Local News

School board to discuss budget, accountability plan and hear AIM/GATE update

By From page A1 | June 18, 2014

Summer, when most schools are out of session, is theoretically a slow season for school board meetings. But the Davis school board faces a substantial agenda on Thursday night.

It includes a public hearing on the school district’s $73 million “adoption budget” for 2014-15, which will allow the district to meet the state requirement that school districts have a budget in place by June 30, and is based on the latest information available to district staff when it was drafted earlier this month.

However, it does not reflect all the elements in the state budget approved by the California Legislature just hours before Sunday’s deadline. The budget has not yet been signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

As Associate Superintendent Bruce Colby told the school board trustees last month, the new state budget is something of a good news/bad news situation — the good news being that Davis stands to get about $4 million more in ongoing funding next year from the state, and the bad news being that the state is asking school districts to pay more into the State Teachers Retirement System and Public Employees Retirement System.

“The challenge for all districts is that the cost of these (retirement) programs comes from general revenues, and the state is not proposing any additional funding at this time to cover the (retirement cost) increases at this time,” the agenda summary notes. “These proposed increases without additional projected funding from the state will consume a substantial amount of projected growth funding from the (state’s) Local Control Funding Formula.”

The board also will hold a public hearing on the school district’s proposed Local Control Accountability Plan, which is the accountability component of the new school finance funding formula. Davis’ LCAP has been discussed at a series of meetings that have been held since September.

The plan that will be reviewed Thursday is a 52-page document that identifies goals — and how those goals can be met — for a variety of programs around the school district. Trustees are scheduled to vote on the plan at their June 26 board meeting.

The board also will hear an update regarding the district’s AIM department and the superintendent’s AIM Advisory Committee’s work during the just-concluded school year. AIM is short for Alternative Instructional Model, the new moniker for GATE, the Gifted And Talented Education program.

The board will review the committee’s recommendations covering flexible grouping in math classes, and recommendations for AIM professional development.

Regarding professional development, the draft document recommends “that the district provide teacher support and training focused on differentiation so that all teachers are equipped to effectively meet the learning needs of all students, including those identified as gifted.”

“Increasing the use of differentiation techniques will improve student performance and outcomes in self-contained and non-self-contained classes for students who are GATE-identified and/or high-achieving in math. The committee recognizes that individual teacher training needs will vary and, thus, recommends that the district offer a variety of professional growth options, including classes and workshops offered by the district, the California Association for the Gifted, various colleges and other service providers, as well as additional peer collaboration time with the sole purpose of allowing teachers to plan and observe one another.”

The committee recommends that each site explore the implementation of flexible grouping practices in math “that will meet the unique their needs of students.” Seven more specific recommendations are included.

Thursday’s agenda also contains:

* An update on district complaint procedures.

* A resolution formally authorizing Certificates of Participation, borrowing against future revenues from the school district’s Community Facilities Districts, to raise up to $28 million for deferred maintenance and repair projects around the school district. This matter was discussed at the June 5 school board meeting.

* Approval of contract addendums for three senior administrators — Associate Superintendent of Business Services Bruce Colby (at a salary of $185,973), Associate Superintendent of Instructional Services and Elementary Education Clark Bryant ($136,553), and Associate Superintendent of Administrative Services Matt Best ($136,553).

These salaries represent the same 2 percent salary increase that was agreed to in negotiations with the Davis Teachers Association and the California School Employees Association earlier this year. Colby will be under contract through 2017; Bryant and Best through 2016.

Thursday’s school board meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in the Community Chambers at Davis City Hall, 23 Russell Blvd. The meeting will be carried live on Davis cable Channel 17, and as streaming video at www.djusd.tv.

— Reach Jeff Hudson at [email protected] or 530-747-8055.

Jeff Hudson

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