IUSD Board Elects New President and Clerk and Certifies ‘Positive’ District Budget

During the Irvine Unified School District’s annual organizational meeting on Tuesday, December 8 — the final session of 2015 — the Board unanimously voted to elect Paul Bokota to a one-year Board Organization Meeting 12.9.15

term as Board President and Ira Glasky to a one-year term as Board Clerk.  Lauren Brooks and Paul Bokota had served as 2015 Board President and Board Clerk, respectively.

After the election, the Board turned its attention to other matters including, the establishment of meeting dates through December 2016, certified the District’s First Interim Report of 2015-16 as ‘positive,’ approved a first and second reading of proposed revisions to the Board Immunization policy, and approved solar vehicle shade structures at the new Beacon Park School and Portola High School.

2016 Board Meeting Dates

The first two regular meetings of 2016 are scheduled for Jan. 12 and 26.  For a full list of meeting dates, click here.

District Budget Update is ‘Positive’

Later in the evening, Assistant Superintendent John Fogarty presented a brief budget update, and the Board voted unanimously to certify IUSD’s First Interim Report of 2015-16 as “positive,” meaning the District will meet its financial obligations for the current and two subsequent fiscal years.

Every school district in California is required to examine and certify its financial condition as positive, qualified or negative twice during each fiscal year. Positive is the ideal certification.  Qualified indicates a district may not be able to meet its financial obligations for the current year and two subsequent fiscal years.  A negative certification is rare and would indicate a district was unable to meet its financial obligations.

Recognizing the length of the current economic recovery and the volatility of the state economy, which is heavily reliant on income taxes, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) has once again outlined three possible scenarios for California’s economy, ranging from slow, steady growth to a slowdown or worst case scenario, a recession. Fogarty, who oversees Business Services for the District, told the Board that the LAO’s main scenario projects moderate growth through 2019-20, which may lead to steady increases for K-12 schools.

California’s new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), meanwhile, has increased the amount of base funding for school districts and allocated more dollars to serve English-language learners, low-income students and foster youth. Projected increases have also enabled IUSD to strategically invest the reserves it built up to weather the state’s fiscal crisis, Fogarty said.

That said, there are a number of potential challenges and uncertainties for school districts, which must take a multi-year approach to budgeting. The state’s plan to address the unfunded liability in the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, or CalSTRS, requires districts to contribute significant dollars to help close the gap, and temporary tax increases that went into effect under Proposition 30 will begin to expire in 2016, eliminating a dependable source of state revenue.

In addition, Fogarty highlighted the discrepancies in funding per school district, based on the LCFF, which is heavily weighted to support school districts with higher disadvantaged student populations.  In 2014-15, IUSD received approximately $1,500 less per student than the state average for unified school districts, making IUSD one of the lowest funded districts in California.

Board Immunization Policy

The Board also heard the first reading of changes to the Board Policy 5141.13: Immunization and moved to approve the second reading and amend the policy in accordance with state law.  The law mandates the only reason for immunization exemption is medical and it repealed the personal belief immunization exemption.

Solar Installations

The Board approved solar vehicle shade structures at the new Beacon Park School and Portola High School. This is a continuation of the District’s solar initiative, which was put in place in 2009 and to date has offset District energy costs by nearly $1 million.  Solar vehicle shade structures are installed at 22 District sites, totaling 5.3 megawatts of solar energy production.

Solar vehicle shade panels are scheduled to be installed at both new schools beginning in September 2016.

About the IUSD Board of Education

The IUSD Board of Education is a five member Board, elected from the school district at large, serving four year terms.  The role of the Board is to serve as a policy-making body for the District and is charged with providing the best possible education for the children of the Irvine Unified School District in accordance with the desires of the community, and federal and state laws. Among the Board’s duties is the adoption of the annual budget; approval of expenditures; approve the employment of personnel; approval of the curriculum, textbooks, and courses of study; approval of facility plans and construction contracts.

The twice monthly Board Meetings are typically scheduled on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. and are broadcast live on Channel 39.  Members of the public are also welcome to attend in person at 5050 Barranca Parkway, Irvine, CA 92604.  For a list of the 2016 Board Meeting dates click here.