By Jason KUROSU
The future was the focus of the GUSD Board of Education meeting on March 1 and the immediate future appeared to have the board members equally optimistic and concerned.
In past meetings, recommendations for the 2015 Strategic Plan were presented to the board. This week, all that was planned was to establish the plan’s motto (a matter which was delayed for another day.) However, the enthusiasm over the focus of the Strategic Plan was evident.
Board member Mary Boger praised the Plan’s emphasis on students in its wording. Each of the Strategic Plan’s directions begin with the word “students,” as the Plan outlines what skills teachers, administrators and students themselves want GUSD students to acquire.
Other positive future plans include new building developments at schools such as Mark Keppel Elementary and R.D. White Elementary. The developments at each school fall under similar areas of interest. These include removing many of the bungalows currently used as classrooms and developing two story buildings at each campus. Additional developments include new tracks and fields with artificial turf.
However, after the excitement of new developments in student standards and improvements to school facilities, harsher realities were brought back to light. In the Board’s 2011-12 budget update, talk again revolved around California’s recent budget cuts and the potential effects on the school district.
Eva Lueck, Chief Business and Financial Officer of the District, presented some of the possible directions the district could go after suffering the brunt of the cuts.
“The best case scenario would be what we call flat funding. This would cut about $460,000.”
This scenario would occur if the tax extensions proposed by Governor Jerry Brown are voted through in a June election. If not, what could follow is Scenario 2: cuts of about $8 million. The California Legislative Analyst Office’s projection is much grimmer, calculating cuts to be around $20 million.
Down the line, the cuts would increase, but Lueck presented that Scenario 1 would lead to a cut of $8.9 million in the 2013-14 year, whereas Scenario 2 would lead to a $33.6 million cut and the LAO’s projection to a whopping $68.8 million.
Concerning the LAO’s projection, Lueck said, “If that were to happen, we would not have a school district afloat.”
Still, other factors had to be taken into account before panicking. The June tax extensions have obviously still not been voted on. Another topic of interest to this point is the bond measure, Measure S. If voted in at an April 5th election, the measure would supply the district with $20 million. If the June tax extensions don’t make it to the ballot, Measure S will be key.
Board member Joylene Wagner said, “Measure S will not solve everything, but it will give us the breathing room we so desperately need.”
The future for the district is uncertain in some ways but the considerable impact of upcoming elections is a certainty.