Dr. John Strycker
May 23, 2018
Last issue for the summer until mid-July
The Difference between The Butler County Commitment and My Commitment
As we head into summer I feel it is important to define the difference between The Butler County Commitment and my personal commitment. In fact, I feel it vital that my community understands my heart and my intentions for coming to Butler County and my hopes in moving forward.
During the Superintendent interviews in February of 2017, The Butler County Board of Education asked me why I was moving from Michigan and seeking this position. I explained that my wife, Debra, and I just got married after reuniting at our 30 year class reunion in Plymouth, Indiana. “Debbie” didn’t want to move to the cold north after living in North Carolina for the past several years. I went on to explain how I was blessed to be able to retire from Michigan, where I had served as a Superintendent for the past 13 years.
What I don’t recall sharing during the Board interview was the strong faith in God that Debra and I have which has guided our decisions. Truth be known…after our tour of the district, the interview process and personal prayer, there was no question in our minds that God had a specific purpose for a girl who has lived in North Carolina for several years and a boy from Michigan to come to Butler County, Alabama.
My commitment (Debra and I): After almost 25 years in school administration, I am convinced that there are no quick fixes. True and lasting change comes from creating a culture of excellence and creating a culture of excellence takes time. Presently, we are a “D” district and I believe we are much better than that – I am certain we are!
Debra and I have committed at least 10 years to this school community. After my retirement from Michigan, I had a shift in mindset. I no longer sought a career in school leadership; but, desired a mission in school leadership. With such a mindset, my career building was over. The resume is put away and our sleeves are rolled up. We are ready to do the difficult work of building our school community with our children as the central focus. Debra and I have demonstrated this focus and our commitment through our actions. While this is my personal commitment to Butler County, it has shaped my vision for Butler County Schools.
The Butler County Commitment:
- An “Old School” approach to education which includes ensuring that students have their basic needs met, that buildings are safe and clean and that students are well-disciplined lead by staff who are committed.
- Teach K-6 students solid leadership skills at the elementary level as part of the elementary school culture (The Leader in Me program).
- All 7-12 students participate in at least one extracurricular activity each year without having to pay a fee as part of a graduation requirement. When kids connect to something positive on a regular basis, outstanding student performance outcomes will result.
Bullet-Point information regarding the upcoming Ad Valorem proposal:
- The school system ranks 133 out of 137 school systems in the state in terms of local funding support.
- The school system has unusually high debt-per-student at $10,950 per student.
- The State of Alabama ranks 50 out of 50 in the US in terms of property tax revenue per-capita.
- The current fund balance is at the “low end of healthy” according to the State.
- The county has a current Ad Valorem tax rate of 12 mills compared to the State average of 18.2 mills.
- The 6 mill increase (18 mills) would equate to $3.75 per month tax increase for the average homeowner in the community with a house Fair Market Value of $75,000.
I wish everyone a safe and blessed summer - John