Board Briefs: School board continues to pursue opportunities for new revenue

Following an emotional presentation marking the departure of two longtime trustees, the IUSD Board of Education on Tuesday engaged in a lively discussion over revenue enhancement opportunities.

Last year, the board directed members of the district’s Finance Committee to recommend revenue-generating options to supplement state funding, which has dropped precipitously as a result of California’s budget crisis. A smaller subcommittee researched best practices around the country and ultimately came up with a number of possibilities, including student parking fees, collaboration with the Irvine Ranch Water District, alumni donations, mandated tuition for visiting foreign students, naming rights for facilities and a parcel tax.

Superintendent Terry Walker told the board on Tuesday that some of the above strategies were already in play. For example, he said, IUSD’s high schools collect parking fees, and the district continues to meet with IRWD representatives to explore potential partnerships.

Meanwhile, he said, two recommendations on the list have potential to bring in additional funds: Naming opportunities for facilities, including gyms, stadiums, theaters and media centers, and a technology bond or parcel tax.

Board members directed staff to research the viability of these options before reporting back at a future meeting.

Kuwabara and McInerney honored

Earlier in the evening, board members and district staff celebrated the service of Sue Kuwabara and Carolyn McInerney, who are each stepping down after 12 years.

Kuwabara, who has served on a number of influential boards, coalitions and committees, including the CIF Southern Section Executive Board, was praised for her empathy, insight and compassion. McInerney, a founding member of the Irvine Public Schools Foundation who was later appointed to the California Commission on Teaching Credentialing by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, was similarly lauded as a thoughtful and fair-minded leader who brought candor and accountability to the board.

“Beyond just the 12 years you’ve been on the school board, your leadership goes back decades,” Superintendent Walker told the departing trustees, who were presented with special crystal awards and flowers.

Kuwabara and McInerney will be succeeded by newly elected board members Lauren Brooks and Paul Bokota, who are set to be sworn in on Dec. 11 at the board’s final meeting of the year.