IUSD Board of Education approves accountability plan, adopts budget for 2014-15


The IUSD Board of Education has adopted a spending plan for the 2014-15 school year.

The plan, which reflects the state’s latest projections from May, as well as the district’s priorities from a brand new accountability report, outlines $257.8 million worth of expenditures – both restricted and unrestricted – against $246.9 million worth of total revenue. The difference will be offset by one-time dollars, as IUSD looks to strategically spend down reserves it built up to weather the state’s fiscal crisis.

IUSD 2014-15 Adopted BudgetJohn Fogarty, assistant superintendent of business services, led a brief presentation on the district’s finances on Tuesday, June 24 before the board approved the plan by way of a 3-0 vote. (The “yes” votes came from President Sharon Wallin and members Lauren Brooks and Ira Glasky. Michael Parham and Paul Bokota were not in attendance.)

This is actually IUSD’s second budget under the state’s Local Control Funding Formula, which has increased base levels of funding for K-12 education while channeling greater resources toward English-language learners, low-income students and foster youth. Yet it’s the first budget to factor in priorities from the district’s new Local Control and Accountability Plan, or LCAP, which documents measurable objectives for achievement and school climate with input from parents and other community stakeholders.

Based on the new funding levels and the district’s LCAP, IUSD’s budget calls for a decrease in class sizes by two students in kindergarten through grade six and one student in grades seven through 12. In addition, the district is investing in professional development opportunities for staff, as well as curriculum development, technology and mental health.

Before the budget vote, board members unanimously approved the Local Control and Accountability Plan, which had been recently revised based on stakeholder feedback. Alan Schlichting, director of student support services, said changes included the addition of a full-time mental health coordinator and an online learning coordinator, along with the restoration of site mental health support, including guidance assistants at the elementary level and Project Success staff at the secondary level. (You can access IUSD’s completed LCAP here.)

Here are some other takeaways from Tuesday night’s budget presentation:

●  Governor Brown’s new formula — the aforementioned LCFF — establishes a target level of funding for school districts for the 2020-21 school year. Until then, districts can expect to receive annual increases called “gap funding,” referencing the gap between what they currently get and the target amount for 2020-21. IUSD’s gap funding in 2014-15 is approximately $20 million, and an increase of nearly $18 million is projected for the 2015-16 school year, meaning IUSD will go through a similar process of analyzing its needs and priorities next year. (By contrast, IUSD was forced to make approximately $38 million worth of one-time and ongoing reductions during the state budget crisis.)

●  California’s proposed budget includes a plan to address the unfunded liability in the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, or CalSTRS. Though the remedy asks employers, employees and the state to contribute additional dollars to resolve the shortfall — which has been estimated at $74 billion — much of the burden would fall on employers, which would see gradual increases through 2021. Under the plan, IUSD would pay $800,000 in 2014-15, part of a projected cumulative total of more than $15 million by 2020-21.

●  Though the state budget picture is bright for school districts, there are still a number of challenges and unknowns. Fogarty said there are no guarantees that the Local Control Funding Formula will continue to be implemented as planned — or that school districts will receive their targeted levels of funding. Moreover, the temporary tax increases that went into effect under Proposition 30 will begin to expire in 2016, drying up a source of state revenue. Enrollment growth, the Affordable Care Act and shifts in the state and national economies could also impact IUSD’s budget, Fogarty said.

●  IUSD’s budget projections were developed with the guidance of the Orange County Department of Education, School Services of California, the California Association of School Business Officials and other agencies.


Superintendent responds to your questions on IUSD’s new Local Control and Accountability Plan


A new district webpage features your questions about IUSD’s emerging accountability plan and responses from Superintendent Terry Walker.

As we’ve said previously, the state’s new funding model requires school districts to develop and annually update three-year Local Control and Accountability Plans, or LCAPs, with input from parents and other key stakeholders.

LCAP Questions and Answers webpageIUSD began soliciting feedback back for its plan in March, but there’s another major step in the process: Superintendents are also required to respond in writing to LCAP submissions. In the interest of transparency, Walker has decided to post all of his responses on the following webpage:

The questions and comments addressed by the superintendent include those generated during recent Irvine Unified Council PTA meetings and District English Learner Advisory Committee meetings, as well as those collected through online surveys and paper forms from the June 3 Board of Education hearing. Some submissions that were similar were consolidated to avoid redundant replies.

