.S. News and its partner in the
project, School Evaluation Services, 1,750 were recognized for considerably
outperforming their state's standards. In that group, there were 561 schools that
also were found to be doing an excellent job of preparing students for
college-level coursework. California leads the nation this year with 110 high
schools that earned recognition, followed by New York (53 schools), Texas (50
schools), Illinois (37 schools), Florida (24 schools), and Massachusetts (21
schools).


2010 AMERICA'S BEST HIGH SCHOOLS Gold Medal Rank
#15 - Design and Architecture Senior High School (Miami, Fla.