June Lake Tahoe School Board Meeting Minutes

And, without further ado, this is the scoop on what happened at last night’s school board meeting, which was attended by a handful of teachers, administrators, and community members.

Jim Cutler of the Carpenters’ Union said that the District is not hiring local help like Los Gatos did when he lived down there and he asked the Board to push local labor because he would hate to see this town die.

Second Annual Report by the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee (CBOC)The annual report contains a summary of the committee’s proceedings and activities for 2010/11 and breakdown of the project budgets and matching fund by site. In addition to presenting an annual report to the community, and overseeing the expenditure of the funds, the committee is also charged with ensuring that bond proceeds are spent only for the purposes set forth in the ballot measure.

Two of the nine committee members were present last night to provide the Board with their perspectives on the Second Annual Report – Rick Angelocci and Joy Curry. Both are very pleased with the District’s handling of the Measure G Bond and matching funds. Joy curry said “I am totally impressed and truly believe that it willimprove the community and bring families for a world class education”. Rick Angelocci drew the Board’s attention to the fact that there were no audit findings in the annual performance audit and he commended the success of the bidding process. With regard to local labor, Steve Morales explained that SMC Contracting has been very actively seeking qualified locals who can meet the lowest responsible bid requirements. In fact, the report lists the names of over twenty local companies that have worked on the various projects and over $3 million of the value of subcontractor work has been awarded currently. Last year’s report shows even more local labor since the contracts were not as technical as the current, highly-technical project.

Board of Education Report
We only had four members present last night as Wendy David was absent and enjoying a well-deserved vacation. Awards and promotion ceremonies were enjoyed by all and members commented specifically on the very well-dressed eighth graders at their promotion! Sue Novasel was particularly impressed with over a quarter of a million in scholarships that was awarded to graduates. Sue and Judy Cefalu also enjoyed the groundbreaking at the football field yesterday! There was great excitement on behalf of the football, soccer, and cheerleader students as Dan McLaughlin of KTHO covered the event live on radio.

The Board was reminded of the date of the annual Board Retreat which has been set for Wednesday, August 17th from 8 am to 4 p.m. They will meet with the administrative leadership team during the morning hours.

Retiring HR Director, Jim Watson, got a card, a hug, and a-pplause and everyone said that they will miss him a lot. They commended him, not only for his past four years in HR, but for 27 years in the District as mentor and principal to many, many children. He will be missed! Dr. Doyle thoroughly enjoyed watching current and former LTUSD students perform in LTCC’s production of Chicago recently. “We have great talent in this community!

Superintendent Report
Dr. Tarwater reported on a conference that he and other principals went to last week called Leading the Learning where District and school leaders from the Sanger Unified School District presented how broad culture shifts at the district level translated to vastly improved learning opportunities in the classrooms, enabling the district and all of its schools to exit Program Improvement (PI) status and post impressive student achievement results for the past seven years. Everyone agreed that the information they gleaned was extremely helpful but they feel that more balance is needed between programs and assessment. “What’s more important to them right now is how they perform on a test”, said Dr. Tarwater. He feels that LTUSD should continue to focus on technology and programs in addition to ongoing assessments. On Friday, the leadership team got together to further develop and brainstorm plans on implementing what they learned.

The Superintendent reported on his presentation to the South Tahoe Association of Realtors ® yesterday. Amanda Adams, a former CBOC member and 2011 President of STAOR, invited Dr. Tarwater to share all of the wonderful things that are happening with construction and the technology program which will place a netbook in the hands of all students in grades 3-12 by the end of next year – a great equalizer between the “haves” and “have nots”. I was proud to accompany Jim as “Vanna” to share some awesome photos of our new buildings with approximately 80 Realtors® and invite them to join us in our efforts to raise funds for the Viking Stadium renovation project. The quality of schools is a major deciding factor for people looking to buy or rent a home and it is important to get the word out about the immense improvements that have occurred in our schools over the past five years.