The development of the LCAP represents a new process for California’s school districts, which must identify annual goals, take action and measure progress for student subgroups across multiple performance indicators, including academic achievement, school climate, access to a broad curriculum and parent engagement.

LCAP requirements were first introduced during the current year, resulting in a compressed timeline for 2014-15. In subsequent years, however, IUSD anticipates having more time to present information and collect feedback from its stakeholders, including parent groups, bargaining groups, school sites and the community.

Once again, IUSD’s LCAP isn’t due to the county until July 1, but you can get an overview from this slide presentation, or you can access the latest draft of the plan by clicking here.

And if you haven’t weighed in yet, there’s still time to express your thoughts through this online input form.


Share your thoughts on IUSD’s Local Control and Accountability Plan


IUSD wants to know what you think about the latest draft of its new accountability plan.

Online Input Forum for IUSD's LCAPAs we’ve mentioned here before, California’s new funding model for K-12 education requires every school district and county office of education to develop, adopt and annually update a three-year Local Control and Accountability Plan, or LCAP, with input from parents and other key stakeholders. (Irvine Unified began soliciting that input back in March.)

Districts will use these plans to identify yearly goals, take action and measure progress for student subgroups across multiple performance indicators, including academic achievement, school climate, access to a broad curriculum and parent engagement.

IUSD’s LCAP isn’t due to the county until July 1, but you can get an overview by checking out this slide presentation from the Board of Education’s April 29 Study Session, and you can access the latest draft of the plan by clicking here.

Parents, students, district employees and community members are encouraged to review Irvine’s LCAP and submit feedback by way of this online input form before the plan is adopted in June. (You can also click on the graphic above.) Again, this will be an important part of the process of budgeting and setting priorities for the district, so take the time to weigh in if you can.


IUSD buoyed by improving economy and state’s renewed investment in K-12 education


At its March 18 meeting, the IUSD Board of Education voted to certify the Second Interim Report as “positive,” meaning the district expects to meet all of its financial obligations for the current year and two subsequent years.

That may have been a given, but it’s been a while since the state economic outlook was this promising.

Prior to the board’s vote, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services John Fogarty shared very encouraging revenue projections and outlined the impacts of Governor Jerry Brown’s new K-12 funding model.

Second Interim Report for 2014“The governor’s proposal provides a very strong investment in education (and) the greatest increase in per-pupil spending that we’ve seen in over a decade, since 2000-2001,” Fogarty told board members. “So not only are we coming out of some very bad years, but we’re coming out in a big, strong way.”

The 2012 passage of Proposition 30 and an improving state economy have led to the robust revenue forecasts, which are key to implementing the governor’s Local Control Funding Formula, also known as the LCFF.

Intended to channel more funds toward students with greater needs, the LCFF begins with a base level of funding that is the same for all districts, though the amount allocated per student differs slightly by grade level. Next comes a layer of supplemental funding that adds 20 percent of the base for every English-language learner, low-income student and foster youth. There is a third layer known as a concentration grant that’s equal to an additional 50 percent of the base, but only for schools and districts where English-learners, low-income students and foster youth make up 55 percent of the total enrollment. IUSD doesn’t qualify for the latter.

The governor’s spending plan allocates about $4.5 billion in LCFF funding, providing an average increase of approximately $755 per student. That equates to a projected increase of $20 million for IUSD, which has an annual unrestricted budget of about $230 million.

In anticipation of the restored funding, the district is working to develop a list of needs and priorities that will be presented to the board for discussion and further direction in April. Superintendent Terry Walker said IUSD was also collecting feedback from local stakeholders in the community as part of the process of developing its Local Control and Accountability Plan, or LCAP.

IUSD was forced to make approximately $38 million in one-time and ongoing cuts as a result of the state budget crisis, and that’s left a number of significant needs to address. Though big decisions lie ahead, Tuesday’s financial update was certainly welcome news after years of troubling forecasts.

