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School board brainstorms 1999/2000 goals

ABHUTCHISON, Sierra Sun

Tahoe-Truckee Unified School Board members identified lowering the class size in fourth and fifth grades, maintaining appropriate staffing formulas for certified and classified personnel at each school site and in every department, and adopting an annual budget of a 3 percent or higher reserve for economic uncertainties as top priorities for the 1999-2000 budget.

Board members met with TTUSD Superintendent Pat Gemma in a special board meeting, Monday, May 10.

The meeting was intended to be a workshop for board members to brainstorm goals for next year and to identify critical areas to assist Gemma in developing the 1999-2000 budget.

The meeting was more of a philosophical discussion on areas of concern for board members, and how they relate to the budget and developing goals for next year.

“It was more of a philosophical discussion. It really wasn’t a goal setting discussion; it was a where-we-are-at now meeting,” said board president, Suzanne Prouty. “What we really have to still do is sit down and draw out the big picture goals.”

In the brainstorming process, board members identified a variety of goals they felt were important. “Our budget should mirror our vision and our goals. The budget process should be an accountability statement,” said Prouty. “To me, my number one goal is to review and revise our mission and vision statement.”

Board member John Wojcik mentioned that because the district is faced with the constraints of an extremely tight budget, not everyone’s priorities can be recognized.

“You can’t be all things to all people. Sometime, somewhere, you have to say no,” he said. His biggest priority was to provide excellence in secondary opportunities to facilitate college-bound students to be well-prepared for standardized tests and ultimately, college.

Although the board must discuss and develop their goals for next year in later, more in-depth workshops, they were able to prioritize items to help Gemma develop the budget for 1999-2000. Based on staff, community and parent input, the top priorities included:

– Lower the class size in fourth and fifth grades, which would mean staffing those levels at 29 to one rather than 33 to one.

– Maintain appropriate staffing formulas for certificated and classified personnel at each school site and in every department.

– Adopt an annual budget that shows at least a 3 percent reserve for economic uncertainties.

The board also addressed problems the district currently faces with workers compensation at Monday’s meeting.

So far this year, the district has seen a large increase in worker’s compensation claims, according to Gemma and district staff.

“We’ve known for about seven months that our experience claim with worker’s compensation reports is significantly higher than last year,” said Gemma.

TTUSD Maintenance Supervisor Chris Cooper reported that as of March 31, the district received a total of 31 workers compensation claims with more than $350,000 in claims costs.

“We have to get up on top of this problem,” said Gemma. He said that at some point in the future he would give a recommendation to the board how to staff resources that are needed to take care of claim costs.

Regular board meeting

The board will meet for a regular meeting on Thursday, May 13, in the Tahoe City Public Utility District building located on 221 Fairway Drive. TTUSD board meetings will be held at the Lakeside four times a year: at the Tahoe City PUD in October and May, and at the North Tahoe Conference Center in Kings Beach in November and April..

At Thursday’s meeting, district staff and board members will discuss summer school plans, an update on Prosser Creek Charter School operations and Truckee Donner Parks and Recreation District’s construction of a new multi-use field at Sierra Mountain Middle School.

The board will also be asked to approve the 1999-2000 school calendar. There will be a public hearing at 7 p.m. on adopting Measure S for the 1999/2000 tax year.

Upcoming Town Meetings

Town meetings will be held in reference to Measures R and C as part of a public input period for identifying the needs and concerns the community has for implementing the bond issues, said TTUSD board member Karen Van Epps. The information generated at the meetings will be forwarded to the architects for the design phases for modernization and construction projects at school sites.

“The town meetings are our opportunity to receive input from the community on needs or concerns of any of the identified projects,” said Van Epps. “The way the architects design school facilities is based on input from the community, staff, parents and teachers.”

Van Epps said the district is still recruiting members for citizen oversight committees for both measures and the recruiting will be an ongoing process.

The meetings are as follows:

– May 18 – Measure R meeting at North Tahoe High School, 7-9 p.m.

– May 20 – Measure C meeting at Tahoe-Truckee High School, 7-9 p.m.

– May 24 – Education Specifications meeting on Rideout Elementary at Tahoe Lake Elementary School, from 7 to 9 p.m.

– May 25 – Education Specifications site-based meeting at Kings Beach Elementary School, from 7 to 9 p.m.

– May 27 – Education Specifications site-based meeting at Truckee Elementary School, 7-9 p.m.

– June 1 – Education Specifications site-based meeting at TTHS, 7 -9 p.m.

– June 2 – Education Specification site-based meeting at North Tahoe High School, 7- 9 p.m.

– June 3 – Education Specifications site-based meeting on SMMS conversion project from 5 to 7 p.m., and on construction of new middle school from 7 to 9 p.m. at SMMS. The first bond oversight committee meeting for both Measure R and Measure S will be held on June 8 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the North Tahoe Conference Center in Kings Beach.


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