Board meeting yields new details on CUSD spending

The Thursday, September 5 meeting of the Claremont school board was marked by brevity and an agenda that was largely routine.

For the first order of business, Claremont High School student Alexa Ramirez was sworn in as CHS’s student board member for the 2013-2014 school year. Ms. Ramirez’ main duty is to make a report at each board meeting on the activities of various schools within the Claremont Unified School District, a task she will share with a representative from San Antonio High School. The student board member who had planned to represent SAH has a scheduling conflict, so the board is currently in search of a replacement.

Under Assembly Bill 86, Section 85, some $1.25 billion will be allocated to California schools over the next couple of years to support their transition to the new Common Core State Standards. For CUSD, that amount translates to approximately $200 per student or $1.4 million.

Given that the district has only 2 years to spend this one-time state funding allotment, and the Common Core form of assessment and associated curriculum will be implemented in the 2014-2014 school year, the district is opting to move forward by contracting with The Synced Solution, LLC, a company that is already being used by the nearby Chino Valley Unified School District.

The board voted to authorize the district to enter into an agreement for a software package license and service agreement, including 8 days of training. The cost of the contract is $54,000 for this year, $42,000 for next year and $42,000 for each successive year the agreement continues, all paid for from Common Core funds. It is a partnership that, according to Bonnie Bell, assistant superintendent of educational services for the district, will yield online curriculum materials available to all teachers in the district.

Prior to this action, Ms. Bell presented the district’s plans for spending Common Core funds, as stipulated by AB 86. She said the district will use Common Core funding to provide professional development for staff on Common Core Standards; to design curriculum aligned to the new standards; to adopt and purchase current standards-aligned instructional materials; to upgrade the districts technology infrastructure and purchase equipment and software to reflect the demands of the Common Core; and to hire addition staff as needed to support CUSD’s transition.

The district’s plans will become more clear as the needs of teachers—the main stakeholders in the implementation of the Common Core—are articulated over the coming months, Ms. Bell noted.

Earlier in the meeting, Lisa Shoemaker, assistant superintendent of business services, delivered another report the district is legally required to make: the yearly Unaudited Actuals Report for the Fiscal year. The “closing of the books” for the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2013 revealed that CUSD spent nearly $75 million during the 2012-2013 school year, with most of the money coming from the General Fund of over $58 million. With the passage of Prop 30 halting the funding cuts that have characterized the past few years in education, the district received enough money that the General Fund decreased by only $1.0 million in 2012-2013, according to the report.

To view the full report, and click on Meeting Agendas under the Board of Education tab. Then, select X1.B under the agenda for Thursday, September 5, 2013.

The next meeting of the Claremont Unified School District Board of Education is set for Thursday, September 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the Richard S. Kirkendall Education Center at 170 W. San Jose Ave. in Claremont.

—Sarah Torribio


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