“It’s hard to imagine for those on the board and those of us in education that just 16 months ago we were looking at some very dire cuts that were facing education without the passage of Proposition 30,” Fogarty said.

“The district has done a really good job of setting itself up financially, so we can make some really sound decisions moving forward,” he added.


Q&A: Director of student support services discusses state’s new funding formula for education


Alan Schlichting is IUSD’s director of student support services, and he’s been making the rounds lately to share information about the state’s new Local Control Funding Formula, which represents a dramatic shift in the way California allocates dollars for education.

At the Board of Education meeting on Feb. 4, Schlichting explained that the LCFF will channel more resources to students with the greatest needs, including English-Learners, foster youth and low-income students. It will also mean greater accountability requirements, with broader benchmarks for measuring success.

We sat down with Schlichting this week for a brief follow-up interview to learn more about the LCFF and what it means for Irvine.

***

Let’s start with the basics: How exactly does the new Local Control Funding Formula differ from the previous model?

Under the old system, there were more than 40 funding categories, each for a specific purpose identified by the state. The LCFF model has essentially established three pots of funding with increased local discretion to determine how best to spend those funds in the service of our students.

All districts will now start with a base level of per-student funding that varies slightly depending on grade levels. Then there’s supplemental funding, which adds 20 percent of the base for each English-language learner, low-income student and foster youth. Finally, there’s a third pot called a concentration grant that is equal to 50 percent of the entire base. But that’s only for schools and districts where English-learners, low-income students and foster youth exceed 55 percent of the total enrollment, and IUSD isn’t eligible.

So the idea is that funding will be more directed toward students who need the most help to succeed in school?

That’s correct. IUSD will receive more funds specifically to support services for low-income, English-learning students and foster youth. This extra funding will come from the supplemental grants, and we will continue to designate more resources for programs and services that serve our highest-need students.

When does this new model take effect?

LCFF was approved by the state Legislature and signed into law by Governor Brown in June 2013. But remember that this represents a seismic shift in how schools are funded, and the state Board of Education is still in the process of working out some of the details and providing direction to county agencies. As such, school districts are currently being funded through a hybrid model of the previous Revenue Limit formula and the new LCFF model.

Will IUSD receive more money as a result of LCFF?

Yes, but there are couple caveats. For starters, it will take a few years to catch up to the funding levels we were at before the recession hit, and LCFF won’t be fully implemented until 2020-21. Even then, IUSD stands to receive less money than most districts in the state because the new model was designed specifically to channel more resources toward English-learners, low-income students and foster youth.

But ultimately individual schools in Irvine will see an increase in funding?

Yes. Eventually all schools will receive more funds, and schools with higher concentrations of low-income, English-learning and foster youth will see the greatest increases. Again, we are still recovering from years of funding cuts, so it may take a few years before we see the real impacts of LCFF.

I understand there are new accountability measures tied to the Local Control Funding Formula. Can you tell us about those?

All school districts will be required to submit what’s called a Local Control and Accountability Plan, or LCAP, that includes annual goals in eight defined areas. These areas are: Credentials and Instructional Materials, Academic Standards and Implementation of the Common Core, Parental Involvement, Pupil Achievement, Pupil Engagement, School Climate, Access and Enrollment and Other Pupil Outcomes.

So in addition to establishing and prioritizing these goals, we will be required to indicate the steps we need to take to meet them. The state Board of Education has adopted a template for this important work, which will include soliciting input from various stakeholders.

Does that mean parents help decide how money is spent?

Absolutely. Each district must follow a plan that incorporates community input on how the supplemental and concentration grants are spent in particular. Gathering input has long been a part of the budgeting process for IUSD, and we look forward to further strengthening our channels of feedback.

How will we know if our budget decisions improve student achievement?

Our district already has a number of ways with which we measure student progress, and we report our results regularly. In addition, all school districts will be required to submit their first Local Control and Accountability Plans in July for the 2014-15 school year. The State Board of Education is continuing to finalize some of the details, but we know that these plans must indicate goals for student progress, as well as the data we will use to measure that progress.

Can you tell us more about the LCAP timeline?

