SPUSD looking at establishing
more administrative, teaching
and classified positions

June 11, 2014
Santa Paula News

The Santa Paula Unified School District is proposing the establishment of administrative, teaching and classified positions for the 2014-2015 school year, many of them refilling positions eliminated by earlier budget cuts.

The district expects to receive about $4 million in the next school year under the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and as much as $17.8 million dollars over the next three years. Assistant Superintendent Donna Rose said the implementation period for the funding stretches out over eight years and will continue indefinitely under the Governor’s plan to restore funding taken away from the State’s schools in recent years. Changes in the State budget or the economy could alter the amounts. In addition they are looking at other funding sources, such as federal money in the amount of $10.2 million coming in over the next three years.

The new positions, are contingent upon the adoption of the District’s proposed Local Control Accountability Plan, which comes up for a second public hearing on June 18.

There are two administrative positions proposed. One is another Assistant Principal at Santa Paula High School ($120,000). The other is an Assistant Principal at Glen City Elementary School ($100,000).

There are 23 certificated positions including teachers, reading intervention specialists, counselors, PE teachers, a technology/professional development teacher and an increase to the elementary music program. The total price tag is placed at $1.95 million.

As for classified positions, about 18 are being proposed. They carry a cost of about $775,000.

As part of the (LCFF), school districts, county offices of education and charter schools are required to develop, adopt, and annually update a three-year Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP), beginning on July 1, 2014, using a template adopted by the California State Board of Education (SBE). 

The LCAP is required to identify annual goals, specific actions  and measure progress for student subgroups across multiple performance indicators, including student academic achievement, school climate, student access to a broad curriculum, and parent engagement. School districts and charter schools are required to obtain parent and public input in developing, revising and updating LCAPs.

The district started gathering input in October of last year with opportunities for parents, students, staff and the community to share information and to discuss the State priorities. In January a series of meetings was scheduled at each school site to facilitate community participation. A survey was posted on the district website in both English and Spanish. The survey had 14 questions on a variety of topics. Some 200 people responded to the survey. After gathering input from many sources, everyone was given an opportunity to comment during the first public hearing on June 4.

Several people did comment at the hearing. Band Director Doug Kadansky said he was speaking on behalf of the fine arts department. “When you look at the LCAP vision for the District fine arts, as part of the school district, appears to be under represented, unidentified,” he said. “The fact that it is not specifically in the LCAP gives us some concern.” He noted that when he took over the band there were about 58 students in the band. “Right now we’re looking at 117,” he added. He told the board that he needs money for uniforms and at least $30,000 for instruments.

Connie Tushla said she had just become aware of the LCAP plan. She said she strongly supports two concepts in the plan. One is to have every child being able to read at grade level by the third grade. “I feel this goal should absolutely be front and center,” she said. As a member of the Police and Fire Foundation, she said she strongly supports funding two police resource officers, one for the high school and one for Isbell Middle School. Talking about the general budget she said she would like to see additional funding in three areas: 1. high school sports programs, covering all sports equipment and sports development needs. 2. Air conditioning, short and long term plan. 3. Additional programs for gifted students.

Chamber of Commerce CEO Fred Robinson said a successful businessman or woman requires a good education. “We want that to happen in Santa Paula,” he added. He said the Chamber would be communicating on how they can help the district build a better education for Santa Paula’s kids.

Board Member Michelle Kolbeck said the 45-page LCAP plan is difficult even for lawyers to read. She said she hopes they will continue to downsize the document. “I think fewer words is sometimes easier,” she added. She also said, “As an elected official I think it’s very important that we set up a Citizen Advisory Committee to watch over the LCAP.” In addition she talked about the track team only being able to raise enough money to take half the track team to meets. She suggested that they take the $53,000 allocated for a locker room attendant at Isbell to add to the transportation funds. There is already $50,000 in the LCAL plan for transportation. She also said that it’s time to make the music teacher at Isbell a full time music teacher.

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