Dr. Tarwater was also happy to report that Heavenly and the South Tahoe Alliance of Resorts (formerly the Gaming Alliance) have challenged the community to match their donation of $20,000 to the project (see below for more details). Steve Morales said that local contractors like Steve Harding of Tahoe Sand and Gravel, Ron Fuller, Bill Higgenbotham, Greg Herback, Tom Haen, Sierra Valley Electric, along with John Marchini of South Tahoe Refuse are again stepping up, like they did with the Community Youth Sports Complex, to help out with the football field. The long winter delayed them a bit but they’re doing what they can, when they can! Winners!!’

Presentation and Adoption of Proposed 2011/12 Budget
After months of presenting various budget scenario based on the Governor’s proposal, then revisions to the proposal, then the legislators’ proposals, then more proposals…….Debra Yates was finally able to present a 2011/12 LTUSD Budget for adoption last night with only a modicum of confidence. Yesterday, the Legislature passed a state budget that closes the $26.6 billion budget gap without the revenue extension requested by Gov. Jerry Brown and leaves a $513 million surplus, assuming all budget assumptions are realized. The solutions include: spending reductions: $14.6 billion (53 percent), revenues: $1.4 billion (5 percent), other: $2.9 billion (11 percent) and natural/miscellaneous: $8.3 billion (31 percent).

Among the spending reductions, the hardest-hit programs are health and human services ($4.8 billion) and the University ofCalifornia and California State University systems ($1.4 billion). The budget drops some of the key provisions of the June 15 majority-vote budget, including the sale of state buildings and the “sweep” of First 5 (Proposition 10) reserves. New provisions include a revenue estimate that is $4 billion higher than the May estimate (based on current tax receipts), a set of trigger reductions that would occur if revenues are below the budget estimates by specific amounts, and additional savings related to state-local realignment.

For K-12, the dollar amount available to schools in 2011-12 will be essentially the same as it was in 2010-11. However, the additional $2.1 billion deferral that the governor proposed in January,legislators approved in March, and the governor retracted in May, is back in. This will bring the total K-12 cross-year deferral to $9.4 billion. Debra said that this means that 30-50% of the state revenue anticipated will not be received in the year in which the District is entitled. 30-50%!!

In addition, schools and community colleges are vulnerable to midyear budget cuts of up to $1.9 billion, if revenues fall $2 billion or more short of projections – “a harsh trigger”, said Debra Yates. If that happens, school district revenue limits would be reduced 4 percent, or $1.5 billion, estimated at between $400 of $250 per pupil. This would equal a reduction of $1.4 million to $900,000 for LTUSD!! The District would be authorized to reduce the school year by an additionalseven days, subject to collective bargaining; and the remaining half-year of funding for appropriation for home-to-school transportation would be eliminated! Let ‘em walk…..in the snow……..!! Deb asked “if they’re faced with this, will the really do it?”

Again, the governor’s budget projected state revenues to grow by $6.6 billion. The legislative proposal projects an increase of $4 billion. These budget reduction “triggers” will go into effect midyear should the actual increase fall below $2 billion or more.

None of this sounds very promising, but we’re making the best of a bad lot. Deb reviewed the District’s 2011/12 Budget in detail for the Board ………..minute detail….. she leaves no stone unturned!! On the revenue side, 60% or $19.3 million comes from state aid and local taxes and another 27% from other state sources. 10% comes from the feds and 2% in other local revenue, including $64,000 in tuition from Nevada residents. Total revenue is approximately $32 million. On the expenditure side, 85% of the approximately $32.6 million goes to salaries and benefits, while the rest goes to books & supplies, services and other operating expenses. Ms. Yates said that we’ve been “burning reserves, spending down fund balance, and making reductions, while using band aids such as ARRA and Jobs Bill funds”. Administration continues to brainstorm on ways to save money by increasing enrollment and attendance and reducing utility costs.
There was much, much more in her hour-long presentation, so if you’d like some more details, check out her presentation that’s attached to the agenda item online at http://ltusd.csbaagendaonline.net. You can even download the entire 185 page budget document if you’re so inclined! Well done Deb and Lynn Dupree and thanks for the endless days, nights, and weekends of endless numbers crunching!

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