SLV School District Perspectives
School Board Meeting Synopsis
February 2, 2005
Link To SLVUSD Web site Agendas and Minutes Page (Note: These are PDF files - read this if you have trouble opening them). Minutes are posted after they are approved, usually at the next regular meeting.
Note from Laura About These Synopses (Basically, I report on what I think will be most interesting to community residents. Consult the minutes for a more complete listing of what happened in the meeting.)
The board had no report out of closed session, which was listed on the agenda as follows:
Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release (Government Code 54957)
Labor Negotiations Compensation for Represented and Unrepresented Employees (Government Code 54957.6)
Real Property Transactions
(Government Code 54956.8)
There was no general community input at this meeting.
The high school students have raised over $2000 for tsunami victims. The charter Science Fair will be Feb. 7 and BCE Science Fair Feb. 8.
Ms. Sprenger and Ms. Dakota attended a "Go For Health" meeting on childhood obesity reduction which included many of our elected officials. Childhood overweight and obesity is a problem in our county, affecting 25% of our kids. Santa Cruz County is one of the worst in the state on this problem. Ms. Sprenger noted that children's "screen time" (TV, computers, video games) is way up from 10 years ago.
The Superintendent has put together a "State of the District" report and presented it to staff. Soon she will present it to interested parents. Basically, a lot of the news is grim.
On the good side, we're holding our own with the District's goals of improving student achievement, improving communication with families and the community, and running effective and efficient operations. Test scores are generally up. Parent satisfaction is high.
On the down side, our enrollment is continuing to decline, with a loss of more than $5000 per student (example: we lost 150 students this year, which decreased our budget by about $750,000. As birth rates continue to go down, this trend is likely to continue for the next few years at least. Although it's interesting to note that almost half of the school districts in California are in the same boat, as a small district we are presented with unique budgeting problems as a result of the loss. Additionally, decisions made at the State level keep snatching more money out of our budget (I'm writing an article about this which should be up by the end of February). Of course, the burden is being borne by our teachers, staff, and children. On the other hand, our financial management has been continually praised by the County and so far we are keeping our heads above water. If you see Edith Henden, give her a big pat on the back!
In related news, the County Office of Education gave our latest financial report a positive certification, but with a warning to plan for the point where Monterey Bay academy (with its 220 students) leaves the District, as all out-of-District charters must by State law.
Eric Mandel, Director of Transportation, reported that this year, though a combination of raising bus fees and cutting costs, the District will save between $44,000 and $59,000.
Program to start next week, estimated to save the District around $4000 annually in reduced dump fees. Student groups will by collecting and turning in containers, and the money will be used for student activities. The District will take care of paper products as part of its regular garbage runs.
Recommendation for Improving Financial Position of Child Nutrition Services Program
As reported at the last meeting, CNS has not been meeting its goals for this year. The cafeterias are underutilized and are losing money. Hiring a consultant to help us meet our goals was proposed and passed. If we keep losing money, the District will not be able to sustain the program. It will just have to make sack lunches for the free lunch program, and not do anything else. They will not do this until the FCMAT suggestions have been tried. Ms. Dakota, who has investigated the program, and Vera (the head of the program) agree that the problem is not lack of effort on the part of the staff. They are considering ditching Sodexho and moving to Food Co-op next year as well as trying new menus and surveying the kids.
Meeting was adjourned at 7:55 PM.