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MDUSD Parent Advisory Council to discuss budget, PE program and strategic planning tonight

By Theresa Harrington
Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 at 6:42 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

The Mt. Diablo school district’s Parent Advisory Council will meet at 7 p.m. tonight in the district office board room at 1936 Carlotta Drive in Concord.

Here is the agenda:

“I. Welcome and Introductions

II. Budget

III. P.E. Program

IV. Strategic Planning

V. Other”

In addition, I have received copies of the draft minutes from the January and February meetings, which are posted below.

“SUPERINTENDENT’S PARENT ADVISORY COUNCIL – MINUTES
Wednesday, January 4, 2012

District Staff
Steven Lawrence, Superintendent
Loreen Joseph, Admin. Asst. to the Supt.

Board Members
Lynne Dennler
Sherry Whitmarsh

Union Representatives
Mike Langley, President, MDEA

Parents
Cathy Boer, Ygnacio Valley High
Linda Law, Foothill Middle
Linda Locke, Northgate
Megan Madahar, Mt. Diablo Elem
Faye Mettler, Walnut Acres Elem
Jill Newquist, Sequoia Elem
Sue Noack, Strandwood Elem
John Pamer, Silverwood Elem
John Parker, Mt. Diablo High
Carlee Smith, Monte Gardens & Sequoia Middle
Tricia Tamura-Li – CAC
Dorothy Weisenberger, Valhalla

Budget
Superintendent Lawrence gave an update on the budget and provided handouts to the Parent Advisory Committee. He explained why the ending balance is higher than what was projected last year. Some of the reasons include unanticipated funding such as $1.4 million in unfunded mandate funding received from the State. This is because the District has to document hours and cost of State mandates, i.e. bargaining. Firms are hired to submit the report with all the data to the State. The District can’t budget for this because it’s not known what amount we will receive from the State. The District also received $.5 million in Class Size Reduction funding, $200,000 in additional lottery funding, and an additional $1 million added together from multiple State funding sources. An additional $125,000 in Redevelopment Agency (RDA) funds, and lease and rental agreements were received as well. However, the District will no longer be receiving RDA funds.

A significant reduction of actual expenditures occurred as well. Additional State stabilization funds were used to offset certificated salaries. The District received a cap on benefits and had a carryover of School Library Book Grant (SLBG) funds. We were able to reduce consultant budgets and also generated a savings in utilities.

Lawrence explained that the District needs to maintain a ‘healthy’ reserve beyond the required 2 percent because the State continues to defer funding. In the last four years we’ve had significant mid-year reductions which resulted in the layoff of employees. The goal of having a healthy reserve allows mid-year reductions to be avoided.

The governor has come out with a tax proposal which analysts believe would generate $7 billion annually. If it passes it won’t be implemented until April or May of 2013. It would not be budgeted for next year, because the district expends money, but doesn’t receive funds from the state until the following year.

If it’s assumed that there are no more furlough days and the Clayton Valley charter is approved, the district would still be spending down $11 million of the reserve over the next two years. All numbers will change based on the January 10 Governor’s proposal. The superintendent will share in February what the budget will look like in March.

Other
PAC members shared highlights from their schools.”

“SUPERINTENDENT’S PARENT ADVISORY COUNCIL – MINUTES
Wednesday, February 1, 2012

District Staff
Steven Lawrence, Superintendent
Loreen Joseph, Admin. Asst. to the Supt.
Julie Braun Martin, Asst. Supt.
Rose Lock, Asst. Supt.
Jeanne Duarte Armas, Director English Learner Services

Board Members
Linda Mayo
Sherry Whitmarsh

Union Representatives
Mike Langely, President, MDEA

Parents
Cathy Boer, Ygnacio Valley High
Linda Law, Foothill Middle
Linda Locke, Northgate
Megan Madahar, Mt. Diablo Elem
Jill Newquist, Sequoia Middle
John Pamer, Silverwood Elem
John Parker, Mt. Diablo High
Cindy Rubin, College Park High
Joanna Sibley, Valle Verde Elem
Tricia Tamura-Li – CAC

I. English Learner Master Plan
Jeanne Duarte-Armas, Director, English Learner Services, presented a PowerPoint on the draft EL Master Plan. She shared that the Master Plan will define effective programs for English Learners and ensures that they are appropriate. The plan will be unique to the needs of Mt. Diablo Unified School District and will be consistent with board policy, law, and community needs. She gave copies of the fifth draft of the Master Plan to PAC members and asked that they provide feedback to the Task Force by February 10. She explained that she, Rose Lock, and Carmen Garces serve as advisors only and are not members of the Task Force.

Ms. Duarte-Armas introduced Jazmin Llamas-Morales, Hidden Valley Elementary School parent and the District Language Advisory Committee (DLAC) president. Ms. Llamas-Morales shared her experience as a student going through school having trouble understanding what was being taught because she did not speak English at that time. She said the plan will help all non-English speakers, not only those whose primary language is Spanish.

Rose Lock, Assistant Superintendent, said that feedback can be given via Survey Monkey on the website.

II. STRATEGIC PLAN
PAC members were given copies of the District’s draft strategic plan. The plan shows what the board has agreed to, to date. The next study session on the District’s strategic plan will be held on February 22. The community will have an opportunity to provide input at that meeting. After the plan has been approved by the board, it will become part of the district’s goals and will be filtered to the school sites. PAC members were asked to email their comments to Sherry Whitmarsh.

III. Budget
Superintendent Lawrence presented a PowerPoint on the district’s budget. He explained in detail why last years ending balance was higher than expected. Part of the reason being that the district held off on spending and budgeted for a cut of $300 ADA, which turned out to be $13, plus half of transportation.

He shared that the governor has said he wants to continue to fund schools. However, trigger cuts were created, but limited. Teachers and administrators have to be notified in March of the possibility of layoff, so only classified employees can be laid off mid-year. The reason to keep a cash reserve above the required 2 percent, is that the $6 million reserve would only cover eight days of salaries. If the state were to run out of money, the District wants to be able to continue to pay employees while avoiding taking out a short term loan, which would incur interest.

Lawrence explained that approximately five years ago, the District received notice from the IRS that there were irregularities around retiree benefits and we were required to put $850,000 aside for penalties. Since then, the district’s penalties have been reduced significantly, mainly because of the work of Chief Business Officer Bryan Richards. The penalty is now only $3,750. However, $533,000 will continue to show on the books until the district receives notice from the IRS that it can be removed.

Lawrence encouraged parents to contact state representatives to share their concerns of any further reductions to education.”

Do you believe this council provides a valuable service?

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