Sure. In January, the State Board of Education adopted its spending regulations and the governor unveiled his proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. From now through June, we’ll be communicating with our stakeholders, gathering feedback and holding budget-planning meetings. The state Board of Education is expected to finalize its LCAP template in March, and our district will adopt its spending plan — along with a Local Control and Accountability Plan that covers the next three years — in June.

While the Local Control Funding Formula is projected to be fully funded by 2020-21, we know that all future spending is tied to the health of the state economy and therefore subject to change.

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For more information on the Local Control Funding Formula and the Local Control and Accountability Plan, check out these resources:

California Department of Education LCFF Overview and Frequently Asked Questions
California School Boards Association LCFF Overview and Resources
Children Now LCFF Webinar Series
Legislative Analyst’s Office LCFF Overview
State Board of Education and WestEd LCFF Channel
A Vision For IUSD: Irvine Unified School District’s Strategic Initiatives


State’s new funding formula designed to direct additional dollars to students in need


California’s budget for 2013-14 has brought major changes to the way school funding is allocated, with the goal of channeling greater resources to the students who need them most.

At this week’s Board of Education meeting, Alan Schlichting, IUSD’s director of student support services, offered an overview of the state’s new Local Control Funding Formula and what it means for Irvine.

Here were some of the key takeaways:

The Local Control Funding Formula, or LCFF, starts with a base funding level that is the same for all districts, though the amount allocated per-student is differentiated slightly by grade level. Next comes a layer of supplemental funding in the form of an additional 20 percent of the base for each English-language learner, low-income student and foster youth.

There is a third pot of funding called a concentration grant, and that’s equal to 50 percent of the base, but only for schools and districts where English-learners, low-income students and foster youth exceed 55 percent of the total enrollment. (IUSD doesn’t qualify for the latter grant.)

Schlichting said the LCFF model has replaced the Revenue Limit formula that’s been in place for nearly 40 years, as well as about three-quarters of the state’s categorical programs, which are smaller pots of money designated for specific purposes. Under the new system, he said, school leaders — along with parents and other local stakeholders — will have greater flexibility to determine how best to use available dollars to further local priorities that improve student outcomes.

Still, the LCFF won’t be fully funded until 2020-21. Until then, school districts are expected to receive about the amount of funding they were eligible for in 2012-13, plus an additional amount each year to gradually close the gap. (To put that in perspective, the 2012-13 funding levels were well short of what they were in 2007-08, before the state’s budget crisis hit.)

Greater accountability

California’s new funding model for education also includes additional accountability measures. Under LCFF, school districts and county offices of education must each develop, adopt and annually update a three-year Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) with input from parents and other community stakeholders.

The initial plan, due July 1, will based on a template adopted by the State Board of Education. Districts will be required to identify annual goals, take action and measure progress for student subgroups across multiple performance indicators, including academic achievement, school climate, access to a broad curriculum and parent engagement.

Academic priorities must be tied to each district’s spending plan, so the school board will be expected to approve the accountability plan before adopting its annual budget, Schlichting said. County superintendents will be tasked with reviewing these plans to ensure alignment of projected spending, services and goals. And county offices of education will provide technical assistance if the plans are rejected. The state superintendent of public instruction may also intervene if a school district fails to show improvement across multiple subgroups in three out of four consecutive years.

The local impact

So what does this all mean for Irvine?

It means more funding will target students with the greatest needs, including English-Learners, foster youth and low-income students. It also means the state is looking at broader benchmarks of success. Instead of simply focusing on test scores, the LCFF requires schools to develop plans to boost student engagement, increase parent involvement and create more positive learning environments. Finally, school leaders and parents will have a greater say over spending to ensure academic programs and services meet the unique needs of local students.

“We will have additional resources for students, and especially for those students who have greater needs,” Schlichting said. “We will have the opportunity to collect information from our stakeholders and make local decisions on how we’re going to move forward. There will be increased accountability, where we look at many pieces of data to determine how well our district is doing. And there will be alignment between our budget and the LCAP plan that we put together.”

Expect to see more on the NewsFlash about this topic. In the meantime, you can review Schlichting’s slide presentation here. And for even more information on the Local Control Funding Formula and the Local Control and Accountability Plan, check out these resources:


Superintendent: Preliminary analysis of potential high school sites does not favor Site B


In a letter emailed to families last week, IUSD Superintendent Terry Walker offered the latest on the district’s efforts to evaluate two potential sites for Irvine’s next comprehensive high school.

