Local News

School board to hear another budget update, consider adoption of strategic plan

By From page A1 | March 05, 2014

The Davis school board will hear the latest budget update from Associate Superintendent Bruce Colby, in addition to considering adoption of a proposed five-year strategic plan for the school district, and deal with several other agenda items when the trustees meet at 7 p.m. Thursday.

During the past six years of fiscal turmoil, Colby has updated the board regularly about the outlook for the school district’s budget. His theme this week might be summarized as “Good, But Not Enough.” In his agenda summary, Colby writes, “Even with a projected increase of $4.2 million next year, and expectations of future increases, demands for these new funds are significantly higher” than the uptick in the district’s revenue thus far.

Colby points to an advisory from the Yolo County Office of Education, which is charged with oversight of local school district budgets, which says, “While revenues are growing, (districts) are unlikely to have enough new money to restore all the cuts made since 2007-08, and to meet all the competing demands for increased spending.

“(District) leadership will need to proactively involve stakeholders in a transparent and inclusive (discussion of the new state-mandated) Local Control Accountability Plan and budgeting process to obtain the consensus needed to make the right investments in the educational mission while maintaining fiscal solvency and flexibility,” the county office advises.

Factors in play as the school district works on its budget included the annual May budget revision by Gov. Jerry Brown, and the final adoption of the state budget in mid- to late June. School districts need to prepare their first Local Control Accountability Plan, required under the new state education funding formula, by the end of June.

The school board also will be asked to adopt the district’s proposed strategic plan, which was developed over the past six months by a 26-member committee and several related “action teams” that worked on specific issue focus areas. The plan was reviewed by trustees at a special meeting last Thursday, and none indicated any strong reservations about approving it.

The agenda item for consideration and discussion of the strategic plan budgets just 10 minutes for the topic Thursday, an indication that a relatively brief discussion is anticipated.

In another agenda item, the board will hear an update from facilities director Mike Adell, who will outline the district’s needs in the areas of short-term and long-term maintenance needs, including repairs to roofs, heating and cooling systems; fire alarm and other safety systems; and related items.

Many of the district’s buildings are 50 years old or older. The current facilities budget contains only a modest amount of funding in comparison with the long list of maintenance needs, some of which have been deferred as state funding cuts took a toll on the budget.

Elsewhere on the agenda, the school board will:

* Recognize the King High School program, which was recently honored by the California Department Education as one of the state’s “model continuation high schools.”

* Hear a presentation on a proposed course in robotics engineering. Already reviewed by the Curriculum and Instruction Committee at Davis High School as well as district office staff, the course would include topics like mechanical design, mechanical engineering, electronics, programming, business and media.

Thursday’s school board meeting will 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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