CUSD Board Receives A Preview Of Proposed Budget - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado City News

CUSD Board Receives A Preview Of Proposed Budget

by Luan Troxel | Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2019 2:47 pm

The Coronado Unified School District held its most recent board meeting on June 6. This is the last board meeting of the year with one more short one coming in just two weeks to finalize the budget.

The agenda had a single action item – to approve school plans for student achievement. But the meeting was long with an extended discussion of the current budget (based on the most recent expectations of what the state budget will be). All of this was preceded by audience comments.

Audience comments were segregated into three categories. The first speaker came to honor Patty Cowan, who is stepping down from her position with the Coronado Schools Foundation.

The second set of speakers focused on the issue of the TK/K move to the Village Elementary site. Most of the comments seemed to come as a result of the district launching its ECDC Facilities Use Committee. That committee is made up of volunteers from the community who have agreed to help explore, “ways to maximize the ECDC facility to benefit our district and the community of Coronado.” The four speakers stated concerns that included questioning whether a broad enough set of stakeholders was asked to participate (an email asking for volunteers went out to parents of current students only), whether the cart has come before the horse in terms of making the decision to move the TK/K without first having a plan, and whether thinking big is not the best approach. The final speaker on the topic asked that all the materials relevant to the study of the move be placed in one electronic location to make it easier for interested parties to be able to remain informed. During the discussion of this topic on the agenda, the superintendent indicated that this would be done.

The final speaker from the audience spoke on a topic that had been voted on in the last meeting – changing vendors for special needs transportation. The parent, Nancy Parrett, brought up a number of issues that she says she learned subsequent to the vote including no requirements for consistency of drivers, use of uniforms, badges or other identification, no prohibition on unauthorized individuals in the car with the driver, etc.

The School Plan for Student Achievement was approved unanimously, but generated discussion around what Trustee Esther Valdes called the “growing achievement gap” of Latino and Hispanic students, which she referred to as “sizable and disturbing.” Valdes, Director of Learning, Dr. Megan Battle, and Superintendent Mueller all discussed various means of enhancing “engagement” and “connectedness” to stimulate greater achievement.

The single report that held the lion’s share of the time on the agenda was the 2019-2020 proposed budget. On the funding side, Assistant Superintendent, Donnie Salamanca, indicated that there were several positive elements from Governor Newsom’s budget that Coronado has been (or will be) able to take advantage of such as increased number of free or reduced fee seats in early childhood and a one to one salary match of funds (up to 10% of salary) to help with summer pay for classified employees. Salamanca also added that there is reason to be optimistic on some relief on funding for pension obligations and on per pupil funding, but he added that there are still many questions left unanswered. Until the state has its final budget on June 15, those questions will remain.

Conversation around the longer term spend down of reserves highlighted the issue of the importance of continuing to find efficiencies where possible and revenue sources (such as leveraging the ECDC facility) if possible.

The final board vote on the budget will be at the next meeting on June 20 in the Board Room at the CUSD offices.