CUSD

The March 11, 2021, Coronado Unified School District (CUSD) Governing Board meeting began with multiple tributes to Coronado High School (CHS) teacher Ray Yannaccone who recently passed away. Yannaccone came to CHS in 1999 and was an English teacher and the advisor for the CHS Improv group. Many noted his warm personality, booming voice, talent as a thespian, and the colorful ties he wore. In lieu of flowers, Yannaccone’s family has requested donations be made to the Coronado School of the Arts.

As the district continues to grapple with COVID-19 related issues the Board heard reports from each department and approved the most recent Interim Budget report. 

Deputy Superintendent Donnie Salamanca presented the second of two Interim Budget reports for fiscal year 2020-21. Maneuvering to adapt to constantly changing realities in both revenues and expenses is a regular challenge for public schools, but COVID-19 has brought additional complexity to the task.

Highlights of note on the revenue side include a $744,123 increase in Federal Impact Aid and a $434,395 decrease in rental income directly related to facility closures due to COVID-19. Of note on the expenditure side is a $1,585,898 decrease in costs, attributed to savings in salary and benefits for substitute teachers and transportation and utility costs, also directly related to COVID-19.

In his report Salamanca also presented a CARES Act summary. The district received $1,494,996 in relief funds of which $1,022,559 have been spent (primarily on professional development, teacher prep and instructional materials, technology, safety and cleaning, contact tracing and health supports).

Additionally, Salamanca showed a projected ending balance of all funds at $16.4 million this fiscal year, $13.9 million in 2021-22, and $11.5 million in 2022-23. The district is required to demonstrate fiscal stability three years out. Salamanca noted that the projections could be impacted by changes in state and federal funding, ongoing closures of the Brian Bent Memorial Aquatics Complex [BBMAC] and Crown fee-based preschool, as well as Developer fees. He further explained the uncertainty noting a projected surplus of $160,000 in the Child Nutrition Services due to reimbursement from the [COVID related] weekly bulk meal distribution. Conversely he pointed out a projected deficit of $244,000 at the BBMAC [attributed to decreased rental revenues of ‘fair market value’ renters because of COVID-19 restrictions and increased staffing to support public health protocols], and a deficit of $300,000 in preschool programs. Additionally there is a projected $468,000 decrease in the Capital Facilities Fund due to less developer fees, and a $546,000 annual debt service payment.

Learning and Instruction: Director of Learning Dr. Battle discussed the impact of the county moving into a ‘red tier.’ She said that all four school sites will continue with no changes to current hybrid models at least through Spring Break [April 6]. Regardless of the tier, the district must continue to adhere to health department guidelines which limit the options for expanded on-campus opportunities in Phase 5 of CUSD’s reopening plan. 

Battle invited CHS Athletic Director Robin Nixon to give a brief update on start dates and testing requirements for each sport. Nixon said that at some point between now and the end of the school year all sports will be allowed to play some sort of “season.” She cautioned that everything from spectating rules to testing guidelines are changing on a daily basis. 

Student Services: Director of Student Services Niamh Foley gave a brief update to last month’s presentation introducing the newly adopted ‘Handle With Care’ application adopted in partnership with the San Diego District Attorney’s Office and the Coronado Police Department. The app will allow a law enforcement officer to alert school staff when a student has been exposed to trauma that requires police involvement.

Foley also gave her monthly report on the district’s Equity Committee. The committee is an advisory resource for the board and has yet to make any formal recommendations. The group has divided into four sub-committees to focus on analyzing problems and solutions in the areas of: Human resources and budgetary allocations; Positive school climate; Supplemental instructional materials; and Professional development.

Long Range Plan: Superintendent Mueller shared information on Summer School plans and employee vaccination efforts. Staff is finalizing summer school schedules and surveying teachers to determine interest in summer teaching positions. 

Regarding vaccines; an email was sent to over 500 employees (including substitutes and coaches) to notify them of local vaccine opportunities for district employees of any age. Close to 300 individuals were vaccinated via the partnership location with the City of Coronado and Sharp Hospital. A follow-up survey showed that some individuals had been vaccinated prior or elsewhere. The district also sent nine reminder emails about available appointments. “We are confident that anyone who wanted to get vaccinated had the opportunity to do so,” Salamanca said. 

Other department updates included the recognition of Crown Preschool teacher Eileen Rodriguez as CUSD’s 2021 SELPA award winner for her contributions to the special education and early education fields. SELPA is a coalition of area school districts that coordinate and monitor special education programs to comply with federal and state mandates. Rodriguez has been at CUSD since 2000 and was the first preschool educator in the district. She has worked in multiple positions throughout the district and is currently leading the Inclusion program at Crown Preschool. 

Finally, in response to comments made during the ‘Public Comments’ section of the meeting regarding the upcoming bell schedule change, the Board asked for an update in April on the progress of the initiative. 

The next CUSD Governing Board meeting will be on Thursday, April 15, at 4 p.m.

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