DESE is counting Lindbergh on formula in 2018, not hold harmless


To the editor:

I found the May 16 article about free full-day kindergarten in Lindbergh Schools to be quite interesting and unfortunately misleading. 

I have lived in the district for a few years and also paid the $3,500 to send my child to full day kindergarten. I now understand why some residents of the district have found it frustrating to deal with the administration of Superintendent Jim Simpson over the years.

I questioned his statements about Lindbergh being a hold harmless district as I felt certain I had heard last year that the district had moved to formula funding. Not being sure of where the superintendent obtained his information, I decided to inquire as to the district’s status. I called the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, or DESE, on May 17 and spoke to one of the lead employees in the school finance department.

Here is what I learned: 1. As of June 2017 and for all of this school year, Lindbergh has been a formula district. 2. As opposed to the $640 per student the district would receive under hold harmless, Lindbergh receives $832 per student. 3.  DESE shows the district with 6,327 students. 4. These numbers change monthly but as of the state’s March deposit, Lindbergh was on track to receive roughly $1,526,000 more as a formula district than a hold harmless district.

The numbers are important especially in light of the fact that Dr. Simpson claims the dollars are not there. But even more important is the need for the district to have a lead administrator who will be straightforward and transparent with the facts so confidence in leadership can be renewed. We have a lot of work to do.

Norah Shambaugh