My Turn: An update on Measure A budget
TAHOE/TRUCKEE and#8212; The Tahoe-Truckee Community once again supported a quality, well-rounded education with the passage of Measure A last March, thus minimizing reductions to science, music, art, technology, physical education, honors/advanced placement classes, vocational education, libraries, counseling, nurses and classroom supplies. Through the graciousness of parents and community members during a difficult economic time, Measure A passed for the benefit of all children in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District.
Last summer, board members of the Citizens Review Committee for Measure A began the process of building a new budget for the next cycle, beginning with the 2012-13 school year. In reviewing data, it was noted that over the past seven years, the CRC had been forced to decrease per-pupil spending in some areas in order to keep up with salary requirements and to stay within sound management criteria. The newest version of Measure A, with its expanded voter-approved resolution categories, allows the CRC to increase per-pupil spending, bringing back a higher level of funding for these programs.
The community voiced the value of preparing our students for college and careers, and we are pleased that the Citizens Review Committee is committed to continual funding of Advanced Placement classes in the areas such as Science, English, Spanish and History. In addition, Measure A will fund High School Vocational Ed and Academic Enhancement student fees for classes such as Culinary, Art and Construction. Additional funding is also being made available for Elementary Science enrichment and Middle and High School supplies and activities.
Measure A has significantly increased Technology funding at all levels along with the promised funding for Physical Education, Libraries, Art and Music. In the aforementioned categories, spending has increased 50 percent to 300 percent to meet the needs of the children for equipment and supplies. Middle and High School Bands along with Elementary music programs will once again have funding to purchase much needed instruments each year and approximately $315,000 has been budgeted for instructional materials.
The Measure A CRC has also approved a proposal from Arts For the Schools to provide the popular Artist in Residence program meeting state standards for visual art instruction for grades 3, 4, 5 and at-risk High School students attending Sierra Continuation High School and Community School. Fine Art instruction is part of high school graduation requirements, and these students rely on the Artist in Residence program to meet this requirement. All grades 3, 4 and 5 will be bringing home 3 projects per year including the beloved painted egg and poetry project that has historically been funded through PTOs.
Contrary to some spreading misinformation, Measure A is not reducing funding for music programs. Because of voter support to renew the measure last year, we can still offer music at all levels in our schools; without Measure A, every bit of this would be eliminated. To find out more about Measure A funding categories, go to the Measure A website (www.ttusd.org and#8212; the Measure A link in the list on the right) and find the Minutes from the Citizenand#8217;s Review Committee, budget information and proposals.
The very thorough financial stewardship of the CRC combined with lower than anticipated district expenses during the 2011-12 school year provided the CRC with a balance allowing for one time grants to school sites. Many of the approved grants will be used to purchase 21st century education technology, library books and improvements, playground equipment and High School Challenge Days at different for the students of TTUSD which everyone is very excited about!
In conclusion, the board of the Citizen Review Committee wholeheartedly thanks parents, teachers, business and community members for voting yes on Measure A last March and for continuing to support public education and our local students. Interested community members are welcome and encouraged to attend Measure A Citizens Review Committee meetings. The meeting schedule, along with minutes, budgets and general information, are posted on the TTUSD website, http://www.ttusd.org, on the Measure A link on the right hand side of the page.
Phebe Bell, Syd Earley, Kerry Fenton, Emily Goss, Donna Morgan
CRC Board Members
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Friends of the Truckee Library gave a presentation at Tuesday’s Truckee Town Council meeting, providing an update on work to ensure a new library while asking for further support for the project.