Governor's budget proposal could mean more money for TUSD
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Jan 23, 2013 | 2573 views | 3 3 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tracy Unified School District officials were told Tuesday, Jan. 22, that “big, big changes” are being proposed for school funding in Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposal for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

Dr. Casey Goodall, assistant superintendent for business services for TUSD, told board trustees during their monthly meeting that the educational budget proposal intends to “focus accountability on the core requirements and outcomes expected of schools.”

He said such areas include basic conditions for student achievement such as qualified teachers, instructional materials, and school facilities in good repair.

One area that the district may financially benefit by the governor’s plan is his proposal to give more money to raise achievement test scores for low-income students and English Language Learners.

At TUSD, 48 percent of the students participate in the low-income free and reduced meals program, while 25 percent are English Language Learners.

In an effort to raise achievement levels, Brown proposes that all California schools reduce kindergarten through third-grade class sizes to 24 students per teacher during the next seven years.

Goodall said that the financial impact on facilities that need to lower their class sizes is not addressed in Brown’s proposal. He said currently the district doesn’t have the classrooms to meet the demand this reduction would create, but the good news is that it doesn’t have to be corrected over night.

“Class reduction is a good thing,” he said. “It’s an expensive problem, but it doesn’t have to be implemented until we get the (state) funding.”

He told the board that the district does have portables that could be utilized at the elementary schools, but they are not sure if those schools have the electrical power to run those additional classrooms.

Hearing the class size reduction news Trustee Kelly Lewis suggested that the facilities committee look outside the box for possible solutions.

Lewis suggested they consider adding another grade at the high school level to make it eight through 12. He said that would free up the class space at the elementary and middle schools.

“It’s something to think about,” said Lewis.

Goodall said since they are already expecting the loss of several hundred students from Kimball and West high schools when Mountain House High School opens its doors in August 2014, a change at the high school level might help meet the demand for more classrooms.

Overall, Goodall said the answers to make the governor’s budget plans possible have yet to be clarified, so its too difficult to say if TUSD will benefit or not.

Goodall said although the next fiscal meeting at the state house won’t be until the governors budget revision on May 15, he still anticipated receiving more updates over the next few weeks. He said he had hoped to make another presentation to the school board at their Feb. 12 meeting, but noted that it will be difficult to know what to expect until the state legislature votes to finalize the state budget in mid-June.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or drizzo@tracypress.com.



AT A GLACE:

WHAT: Tracy Unified School District School Board

WHEN: 7 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 22

WHERE: District Education Center Board Room, 1875 W. Lowell Ave.

DETAILS: President Greg Silva and board members Jill Costa, Gregg Crandall, Walter Gouveia, Ted Guzman, Kelly Lewis and James Vaughn were present.
Comments
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Macpup
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January 25, 2013
How does 48% of the students in TUSD qualify for free and reduced lunch? The demographics of Tracy households show that 10% fall in the economic levels for free and reduced lunch. http://www.ci.tracy.ca.us/documents/Demographic_Overview.pdf

I guess you don't have to prove that you meet the economic criteria because the school district wouldn't qualify for State money.

Mr. Lewis, please find another alternative than adding 12 year olds to high school.
tracyschooldist
|
January 25, 2013
now i get a more money
victor_jm
|
January 24, 2013
Educators are realist because they deal with reality (tautological observation, yes), but this adherence to reality by them often means lacking vision.

From this article: “Hearing the class-size reduction news, Trustee Kelly Lewis suggested the facilities committee look outside the box for possible solutions.”

Thinking outside the box” is a pathetic metaphor, and I am always wary of those who use this expression as an impetus (or as a rally cry) for change. The way I perceive it, “thinking outside the box” means thinking inside another (different) box, and this other box may lie inside the original box (I don’t suggest thinking inside triangles, either).

Now, a better solution might be directing all immigrants to Californians for Population Stabilization.



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