Concerns, Issues regarding Building/Inspection, Safety, Fire, to be brought before State Politicians

I have been contacted by someone with contacts at the State level who "will be speaking with the Politicians in Sacramento" in the coming weeks and specifically wants to hear from residents, parents, students, staff of FUSD on
any issues regarding Building, Safety, Fire etc within FUSD.

If you have any concerns regarding issues at any site, or with building/inspection etc.
Please write something up, indicate which site and please be specific about the problem or issue.

We need this info by the end of this week.
Please email to schoolmatters@fillmoregazette.com
or post as a comment here. I can only accept comments with names so that I can verify the issue, and contact you if necessary. If you send an email and indicate that you wish to remain anonymous that is fine.

Happy Monday, Kim

 


 
Curriculum Audits at Piru and Middle School; Graduation Requirements; Budget Update Etc.

Below are several segments from the January 18, 2011 School Board Meeting. Our goal is to start recording all meetings, and get the videos posted promptly. You'll notice that we've "cut" it up so that you can watch the segments that you're interested in.
Remember the next meeting is February 15th at Piru Elementary School.

Future Farmers of America report by Brooke Aguirre and "Students First" award to Janice Schieferle

Curriculum Audit Report from Principals at: Piru Elementary School and Fillmore Middle School:

Student Rep (Sean Chandler) and Board Member Reports:

Discussion on Jeff Sweeney's suggestion to begin to examine graduation requirements:
Graduation Requirements

Budget Update:

 


 
Budget Breakdown and Site Budgets

School Matters Post

Questions received via email:

“How much of the budget is spent on Administrative salaries and compensation?”
- FUSD Teacher

“It may be helpful to show a breakdown of expenses in the District, including books and supplies, facilities [and so on]”. – Concerned Resident

First, I need to make a correction; in a previous blog post I indicated that the budget for FUSD is $35 million. But according to the projected, unaudited budget (I have requested a copy of the audited budget) dated June 2010 for this current school year the total General Fund budget is $30.7 million but remember budgets are fluid and ever changing, and in school districts they are based on how many students sit in classrooms each day, so we really don’t know the years budget, until the year is over. Make sense?

So if we first look at the pie chart included in the Unaudited Budget dated June 2010 the District reports that it spends 86% of its budget on personnel. According to another chart “management” (salaries only, excluding benefits) expenses makes up 6% of the total budget. Compare that to 42% for certificated employees (teachers) or 4% for books and supplies.
When we look at the actual numbers, based on a print out from the District office dated September 2010 here are the actual numbers, these numbers include salary and benefits representing the total cost to the District for each position.

Certificated Non Management Salaries: $12.4 million
Classified Non Management Salaries: 4.5
Management/Supervisor Salaries: 1.9
Employee Benefits 6.7
Books and Supplies 1.3
Operating 2.7
Capital/Other 0.3
Total Expenditures 29.7
Ending Balance 1.0
Total General Fund 30.7

Administrative Salaries, per report from District office dated September 2010.

Salary Total Expense
Superintendent: $144,046 **$180,293***

**Note: the salary was reported to me upon request. But I have been unable to obtain a report on the actual District expense of all of the benefits and compensation for the position of Superintendent. So, this number of Total Expense for the position of Superintendent is an estimate. Here is how I calculated it:
$144,046 salary
+$ 4,000 – car allowance, per contract dated 2006, $400.00 per month. The contract does not specify if this is paid for 12 months, or only for 10 months during the school year. I assumed that it would only be during the school year so I used $400 x 10 months= $4,000.00)
+$1200.00 – per contract the maximum paid annually for Term Life Insurance
+$1,829 MEDI *
+$920 SUI*
+$3,057 WC*
+$14,871 H/W*
+$10,370 STRS & STRSC*
• These are all estimates taken from the District expense for the Asst. Superintendent position, Educational services. I thought these numbers would be somewhat comparable, if a little on the low side.

