The California Legislature adopted a budget this week that calls for flat funding for K-12 education, but schools remain vulnerable to midyear cuts that would be automatically triggered if an anticipated spike in revenue doesn’t materialize.
The IUSD Board of Education voted unanimously this week to adopt a budget for 2011-12, and, in the same motion, directed staff to forward all appropriate documents to the Orange County Department of Education.
Unless you were around for the end of Tuesday night's Board of Education meeting, you may not be aware that board members authorized issuing $25 million in school construction bonds, which will be subsidized in part through a federal stimulus program designed to spur shovel-ready construction projects.
BY SUPERINTENDENT GWEN E. GROSS, Ph.D. In this era of shrinking state revenue, the Irvine Unified School District has grown accustomed to preparing its annual budgets with worst-case scenarios in mind. Unfortunately, based on recent reports out of Sacramento, what appeared to be a worst-case scenario in March now looks optimistic at best.
A group of politically astute students from all five IUSD high schools traveled to Sacramento Tuesday to engage in wide-ranging discussions on the budget and other matters of local interest with some of California’s top movers and shakers. Irvine high-schoolers have been taking part in these PTA-sponsored treks to the state capital for several years now to learn more about the legislative process and to explain to policymakers how cuts to education are impacting instruction and local programs.
A recent legal settlement between the state and the American Civil Liberties union over student fees has brought clarity to a complex issue, but it will make school districts more dependent on local donations to preserve educational opportunities for students, writes Superintendent Gwen Gross in a letter to the community. "In short, we are witnessing a paradigm shift in California, and we must do our best to adapt and remain in legal compliance," Dr. Gross writes.
At its meeting this week, the IUSD Board of Education engaged in a discussion with attorney Mark Bresee on the ramifications of a recent legal settlement between the American Civil Liberties Union and the state of California over student fees. In September, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the state over charges and deposits imposed on public school students, citing examples from 32 districts, including IUSD.
BY SUPERINTENDENT GWEN E. GROSS, Ph.D. California may have new faces in the governor’s office and the Legislature, but the revenue problems that have long plagued the Golden State look all too familiar. For his part, newly elected Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing to combat the state’s budget crisis by making additional cuts and extending taxes that would otherwise expire. But the latter will require voter approval, and there’s no guarantee that will happen.