Superintendent Winfred Roberson welcomes students, parents, teachers and staff as the new school year begins in the Davis Joint Unified School District. Classes begin Wednesday, Aug. 27.
“I am excited about the 2014-15 school year,” Roberson said. “With our road map set by our strategic planning process and Local Control Accountability Plan, we have a clear vision and set of goals. While we have some new initiatives and priorities, we continue to value what makes our district unique and a leader in the region and the state.”
Cognizant that the Davis school district’s breadth of programs and choice offerings are made possible by the ongoing support of the community through parcel taxes, volunteerism and engagement, Roberson added, “We are indebted to our community and partnerships for all the support and resources they bring to our district.”
For example, for the upcoming school year, Davis Schools Foundation will give the district $150,000, which will be evenly split to support counseling, technology and instructional aides in the elementary classrooms.
In addition to community support, the state is releasing more funds to local school districts because economic times are not as tight as they have been. The additional funds Davis is receiving are budgeted for:
* K-3 class size reduction: During the 2012-13 school year, the district averaged 29 students across transitional kindergarten to third-grade classes. Over the past year, that average dropped to 25. For 2015-16, officials expect the average to drop to 24.
While the goal is to get to that level as quickly as possible, officials want to make sure they do so in a way that serves students and their families best while also remaining fiscally responsible.
(Of note — while the overall average is coming down, the upper end of the K-3 classes will be higher proportionally as that cohort passes through the system.)
In fourth through sixth grades, the expected classroom average is 29.
* Employee compensation: Recognizing that many employees had not seen a salary increase since 2008, as part of contractual negotiations, DJUSD offered and all employees accepted a 2 percent one-time payment in 2013-14, and they will receive an ongoing 2-percent increase in compensation in 2014-15.
* Restored classified positions: During the budget crisis, classified positions were cut early and drastically. Matt Best, associate superintendent of administrative services, said, “We are very excited to see many positions restored to the district for these services. Restorations include, but are not limited to, elementary secretary time, grounds keeping and custodial staff.”
* New administrative positions: Responding to the call in the strategic planning process for greater communication as well as leadership and vision in key areas, the district took steps to restore curriculum and instruction positions as well as add a new personnel services and a part-time communications position.
* Wi-Fi: Also as part of the strategic plan, priority was placed on rolling out wireless Internet access across the district.