BOE Meeting for February 8, 2005
1. Report on E-Mentoring Program
Background: Alameda Unified School District in partnership with Mervyns has established an E-Mentoring program with high school students. This year the program includes 35 students from Alameda High School. The program allows the students to interact business people in a structured manner. For additional background, see the E-Mentoring program.
2. Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) Awards
Background: The Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) is an association of students across the country enrolled in marketing classes. The Board recognized winners at the Northern California conference that are advancing to represent Alameda and Encinal at state level competition.
3. Spending Reduction Plan 2005/06
Background: At the December 11th BOE Meeting, the first interim finacial was presented. During the presentation, the projected $2,400,000 deficit was explained. On January 18th, the Board received community input regarding the potential budget reductions.
At the January 25th BOE Meeting the chief financial officer presented staff/Superintendent's recommendations for $2,377,000 in budget reductions for the Board's review.
At the February 1st BOE workshop the chief financial officer presented an alternative set of staff/Superintendent's recommendations of $1,625,000 for the Board's review. This alternative set of recommendations assumes the passage of legislation that allow the District to maintain an interim 1.5% reserve rather than the required 3% reserve.
Staff recommended the passage of the alternative budget recommendation of $1,625,000.
The Board altered the recommendation by adding an item to adding one principal to two schools and reducing the reduction to one clerical FTE at Encinal High School as well as lowering the target savings from Special Education from $100,000 to $25,000.
Here my comments:
First, I want to thank everyone for all of their support received during this process. The staff did an excellent job of preparing all of the options. The community respectfully communicated their hopes and desires. The Superintendent responded to Board member concerns. While I am not thrilled for the reason why we have been meeting, I am extremely encouraged by the spirit of the community to do what is best for Alameda kids.
In reviewing the painful choices before us it is easy to point fingers. If only the politicians in Sacramento would give us more money, if only the Fifteen Group had not evicted the Harbor Island tenants, if only families did not need to relocate out of Alameda due to rising housing prices… The list could go on
But we were elected to make the tough choices even when those choices are between terrible and horrible….
Ever since the bursting of the dot com bubble, it has apparent that we can not rely on the State to maintain quality education programs like class size reduction, counselors, music/art in our schools. With the passage of $109 parcel tax in 2001, Alameda citizens affirmed the need for these programs. Therefore it would be a mistake to reduce or eliminate these programs without giving Alameda residents an opportunity to reaffirm their desire for these programs.
However we are still faced with unexpected loss of 300 students and a looming deficit. The proactive steps taken by staff and their recommendation for 2005/06 represent a pragmatic approach to our deficit problem. While not fully addressing the reserve requirements established by the State, at least we can say we have a reserve. At this point I support the Superintendent’s recommendation to maintain our reserves at 1.5%. While I understand the County will not accept our interim financials and appoint a fiscal advisor, the circumstances warrant taking this risk.
The Board voted 5-0 to approve 2005/06 Spending Reduction totaling $1,625,000.
Fiscal Implications: The District risks having its budget submission rejected by the County of Education and/or having the County appoint a fiscal advisor to oversee the fiscal operations of the District.
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