Christina Urias, the first board president of the new district, was presented with several proclamations from County and State officials, recognizing her service as president. Superintendent Alfonso Gamino presents Urias with one of several proclamations.

School board selects new officers and gets positive financial report

December 18, 2013
Santa Paula News

By Brian D. Wilson

Santa Paula Times

Trustees of the Santa Paula Unified School Board held their first reorganization meeting since the unified district took effect in July.

Christina Urias, the first board president of the new district, was presented with several proclamations from County and State officials, recognizing her service as president. The board elected Diana Ponce-Gomez, the board Vice President to the top position. Michelle Kolbeck was named as Vice President and Chris Wilson was selected to be Clerk of the board. The board also acted to change their meeting days to the first and third Wednesday of each month, starting in January.

Urias said she was “Greatly humbled” at the recognition. Recapping the first year of the district, Urias listed some of their accomplishments. “The first and foremost being the hiring of our new superintendent Alfonso Gamino,” she said. “We also started construction of the science and technology building.” She also mentioned joining the County Joint Powers Authority to protect the district from lawsuits, the selection of a new logo, the preparation of mission and vision statements, the hiring of a firm to do the master facilities plan, the hiring of a principal for Barbara Webster School and the first of three science fairs took place. She added that, “This board can be very proud of all these accomplishments during the year. We had a lot of work to do and we did it with a team spirit.”

Agriculture teacher and FFA Advisor Alex Flores appeared before the board, asking for their help.

Flores said there is an urgent matter and they need the board’s assistance. “We attend the Ventura County Fair each summer and we take 50 to 60 animals,” he said. “It’s been one of the major impacts for our program. Aside from being projects they (the students) are able to earn money. These are entrepreneurship projects that the kids invest their own money in and their own time. We’ve actually started projects already with our market beef.” He said the pigs and lambs don’t start until April. 

Flores said they’ve received an email that a limit will be put on the number of animals that can be entered. He said they were told that the reasoning is a lack of space. He told the board that they’re asking for their support in getting this decision overturned.  He added that this is going to be impacting the success of the students. The board took no action on the request.

The board approved the First Interim Report, something that is mandated by the State. Each year they must report whether or not the district can meet its financial obligations in the current fiscal year and two subsequent years. 

Trustees were told that the projected revenue for the district is now $4.5 million dollars more than the adopted budget. The increase is due to the Local Control Funding Formula, carryover money from the prior year, an increase in enrollment and the one-time common core funding of just over $1 million dollars.

The district is encouraging the families who qualify to apply for the free-reduced lunch program. The district will receive additional funding for high poverty and English Learner students as well. With the supplemental free-reduced lunch and the concentration grant for the high poverty and English Learner population the district could receive an additional amount per student of about $2,500.

In other matters, the board approved establishing three new positions. One is an office assistant at the district office to help with incoming calls, assist with parents, staff and the general public. The second position approved is a Business Services Supervisor (formerly Business Services Manager). This position was vacant due to a retirement. The third position was for a Child Nutrition Services Supervisor for Santa Paula High School. This position has also been vacant due to a retirement.

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