Dear Scotts Valley Unified Parents, Employees, Students and Community Members,
Thanks to growth in State revenue and the Proposition 98 guarantee, the 2015-16 school year budget will include additional funding in a number of areas. Cuts to our budgets imposed by the State during the great recession will be about 91.4% repaid which is $1.7 million short of fully funded. One-time discretionary funds are being provided at an estimate of $601 per ADA (Average Daily Attendance). Transitional funding for Career Technical Education to fund the program in grades 9 – 12 is planned with the expectation that the District will fully support the program beginning in 2018-2019. We have a Memo of Understanding with Santa Cruz County ROP (Regional Occupational Program) to provide 25 percent funding next year to continue the CTE course at SVHS. There is disappointment that there are no new recommendations for school facility funding in the new budget year. The District is continuing to apply for programs to support the rebuilding of Scotts Valley Middle School, such as Seismic Mitigation Program funding, for which there is eligibility confirmed to the District by the Department of the State Architect.
As the District has worked collaboratively with our staff, parents and stake-holder groups, we have placed the priorities squarely on students with improvements and enhancements to the educational program, including:
- Lowering class sizes for grades K-3, PE at SVHS and maintaining the staffing added to grades 6th-12th to address some of our largest class sizes;
- Improving school allocations that will ensure all schools are fully staffed and ready for students on the first day of school;
- Closing the achievement gap with English learners, economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities and foster youth;
- Investing in essential programs like International Baccalaureate (IB), Academies, specialty arts and music programs, early literacy and math intervention, and Transitional Kindergarten;
- Budgeting for the replacement of aging computers, servers and other instructional equipment;
- Budgeting for the continued acquisition of computing devices toward achieving the District goal of 1:1, one device per student.
Our balanced budget proposal for 2015-16 puts students first with smaller class sizes, improving technology access with both mobile devices and better infrastructure for connectivity, and supporting visual and performing arts, IB programs, Curriculum Coaching and program designs such as the academies at SVMS and the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at SVHS that are proven to improve student achievement while providing opportunities for enrichment. Student achievement continues to increase as a result of the hard work of our students, our staff members, our parents and community members. This year, SVMS and SVHS were recognized by the State as Gold Ribbon Schools.
While budget challenges remain, the fiscal outlook is changing. We will work to implement the new budget model, the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) with the priorities identified throughout our collaboration. Stakeholders will have more opportunity to give input at school level meetings and District forums along with online surveys.
Locally, the District is adjusting budgets to account for less funding as the temporary parcel tax measure, Measure K, has expired. Three years of about $280,000 in funding from the $48 per parcel tax measure provided the support needed to keep the District off the fiscal cliff. We are very grateful for the community’s support with the passage of Measure K. Our revenue has increased and the District is now able to budget for the teaching positions that were funded by Measure K.
Thanks to the effective leadership of our dedicated Board of Trustees, the sacrifices of our employee groups, and the incredible work of Save our Schools Scotts Valley, Scotts Valley Education Foundation, the PTAs and Parent Clubs, and the Falcon Club our multi-year projections are also positive.
Together with our experienced Board of Trustees, all of us at SVUSD remain passionate about preparing our students for a bright future – college – and career ready and are keeping learning as our highest priority. We believe that good things will continue to happen and we remain “Together for Excellence.”
Penny Weaver, Superintendent