Here’s the full text in case you missed it.

Dear IUSD community member:

Our district has a long history of thoughtful and strategic planning, resulting in schools of the highest quality. By law and by practice, our staff and our contractors strive to provide optimal learning environments that maximize the investments made by local taxpayers.

As you may have heard during one of our recent Board of Education meetings, there has been an extensive amount of work involved in studying two potential sites for our next comprehensive high school. This letter is being sent to bring you up to speed and to clarify some of the facts.

For those who aren’t familiar with our facilities planning efforts, our district, which has experienced rapid growth as a result of recent development, is working to open a new campus in September 2016 to avert overcrowding at Irvine, Northwood, University and Woodbridge high schools. Plans have been underway for several years now, and IUSD and its developer partners have agreements in place for a 40-acre site near the northeast border of the Great Park, often referred to as Site A. Meanwhile, a member of the Irvine City Council has advocated for an alternative location, and in September the Council voted to present it for the district’s consideration. The second site, on the west side of the Great Park, is known as Site B, and the motion approved by the City set a minimum purchase price of $60 million.

IUSD has directed significant resources to ensure thorough reviews of both sites, and though this process is ongoing, our preliminary analysis has not revealed any significant advantage to moving the campus to Site B. Our district is not alone in this assessment. The California Department of Education has deemed both locations suitable to accommodate an Irvine-quality comprehensive high school, and the Irvine Unified Council PTA recently completed a report endorsing Site A after engaging in its own thorough analysis, examining such factors as safety, traffic and timing. In fact, initial site reviews indicate potentially greater concerns, costs and possible mitigation needs for Site B. More on that in a moment.

Suffice to say, absent clear and compelling advantages to changing the location of our fifth high school, it would be irresponsible for our district to switch sites, particularly as this action would result in a project delay of at least a year, triggering acute overcrowding at Irvine, Northwood, University and Woodbridge high schools and generating an estimated $20 million in additional costs. Our district will therefore continue to move forward with Site A, but our analysis of Site B will also continue, ensuring no stone is left unturned. Naturally, we will work closely with all required state agencies, including the Department of Toxic Substance Control, to ensure our schools meet or exceed the clear and rigorous guidelines established for school construction.

We recognize that all of our stakeholders want the absolute best location for Irvine’s next high school, and in recent meetings there has been some discussion of environmental issues and the Orange County Great Park’s proximity to the James A. Musick Facility. I want to assure you that these features have been thoughtfully researched with the help of a number of building and safety experts, and what we’ve learned so far bolsters the case for Site A.

For example, Site B has been identified under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) as a Hazardous Material site due to the significant amount of historic military activity, including being home to two dozen underground storage tanks, at least 12 buildings, officer quarters, a mess hall and field storage, as well as an aircraft expeditionary refueling site and petroleum storage. There are also two groundwater plumes nearby. By contrast, Site A does not have this RCRA designation and was primarily used for agriculture. A capped landfill is located north of Site A, containing primarily construction debris and ash. Mitigation measures were taken by the U.S. Navy, and periodic testing ensures the integrity of the cap.

Some proponents of Site B have noted that Site A is closer to the James A. Musick Facility, noting that the minimum-security jail has been slated for expansion. Yet crime statistics and multiple studies do not support the position that jails increase crime or have any impact on neighboring school sites. In addition, the facility would be housing the same levels of low-threat inmates with significantly enhanced security compared to what exists today. In a letter dated Sept. 24, Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens wrote that remarks made during a September City Council meeting “gave a distorted impression of the future plans for the facility.” Sheriff Hutchens added that the “nature of the Musick population will not change due to new construction.” Robert Beaver, director of research and development for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, confirmed a binding memorandum of understanding with the City of Lake Forest that effectively limits the size of the facility to 3,100 beds and prohibits the detention of maximum-security inmates. He also clarified at a recent school board meeting that Musick’s dormitory-style design would not be a feasible model for housing the county’s high-threat inmates, adding that the Sheriff’s Department has more than adequate maximum-security space in other facilities to house these kinds of inmates.

