“It’s the most dramatic reform in school finance since the early 1970s,” Casey Goodall, TUSD’s assistant superintendent for business services, said. “It replaces the old way school districts are funded.”
According to Linda Boragno-Dopp, TUSD director of alternative programs, school districts must throw out their previous process using categorical funds and put everything into one money pot.
“We’re working to get people’s input on how to spend the money,” Boragno-Dopp said.
She said the district intends to tweak a funding template from the state to fit the Tracy community.
Each school district in the state must have public meetings to find ways to address eight state priority areas through its goals and actions, according to the California Department of Education.
The priorities are: making sure that all students have access to fully credentialed teachers, safe facilities and instructional materials that align with state standards; following Common Core State Standards; getting parents involved so the local community is engaged in the decision-making process; and supporting student engagement, including looking at whether children attend school or are chronically absent.
Boragno-Dopp, who said TUSD is already meeting those priorities with its seven strategic goals, thanked the 25 parents, educators, students and residents who attended the meeting Tuesday in the Tracy High School library.
“We’re thrilled to have all of you here — you’re vital to come up with a good, strong plan,” she said.
One of TUSD’s strengths identified by the group was its teaching staff. Participants also wanted to see more student counselors, tutoring and vocational programs, a districtwide all-day kindergarten class and ways for teachers to identify foster students to help with their particular needs.
Sheila Harrison, assistant superintendent of educational services, told the participants she was impressed with their ideas but warned there wasn’t enough money to provide everything on their wish list.
Those who could not attend Tuesday’s meeting can share their opinions during two upcoming public hearings at TUSD school board meetings — one Tuesday and another in May.
Harrison said the final word on the budget would come from the school board.
TUSD must submit its funding plan to the county office of education by July 1.
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