By Timithie NORMAN
The Glendale Unified School District Board of Education met Tuesday to discuss updates to the Measure S projects and continue discussion about the district’s 2012-13 budget.
Eva Lueck, GUSD chief business and financial officer, presented updates to Measure S projects, including a detailed schematic for the $23.4 million rebuild of the College View School campus in Glendale. The school for students with special needs will include brand new medical and communication technology to better serve the approximately 80 students who currently attend. Color-coded hallways and rooms will better help students navigate the campus, while new playgrounds, multipurpose rooms and more will be fully accessible to students with physical disability. Construction will start within the year on the new campus.
“College View was at the top of my wish list,” said board member Mary Boger of the Measure S project. “I cannot wait for the day when our students get to move in.”
Dr. Katherine Thorossian, assistant superintendent of educational services, started the 2012-13 budget discussion by recommending that the board “stay the course” with current and planned projects without introducing any further capital improvements until after the results of the November election are tallied.
“The leadership of the board has remained constant in these constantly changing times,” she said. “We must maintain the stability of the current priorities which emphasize learning in every classroom, adopting budgetary principles with integrity and stability, developing Measure S sequencing and implementation of the GUSD 2015 strategic plan.”
The structure and direction these priorities provide are the basis of the 2012-13 budget until November results and their impact on the GUSD budget is known.
No speakers came forward during the public hearing portion of budget discussion, but board members continued their discussion of the 2012-13 budget, which Lueck called “challenging” due to the current and future deficit projections. The current structural deficit is $15 million and increasing at a rate of $3 million to $4 million per year based on the increase in ongoing expenditures and a decrease of state and federal funding since 2007-08.
“That is the challenge we are working on,” Lueck said. “We are very disappointed that state revenues have not rebounded. Our best case scenario is if the election passes, we will be flat-funded.”
Flat funding would still means $14 million less than in the 2007-08 school year. If the election fails, a 7%, or $11.3 million, cut to the budget is likely.
The ballot measures in question are primarily the governor’s proposal of a quarter-cent sales tax increase for four years and an income tax increase for the highest earners with monies directed to the state budget. Also, Molly Munger’s proposal of an income tax increase for all incomes for 12 years with money directed specifically to K-12 schools. Both initiatives are relatively unpopular in public polls to date and if they fail, the consequences to the school system would be harsh.
“We would be using all of our reserves by 2013-14,” Lueck said. “We will have no additional reserves to carry over to the next year, and we would need to cut $38.7 million in a three-year projection.”
The board voted to approve the 2012-13 district budget as it was presented, pending a public hearing. The board also discussed ways to better communicate the budget and garner votes from parents and the general public with a video stream, PowerPoint presentation or podcast explaining the challenges facing GUSD.
In addition, the board recommended a revision to the current student conduct code regarding “electronic signaling devices,” i.e. cellphones, pagers and other handheld electronics on school grounds. The revision would require parent/guardian notification of any confiscated device, with the device being returned only to that parent or guardian at the end of the day.
Other business conducted at Tuesday GUSD board meeting included:
• Mary Boger presented the Crescenta Valley High School Junior ROTC program with the distinguished unit award for the 2011-12 school year from the Department of the Air Force, recognizing the students’ personal growth and accomplishments as well as the efforts of the mentor leadership.
• The CVHS boys’ swim team was honored for their victory at the CIF Division II Swimming and Diving Championship.
• CVHS senior Marita Moffet and Clark senior Amalia Hakopian received the $200 Michael F. Escalante Award recognizing outstanding seniors.
• The Glendale Schools Management Association presented scholarships to seniors who plan on going into the field of education. This year’s recipients were Ashley Pratt and Hannah Lim from Crescenta Valley High School and Armineh Yegekian and Christine Dashdemyrians from Clark Magnet High School.