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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.