Board Briefs: IUSD approves a spending plan for 2012-13 with contingencies

At its final meeting before the start of a new fiscal year, the IUSD Board of Education this week voted unanimously to adopt a spending plan for 2012-13.

The budget, approved Tuesday night, outlines $214.6 million worth of expenditures – both restricted and unrestricted – against $207.6 million worth of total revenue. The difference of about $7 million will be offset by reserve set-asides, according to John Fogarty, assistant superintendent of Business Services.

IUSD has been forced to make approximately $38 million worth of onetime and ongoing reductions in recent years as a result of California’s budget crisis, which has yet to be resolved. Though the newly adopted state budget calls for flat funding for K-12 schools, Fogarty pointed out that it’s heavily dependent on a November ballot initiative that would temporarily raise taxes for high-income earners and increase the sales tax by 0.25 percent through 2016.

That’s created twin budget scenarios for local districts, he said. If the initiative passes, schools would be “held harmless” with relatively flat funding. If voters reject the temporary taxes, public schools would be cut by about $5.5 billion, and that would translate into an ongoing annual loss of approximately $12.2 million for Irvine.

IUSD has set aside funds and implemented a freeze on all non-essential spending to help soften the impact of potential midyear cuts in 2012-13, yet the district still projects a potential shortfall of more than $3.5 million under the worst-case scenario. As a result, IUSD and its employee groups have agreed to take up to seven furlough days if the tax initiative fails.

Fogarty also noted the district has been operating with a structural deficit that must ultimately be resolved, regardless of what happens in November. Without new revenue or additional reductions, he said, IUSD faces significant shortfalls in 2013-14 and beyond.

To view the slide presentation that was shown to the board, click here, or on the graphic above.

Continuous Improvement Efforts

Board members unanimously approved IUSD’s Continuous Improvement Efforts for 2012-13 and thanked the staff members and students who collaborated on the comprehensive educational guide.

Crafted and revised by members of IUSD’s Curriculum Council under the leadership of Assistant Superintendent Cassie Parham, the Continuous Improvement Efforts document serves as an academic roadmap for teachers and administrators to support instructional goals.

The text specifically promotes the development of essential capacities in the areas of knowledge, communication, problem-solving and relationships/interpersonal skills. It also establishes a districtwide goal to align instruction with the new California Common Core standards, and it asks schools and teachers to set their own goals to support the essential capacities. The document, available online, concludes with guiding principles and guiding practices.

Other action taken

The board also authorized Fogarty to enter into negotiations with HMC Architects as the design firm for the district’s fifth comprehensive high school and approved IUSD’s Strategic Initiatives for 2012 through 2017. The Strategic Initiatives, which can be accessed here, spell out the district’s core values, essential beliefs and strategies for moving forward.