It is also important to note that this area of the city is in the initial stages of development and will soon become a thriving residential community, with thousands of new homes. This is one of the reasons a high school campus must be in place — to meet the needs of this new community. The continued master-planned development of these neighborhoods and the City’s approval of these plans are further evidence of our shared confidence in the safety and viability of this location.

I would add that regardless of where our next high school is built, we will work closely with the Irvine Police Department and other agencies to ensure the new facility has state-of-the-art safety and security systems, including high-tech surveillance. As with our existing middle and high schools, it will also benefit from the presence of on-site district and police personnel.

Building a new high school is a project of monumental importance, and our district will settle for nothing short of an optimal environment for academics, athletics and co-curricular activities. If, after our exhaustive analysis, there is a valid justification for moving the location and delaying construction, our Board of Education will make that call. Conversely, if there is no clear evidence that Site B is a more advantageous location, it would not be prudent to arbitrarily pursue a course that would delay the project, cause significant overcrowding at our existing sites, adversely impact thousands of Irvine students and needlessly waste tens of millions of dollars.

I don’t have to tell you that Irvine is a special place, and it is so because community members like you take an active role as citizens and stakeholders. Above all, our No. 1 obligation as a school district is to do what is best for the students of Irvine, and I know that you share this objective. I appreciate that there are many dynamic facets to this discussion and would encourage you to review the related stories on the IUSD NewsFlash.

As always, thank you for all that you do to support education in Irvine.

Terry L. Walker
Superintendent of Schools

 


On the heels of approving a new technology plan, board discusses tech financing options


Before the winter break, the IUSD Board of Education approved a three-year Technology Master Plan outlining long-term strategies for using high-tech tools to improve outcomes for students.

This week, the district’s technology chief and a consultant delivered a follow-up presentation to the board, exploring options for funding those ambitions with a technology bond.

IUSD’s new tech plan, which can be accessed here, shows how technology can be used to further instructional objectives, connecting specific curricular goals with measurable benchmarks. But it also acknowledges the stark reality that the district’s aging technology infrastructure is insufficient for 21st century teaching and learning.

Chief Technology Officer Brianne Ford told board members on Tuesday that IUSD currently spends about $5 million a year on technology, or roughly $165 per student. That leaves about $10 million to $12 million a year in unfunded needs.

“We have limited access to technology devices and wireless throughout the campuses,” she said, “and we’re heavily reliant on donations and one-time money to close the gaps periodically.”

Fully implementing the Technology Master Plan would cost an estimated $168.8 million over 10 years, or $257.3 million over 15 years, according to Ford. But IUSD’s current technology spending would only cover $62.7 million over 10 years and $96.6 million over 15 years, assuming a 1 percent annual increase in spending.

A technology bond could fill a significant portion of the gap.

Adam Bauer, principal with Fieldman, Rolapp & Associates, told the board that a 10-year bond at a tax rate of $19 per $100,000 of assessed value would net about $62 million for technology, while a 15-year bond at the same rate would bring in about $106 million. A bond at $24 per $100,000 of assessed value would generate about $79 million over 10 years, or $135 million over 15 years, Bauer said. And a bond with a tax rate of $29 per $100,000 of assessed value would generate $96 million over 10 years, or $164 million over 15 years.

Board members will ultimately decide whether to bring a technology bond before voters and under what terms. Passage would require at least 55 percent under Proposition 39, which limits the use of bond proceeds and requires a citizens’ oversight committee.

If you’d like to check out a PDF of the slide presentation, you can do so by clicking here. For more information on IUSD’s technology initiative, visit www.irvineforward.org.

Also Tuesday night:

  • Irvine Public Schools Foundation CEO Neda Eaton announced that IPSF raised $1.1 million during its Annual Campaign, which concluded on Dec. 31. That total will be matched by the City of Irvine, and because the foundation can include some funds that were not matched in the prior year, it is eligible to receive the entire $1.3 million pledged by the City for classroom support. Eaton thanked those who helped make the campaign a success, including the City, IUSD, the PTAs, the foundation’s corporate partners and the many parents and individuals who donated.
  • The Board of Education voted to name an elementary campus planned for the Portola Springs area. The school now officially known as Portola Springs Elementary will open at an interim site in the fall before moving to its permanent home for 2015-16.
  • Meeting a requirement of the state Education Code, board members voted to receive and file a financial audit of IUSD for the 2012-13 fiscal year. The audit was conducted by the independent firm Vavrinek, Trine, Day & Co.

