Lindsay Marks 6 p.m., Dec. 5
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Sweetwater Union High School District Education Summitt 2012 - Here's What I Heard
I'm not sure how many of you attended the Summitt last night at Sweetwater High School. I did and here is some of what I heard.
Five major topics were discussed by the district. The first was the Compact for Success. The district reported a 578% increase in college ready students over a ten year period of 2000 - 2010, or more than 5000 students.
The second item discussed were the IPads. There are currently 6000 Ipads with an additional 8000 anticipated next year. They were funded with Mello Mello Roos and Proposition O monies. They used a proportionate share from the Mello Roos fund (25%) which is equal to rhe number of students that live in Mello Roos areas. The district anticipates having to upgrade their wireless infrastructure as the number of users increases over the next few years.
The third item discussed was the budget for 2012-2013. This is the 5th straight year of cuts to education in California. The total budget for this year is $339 million. Salaries and benefits account for 80% of the budget. It costs the district $7700 to educate each student, but they are reimbursed only $5800 by the state. They have anticipated total expenditures at $331 million. The district also indicated that state aid represents 52% of their cashflow, and because the timing of how the state pays them, they have a cash flow problem. As a result, they have resorted to borrowing money from the Mello Roos fund to make up the cash flow shortgage. However, they do repay this fund as required by law. They are not borrowing from Prop O or the state matching funds as the Trustees gave the district a directive not to.
The district also discussed the Mello Roos in a bit more detail. There are 17 Community Facilities Districts, and Mello Roos from these districts can be used for school facilities, students, personal property, modernization and technology. So it was okay to use this fund for the IPads.
The district told us they had declining enrollment over the last 3 years, so they implemented various initiatives to stop this. As a result, enrollment is up by 650 students this year.
The fourth item discussed was facilities, which includes transportation and maintenance. There are 100 buses which provide 8800 student rides per day. The district services a 100 square mile area, and cut 10% or $800,000 out of the budget. Walking distances were increased to 2.5 miles for middle schools and 3.5 miles for high schools. There are now only 200 students on the waiting list.
As far as maintenance, the district has spent $287 million in Proposition O projects.
The fifth and final item was the high school/middle school redesign. This will make all district students college and career ready by the time they graduate. Each middle and high school will have a pathway program on campus. The key focus areas are health care, construction, IT, engineering and business.
So that is a summary of what i heard. If you were there, what did you hear?