Though many in attendance were anxious to find out the fate of the Golden State Warriors, the overall theme of June 13 Santa Clara Unified District School Board meeting was bittersweet due to the departure of a beloved Superintendent.
Dr. Rose’s Final Bow
Superintendent Dr. Stan Rose was fondly recognized at his final meeting. He received thoughtful gifts and speakers had nothing but praise for his six-year run. Staff created a sweet video message for him where students described how they thought Dr. Rose should spend his retirement — like dance and sing on the moon.
Dr. Rose said he was truly grateful for everyone and that the wishes he received meant a lot to him.
“I got to come home to where I grew up,” said Dr. Rose on ending his career in education so close to where he went to school himself.
Staff bid a teary-eyed farewell to Dr. Rose and expressed excitement for Dr. Stella Kemp’s reign. Dr. Kemp will officially take the torch as Superintendent in July.
The Board discussed a potential contract with ICS4SCHOOLS to provide disaster preparedness services for the 2019-2020 school year.
Susan Harris, Principal on Special Assignment – School and District Safety, introduced Joe Viramontez, who is the founder and CEO of ICS4SCHOOLS, and described the types of services his company would provide. Services would include assessments of all the school sites and various training — including Incident Command System Training for all staff.
Total cost for the year for the service would be $74,655 for all schools. The decision will come back for Board action at the next meeting.
Going Over the Numbers
The Board heard a report about the Proposed 2019-2020 Adopted Budget from Eric Dill, SCUSD’s Chief Business Official.
Dill highlighted the key themes of the budget: decreased revenue, increased expenditures, and an operating general fund deficit. Though, these themes may sound like a disaster, Dill offered some clarification.
The decreased revenue can in-part be blamed on the recent Santa Clara County Assessment Appeals Board’s decision to reduce the 49er’s property taxes on Levi’s Stadium, which also required that SCUSD give back $13 million in overpaid taxes the district already received. The decision also means that from now on, the district will lose out on $2.4 million in taxes annually. However, the Assessment Appeals Board’s decision is currently being appealed by the County and may be reviewed.
The increased expenditures could be partially tracked back to some new full-time staff positions and the corresponding increase of benefits costs.
At the moment, the adopted budget of almost $279,000,000 is showing a $10,202,704 deficit, which is about 3 percent of the budget. According to Dill, when the compared to trends from previous years’ budgets, it seems common for the district to show a larger deficit at this point in the year, and then close the deficit gap before they close the books in September.
“What we’re showing here is a 3 percent shortfall,” said Dill. “You have a history of doing better by the time we reach the end of the year, so that’s our work, to continue to close that gap once we get into the next year.”
Dill also explained that the upcoming budget will be clearer because this year they set up a Special Reserve where one-time revenue will live and won’t “cloud” the ongoing operating budget in the General Fund.
The 2019-2020 Adopted Budget will come back to the next meeting for Board action.
Agnews High School Designs Are Here
The Agnews campus is really starting to come together. At the meeting, the Board got to see the designs for the new 1,600-student Agnews high school.
Helen Pierce, Design Director with LPA Architects, who has been the lead design architect on all three schools on the Agnews campus, and Rita Frink, a landscape architect, presented the designs.
Some highlights: the high school will include a 457-seat theatre with a full stage and an orchestra pit, and culinary classrooms and science labs.
The Board Members collectively said they thought the designs were beautiful and praised the architects. The high school is slated to open in August 2022.
The Board recognized Patty Picard, Chapter 350 CSEA President, on her retirement. Lynn Villarreal is the new President.
Speaking of new faces, the Board appointed William Chapman as the new Vice Principal at Wilcox High School. Additionally, they appointed Dawnel Sonntag as the new Agnews Middle School Principal.
The SCUSD School Board meets again on Thursday, June 27 at 6:30 p.m.