At Thursday evening’s meeting, the Davis school board trustees will hear something they haven’t heard in a while — a report that the school district’s budget situation is finally looking up, though it’s still too early to say for sure.
Associate Superintendent Bruce Colby has been delivering gloomy budget assessments for the past five years, as state cuts have reduced Davis’ funding again and again. But he’s expected to sing a different tune Thursday, thanks to the governor’s proposed new school funding formula. That plan would overhaul existing state funding by ending numerous categorical programs, which require districts to account for how state money earmarked for particular programs is spent.
Colby’s conclusion: The proposed state budget improves funding for K-12 education and the Davis school district’s budget deficit could be mitigated in the future with the likelihood of increased ongoing funding above inflation.
“If approved, this (local control funding formula) could increase the district’s annual funding level above the projected increase for inflation by $800,000,” Colby’s agenda summary states.
His observations are, as always, cautious. Colby notes that the funding formula is still only a proposal, which could be revised by the Legislature this spring. It likely will be reiterated in different form when presented again in Gov. Jerry Brown’s revised May budget. So it’s much too soon for anyone to start singing “Happy Days Are Here Again.”
Nonetheless, it does appear possible that Davis might see some increase in state funding, after five consecutive years of cuts, which have resulted in staff reductions and increased class sizes. Of course, Davis won’t know more until a new state budget is approved by the Legislature and signed by Brown.
Colby is expected to describe several budget scenarios, including one based on the old state funding formula, a second based on the proposed new formula and a third under the new formula with smaller class sizes in grades K-3.
Elsewhere on the agenda, the school board will:
* Hear a report on planning for the Davis High School commencement ceremony in June.
* Hear an update on the district’s progress in implementing the Common Core academic standards, an item carried over from the previous meeting, which ran long.
* Consider a proposed reorganization of the district’s technology department, modifying some job descriptions with new titles and duties.
* Consider increasing the hours of the King High School principal from half-time to eight-tenths of full time.
* Consider layoff notices affecting six paraeducator positions and one instructional computer specialist, totaling 4.9 full-time-equivalent positions.
* Consider proposed changes to board policy and administrative regulations relating to student athletes and alcohol/drug use. The agenda summary notes that in generations past, high school coaches were generally teachers at the high school, but now, many are drawn from the community and are not certificated teachers.
“The modifications and amendments coming before the board are a product of the input of coaches gathered through Athletic Director Dennis Foster’s leadership, Student Services’ review through all members of the secondary counseling and administrative staff, and the support and guidance of the Davis High PTA.” The local group Davis Parents DO, which seeks to educate parents about the realities of drug and alcohol use by youth, also was involved in the process
Thursday’s meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the Community Chambers at Davis City Hall, 23 Russell Blvd. The meeting will be broadcast live on Davis cable Channel 17 and as streaming video at www.djusd.tv.