Winchester’s new school resource officer is trying to make sure parents know how much money their children are getting from the school district’s programs.
“When you go to the welfare office, the first thing they want to know is the cost,” said Julie Paz, the school resource office’s program manager.
“They want to be able to compare the benefit with what other families have gotten, to see what they could potentially get.”
That’s a lot of information for parents who may not be sure what the costs are of their child’s education.
For example, the state’s Department of Human Services (DHS) reports that students receive $8,700 for the first year of high school, $16,200 for the second year and $18,700 each year for the remaining two years.
That’s just the beginning.
“What we want to do is show parents how much their child is being helped,” Paz said.
“We want to provide parents with that information so that they know what to expect when they go back to school, so they can plan how they’re going to provide for their child.”
But Paz says her office is not doing everything it can to provide as accurate information as possible.
“As much as we want our parents to know how their child has been supported, we have to keep our eyes open,” Pash said.
Paz wants to keep the information out of the public eye so parents don’t get overwhelmed by the information.
She says the information is still very limited and not very well understood.
“I think people are really not comfortable with it,” she said.
The data on the state department’s website is incomplete, Paz admits, and even she admits that she doesn’t know how to make the information more complete.
“There’s still not enough information to make that information more clear,” she added.
Pash is hoping to change that soon.
“This is really our goal,” she explained.
“Right now we have information on our website, but we don’t have a lot more information out there.
So we are going to be working really hard to try to put that information out into the public domain and share that information with parents.”
The state has a plan to make this information more widely available.
The department is working with the National Institute for Workforce Education to develop a training guide for schools on how to share the information about how they are spending their funds.
Paws, meanwhile, is encouraging parents to get involved.
“Our goal is to have a community education program to educate families on how their children have been supported,” she noted.
Hopefully that will help to make their minds up.”