Sharon Wallin elected as school board president; Lauren Brooks named clerk


At this week’s yearly organizational meeting, the Board of Education voted unanimously to elect Sharon Wallin to a one-year term as president and Lauren Brooks to a one-year term as clerk.

Newly appointed board member Ira Glasky also formally took the oath of office Tuesday night before the five-member board approved school site liaison assignments, appointed representatives to various committees and established meeting dates through December 2014. The next two regular meetings are scheduled for Jan. 14 and Feb. 4.

Wallin, the new president, is currently serving her third term after winning re-election in November 2010. She has been a strong advocate for emergency preparedness, student safety and adequate state funding for public education.

Board certifies First Interim Report

Also Tuesday, the board voted to certify IUSD’s First Interim Report of 2013-14 as “positive,” meaning the district is expected to meet its financial obligations over the next few 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, while qualified indicates a district may not be able to meet its financial obligations for the current year and the two subsequent years. A negative certification indicates that a district will not be able to meet its financial obligations over this period.

John Fogarty, IUSD’s assistant superintendent of Business Services, said the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office continues to call for “cautious optimism,” projecting increases in state revenue all the way through 2019-20.

“They’re operating under the assumption that the economy is healthy, that it’s rebounding and that it will continue that rebound,” he said.

Still, Fogarty pointed out that economic downturns tend to occur every five years, and he acknowledged that even the experts haven’t reached consensus on their revenue forecasts for public education, with two of the agencies that provide guidance to school districts offering vastly different recommendations based on anticipated growth and the timeline for fully implementing the state’s new Local Control Funding Formula.


Board of Education approves first reading of three-year plan outlining technology goals


IUSD board members on Tuesday approved the first reading of a three-year Technology Master Plan detailing the district’s goals for leveraging technology to improve student outcomes.

Chief Technology Officer Brianne Ford led a comprehensive presentation on the document, which outlines current technology use, instructional objectives, staff development, infrastructure needs, costs and ongoing oversight. Guided by a 32-member steering committee, the plan, which has been in development since May 2012 and has already been shared with district leaders, post-secondary institutions and business leaders.

Specific curriculum goals are accompanied by measurable benchmarks and address the use of collaborative classroom tools, as well as problem-solving techniques, presentation skills, complex analysis and responsible use. Kris Linville, IUSD’s educational technology coordinator, said these goals were designed to align with another important document — IUSD’s Continuous Improvement Efforts, which outlines essential capacities for students and staff.

“As you go through the tech plan, you’ll notice that the essential capacities are reflected in all of the goals,” he said.

Linville added that professional learning is also embedded in the plan, ensuring teachers and staff will be capable and comfortable using 21st century tools.

While district leaders have acknowledged that technology will never take the place of great classroom teaching, there’s no doubt that its reach is expanding exponentially, requiring college students and career-seekers to possess a broader technological skill set. Meanwhile, schools and districts across the nation are utilizing web-based innovations to make the work of educators and support staff more efficient and effective.

Still, IUSD has some infrastructure obstacles to overcome if it hopes to realize its technological ambitions. Marty Danko, director of information services, told board members that the district’s data center is underpowered and network bandwidth is insufficient to support modern teaching and learning. Out at the school sites, he said, the majority of cabling is more than 17 years old, and most of the hardware is at least eight years old. Wireless equipment is also aging and unable to support current bandwidth needs.

IUSD has an ongoing technology budget of approximately $5 million, or about $160 per student. Upgrades, Ford said, will require additional resources.

The board is expected to approve a second reading and adoption of the tech plan at its December meeting. A technology steering committee — this group will comprise teachers, administrators, support staff, parents, students, business leaders and post-secondary partners — will ultimately be responsible for implementing and monitoring the plan, meeting quarterly starting in February 2014.

To access the plan, click here. To view the slide presentation from Tuesday’s meeting, click here, or on the photo above.