Classes are out, graduations are complete, and the Santa Clara Unified School District Board of Trustees is winding down the school year. At the Thursday, June 9 meeting, they gave the green light for Wilcox’s new tennis courts and looked at the Proposed 2022-2023 Budget.
Wilcox Tennis Courts
In April 2021, Santa Clara Unified saw the deplorable state of the Wilcox High School tennis courts. The courts are unusable, and the tennis program has been practicing and playing its games at other sites. The project has been a priority for the Board for over a year, but they wanted to finalize the costs for other projects before promising more Measure BB funds for the tennis courts project.
During public comment, the Wilcox community asked the Board to not only replace the six courts but also add an additional court and upgrade the concessions facilities and bathrooms.
“We wanted this done yesterday,” joked Board Member Albert Gonzalez.
Larry Adams, Director of School Bond Projects, presented some options that included the community’s wish list and additionally asked the Board to consider replacing the home and visitor bleachers at Wilcox and the visitor bleachers at Santa Clara High School. Adams says these upgrades would be about $13,100,000 but believes the cost would decrease since they don’t have to make changes to the press boxes.
The Board agreed with these upgrades and asked Adams to try to finish the courts as soon as possible. The Director said he is already preparing contracts to put the project in motion and hopes they will be able to finish the courts by Fall 2023.
With the State getting closer to nailing down a budget, the District’s financial picture is getting clearer. Mark A. Schiel, Chief Business Official, showed the Board the Proposed 2022-2023 Budget.
Keeping in mind that Santa Clara Unified got COVID-19-related one-time funds over the last couple of years, they are expecting a $21 million difference in revenues. They do have some carryover revenue that will be reflected in the budget later, but most carryovers have specific restricted spending requirements.
For District revenue, Property Tax revenue is projected to increase by approximately $8 million from 2021 to 2022 and local revenue is projected to increase modestly — about $351,000 — from 2021 to 2022 due to leases, rentals and interest.
Salaries got their usual step/column increase and raises are still in negotiations. Employee benefits are projected to increase by approximately $8.8 million from 2021 to 2022. The increase can be primarily associated with employer contribution increases for STRS and PERS.
Schiel said they are looking for areas where they can trim down the books and supplies budget. COVID-19 incurred some costs they don’t plan on needing to repeat. But he is concerned about inflation and fuel costs.
Looking five years out, Schiel’s multi-year projections see no increase in STRS and PERS should start decreasing, which is positive news. They believe that unemployment insurance should go back to pre-pandemic levels.
Schiel foresees a lot of wins for them in the State budget. Due to declining enrollment, the State is looking at redefining Average Daily Attendance. The State is also looking into changes to the low-income criteria for the LCFF unduplicated.
Many have been discussing whether a recession is coming and the District is keeping an eye on that too. The Stock Market is also not in great shape and unemployment rates are concerning.
The Budget will come back for board approval.
Santa Clara Unified’s Facility Fees Schedule and user groups have been a divisive issue for years. If a group wants to use the District’s facilities, they are placed in one of five user groups that determines their fees.
Many factors determine what user group you are assigned (i.e. amount of SCUSD students participating, youth vs adult participants, etc.). Michal Healy, Director of Facility Development and Planning, has been fielding requests for fee waivers and exceptions since the fees went into place in 2019. Now, Healy is asking the Board to consider updating qualifications for one of the user groups so that the Board can approve lower or no fees for groups seeking an exception. The applying group would need to start an official process and include specific information for the Board’s consideration.
The Board agreed with Healy’s request. The requests for exceptions will come to the Board separately for approval. There are already groups being considered for the exception through Board approval: Umoja Track Club and PAL (Police Activities League). Healy added that more information on fees will come to a future Board meeting.
The State has mandated that school districts provide universal preschool for all four-year-old children. Kathie Kanavel, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, answered questions about SCUSD’s Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) plan, which will be full-day program.
Kanavel clarified that the program is mandated, but they are not getting any funding for this. She said they have been working with sites to see where TK enrollment will be and place TK classes where the need is the highest. SCUSD already has eight TK sites and is looking to bring on two more at Agnews and Laurelwood. And, depending on the enrollment, they may bring the program to Westwood and Bowers. They have been working with facilities to see where they have appropriate space.
They are already ordering supplies and working on the new curriculum. Also, though staffing has been a challenge, they are looking to hire teachers and paraeducators. Kanavel says they are aiming to have a 10-to-one ratio, so 20 kids with one teacher and another adult – preferably a paraeducator.
LCAP Annual Update
The Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) focuses on helping high-needs students — foster youth, English learners (EL) and low-income students.
According to Chief Academic and Innovation Officer Brad Stam, they follow their outlined goals to help reduce the achievement gap between student groups and use metrics to see how they’re doing.
For their annual update, Stam described their key themes from educational partners’ input: EL access to STEM, and graduation and career pathways; ELSAT support for EL students and their families; after school, summer school and tutoring support; teacher mindset and learning in language acquisition, SEL, culturally responsive practices; and SEL and trauma-informed practices.
This quarter’s difference makers were honored Thursday night. The Difference Makers are Shannon Allen, Scott Lane Elementary School Teacher; Veronica Zepeda, Scott Lane Elementary School Attendance Clerk; community member Mark Richardson; and Tim Chapman and Kevin Miller.
The Board approved June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual + (LGBTQQIA+) Pride Month.
Cameron Lewis was appointed as the Director of Data, Assessment & Accountability.
The Board pulled a consultant contract with Crescendo Education Group for Equitable Grading Professional Learning and Coaching from the consent calendar and asked staff to bring it back to a future meeting.
The Board’s Livestream had some technical difficulties — the audience couldn’t hear the Board Members who were calling in. Also, Board Member Jim Canova and Superintendent Dr. Stella Kemp were absent.
The Board’s last meeting before their Summer Break is Thursday, June 23 at 6:30 p.m.