Increased state funding, which will allow the Davis school district to begin reducing class sizes in kindergarten through third grade, is forecast in the district’s 2013-14 budget. Trustees are scheduled to approve the budget at their meeting Thursday, which will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Community Chambers at City Hall, 23 Russell Blvd.
The board faces a lengthy agenda, with so many items scheduled for the closed session portion of the meeting that the starting time for open session has been pushed back from 7 to 7:30 p.m.
The open-session agenda is also loaded with items, including:
* Approval of the school district’s 2013-14 budget. Since the details of the state budget approved Friday by legislators are still emerging, the spending plan that will go before trustees Thursday is based on the most recent state information available. Gov. Jerry Brown has yet to sign the state budget.
As Thursday’s agenda summary notes, “The district could receive $1.6 million to $1.7 million of increased funding for next year” due to the improved outlook for education funding in the state budget. “This (new) funding will be used to cover inflation increases, program cost increases and statutory cost increases. It will also be used to start the restoration of class size reduction for K-3 classes toward the new state target of 24 students per class.”
California law requires school districts to have a balanced budget in place by June 30, which is also the deadline for the governor to sign the budget. A second version of the school district budget, reflecting the figures in the state spending plan that the governor eventually signs, will come before the board for approval at a later date.
* Hold the state-mandated annual public hearings for Community Facilities District No. 1, Community Facilities District No. 2 and two school parcel taxes — Measures C and E. Each of these public hearings will be followed by a motion to set the tax rate for the coming year for these items.
The proposed tax rates are $189.74 per special tax unit for CFD No. 1; 56.64 cents per square foot for residential property and 8.49 cents per square foot for commercial/industrial property for CFD No. 2; $157.30 per unit for multi-unit dwellings and $327.04 for other properties for Measure C; and $20 per unit for multi-unit dwellings and $204 for other properties for Measure E.
* Consider authorization of a 2013-14 Tax Revenue Anticipation Note, which is essentially a form of short-term borrowing, as a cash management strategy for the coming year. The school district has authorized TRANs several times in recent years.
The majority of the district’s revenues come from the state, and are paid in two installments, in January and April. But during the recent state budget crisis, some funding was deferred throughout the fiscal year and crossing fiscal years. At the same time, school district cash expenditures, primarily payroll, are spread fairly evenly throughout the year. Due to the state deferrals, the district’s cash reserves are projected to be negative during October, November, December and March, necessitating the request for authorization of a TRAN.
* An update on the Davis High School athletic department, which includes some 1,300 student-athletes, more than 150 coaches, 27 sports and 44 teams.
* Consider a recommendation on a strategic planning facilitator to work with the district in developing a districtwide strategic plan. Superintendent Winfred Roberson is recommending Kathleen Ohm, director of the Planning Center at the Association of California School Administrators. The position will involve a cost in the range of $40,000 to $50,000.
* Consider a request from Roberson to restore a full-time administrative position at the district office “for services that support student learning.” In 2008-09, Davis eliminated the position of director of curriculum and instruction, along with the equivalent of another 2.2 full-time administrative positions, in an effort to “avoid financial disaster with the belief that (the cuts were) unsustainable but necessary in the short term,” according to the agenda.
“These reductions helped the district meet its immediate financial needs but did not best serve the students, families and school site staffs that rely on district office services,” the agenda continues.
Restoring a district office administrative position “does not require additional funding, nor does it increase general budget expenditures; it reallocates existing funds to better serve student learning needs in the district,” the agenda notes. The proposed title for the position would be “director of curriculum and learning.”
* Consider a consent calendar containing 28 items, including a salary schedule that restores a 2 percent pay cut that district administrators took during the state budget crisis.
The closed session agenda, which is discussed by the school board in private, includes a conference with legal counsel regarding the lawsuit brought by Jose Granda and others in Yolo Superior Court against the school district’s Measure E parcel tax.
Last week, the California Supreme Court let stand a decision in a case involving a parcel tax in the Alameda Unified School District, and that case is widely thought to have implications for the Davis tax. It is possible there will be public comment on Measure E during Thursday’s open session.
The meeting will be carried live on Davis cable Channel 17 and as live streaming video at www.djusd.tv.
— Reach Jeff Hudson at email@example.com or 530-747-8055.