2012-13 budget and the parameters for accepting summer school credits from outside institutions are two issues on which the governing board will vote Tuesday night.
Board members also will vote on a proposal to begin purchasing and installing the hardware to get the entire District on WiFi over the summer.
School board member Andrew Blumenfeld's Education Action Committee sent out the following update on Tuesday's agenda:
Unfortunately, the financial outlook remains bleak. As we have communicated in the past, the Board is operating under the assumption that the November tax initiatives will fail, saddling the District with an additional loss of about $450 per student each year, on top of the massive cuts already incurred since 2007. With great effort on the part of the community, we have been raising an incredible amount of money ($1.9 million at last count!), to help us weather the next year of uncertainty, and retain many teachers.
After November, however, the District will need to take immediate steps to secure additional funding to keep LCUSD solvent. Our current reserves cannot sustain the District through these state cuts beyond the 2013-2014 school year.
While the current budget is not a pretty one, it will have to suffice until we are certain of the outcome of the November elections, and can strategize accordingly.
Summer School Credits
At the November 15, 2011 meeting, the Governing Board engaged in a thorough discussion about the District's options for accepting summer school credit for courses taken at other institutions. After a lengthy conversation, the Board directed staff not to change the current policies or practices on this topic for the time being. The issue has returned to the Board, with new regulations governing LCUSD's acceptance of summer school credit from other institutions. Specifically, the regulations dictate that credit will only be awarded when the outside agency's summer school program is accredited. However:
- if the outside agency's summer school program is accredited by WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) due to its school year program's accreditation, then the umbrella coverage is only valid if the summer school program is materially similar to its school year program courses (i.e., course description, instructional minutes, etc.)
- If the outside agency's summer school program is not materially similar to the regular year program, then the summer school program must have a supplementary educational program accreditation from WASC.
(Please note no changes would take place until the summer of 2013.)
I believe that the District should require that courses be taken at an accredited institution. I am a bit concerned, however, about the criteria the District may use to determine what is and isn't "materially similar."
Further, I am under the impression that - by far the most popular summer school option for LCUSD students- is currently in the process of acquiring updated accreditation which would preserve this well-loved option for our community under the adoption of such regulations.
This is an important topic for our community, and I hope you will consider attending the meeting to offer your thoughts and feedback, and to learn more about the proposed changes.
WiFi Coming to LCUSD
Funding for such a project will be available via the District's "developer fees" which are collected on building permits in LCF, and remitted to the District by the city. Laws governing the fees limit their use to particular programs that can demonstrate growth. The use of technology, and especially wireless technology, suffices as one such demonstration of growth.
As we prepare for the introduction of the Common Core State Standards, one important element is technology, as the testing is expected to be computerized. As such, the District's Technology Review and Advisory Committee has created short- and long-term plans to maximize our technology funds in preparation for these changes. The introduction of WiFi on our campuses will go a long way in this effort.