=$180,293.00 Total Expense to the District ESTIMATED. Any additional expenses incurred associated with duties are compensated, as well as any additional costs of an annual physical examination not covered by the health insurance provided.
Salary / Total District Expense
Asst. Superintendent, Educ. Services $125,654 / $156,691
After Schl Prog. Coordinator/Stdnt Services $95,456 / $122,626
Asst. Superintendent, HR Director $96,082 / $123,293
Special Ed Coordinator $89,351 / $112,629
Asst. Superintendent, Fiscal Services $124,452 / $154,483
Director, Budget and Accounting $87,360 / $119,965
Director, Facilities and Construction $81,853 / $113,158
Director of Neighborhood for Learning $55,611 / $83,694
Director of Child Nutrition $70,973 / $98,034
Elem. Principal Piru $80,181 / $91, 836
Elem. Principal San Cayetano $92,259 / $110,800
Elem. Principal Sespe $92,259 / $118,986
Elem. Principal Mountain Vista $92,259 / $105,599
Sierra High Principal $81,119 / $115,315
Fillmore High School Principal $111,785 / $141,014
FHS Asst. Principal $87,054 / $110,036
FHS Asst. Principal $100,984 / $128,838

Sub-Total: $2,243,756
Superintendents Salary & Expenses= $180,293.00
Total: $2,424,049
There are some administrative positions that were not included in the report I received. I will be requesting these reports in the next few months. If there is a position that you are curious about, either request the info from the District office, or let me know. All information on compensation of any employee is a matter of public record.

Site Budgets: I thought this was an easy way view the Districts budget; again this is all based on the unaudited budget dated June 2010.

Site Budgets:

Mountain Vista:
Enrollment Projected: 554
Actual as of January 11, 2011 (per the ConAp): 578

Unrestricted General Fund 2009-10 Estimated / 2010-11 Proposed
Certificated Salaries; 1,650,414 / 1,555,191
Classified Salaries 101,079 / 101,230
Employee Benefits 506,705 / 530,320
Books and Supplies 33,267 / 16,210
Other Services 158,593 / 117,543
Capital Outlay 0 / 0
Total Expenditures 2,450,058 / 2,320,494

Restricted General Fund
Expenditures By Program 09-10 Estimated /10-11 Proposed
Title I Basic Aid 83,953 / 56,945
School Based Coordinated Programs 88,721 / 0
English Language Acq. Program 6,173 / 6,273
Economic Impact Aid-LEP 37,853 / 10,983
Economic Impact Aid-SCE 0 / 25,945
Total Expenditures 216,700 / 100,146

Piru:
Enrollment projected: 346
Actual as of January 11, 2011 (per the ConAp): 306

Unrestricted General Fund 2009-10 Estimated / 2010-11 Proposed
Certificated Salaries: 1,028,231 / 992,526
Classified Salaries: 86,319 / 87,104
Employee Benefits: 330,166 / 341,676
Books and Supplies 18,143 / 18,268
Other Services 81,996 / 64,236
Capital Outlay 0 / 0
Total Expenditures 1,544,855 / 1,503,810

Restricted General Fund
Expenditures By Program 09-10 Estimated /10-11 Proposed
Title I Basic Aid 70,254 / 51,079
School Based Coordinated Programs 72,497 / 0
English Language Acq. Program 3,243 / 4,827
Economic Impact Aid-LEP 28,039 / 27,840
Economic Impact Aid-SCE 0 / 55,221
Total Expenditures 174,033 / 138,967

San Cayetano:
Enrollment projected: 482
Actual as of January 11, 2011 (per ConAp): 525

Unrestricted General Fund 2009-10 Estimated / 2010-11 Proposed
Certificated Salaries: 1,411,118 / 1,312,359
Classified Salaries: 106,246 / 110,882
Employee Benefits: 459,975 / 483,695
Books and Supplies 25,361 / 12,446
Other Services 126,971 / 113,693
Capital Outlay 3,750 / 0
Total Expenditures 2,133,421 / 2,033,075

Restricted General Fund
Expenditures By Program 09-10 Estimated /10-11 Proposed
Title I Basic Aid 68,486 / 49,218
School Based Coordinated Programs 76,621 / 0
English Language Acq. Program 6,277 / 6,067
Economic Impact Aid-LEP 28,506 / 28,361
Economic Impact Aid-SCE 0 / 53,218
Newhall Grant 10,097 / 0
Total Expenditures 189,987 / 136,864

Sespe:
Enrollment Projected: 470
Actual as of January 11, 2011 (per ConAp): 472

Unrestricted General Fund 2009-10 Estimated / 2010-11 Proposed
Certificated Salaries: 1,449,887 / 1.264,003
Classified Salaries: 115,502 / 114,046
Employee Benefits: 461,931 / 448,316
Books and Supplies 24,834 / 16,941
Other Services 72,658 / 70,975
Capital Outlay 0 / 0
Total Expenditures 2,124,812 / 1,914,281

Restricted General Fund
Expenditures By Program 09-10 Estimated /10-11 Proposed
Title I Basic Aid 62,658 / 49,792
School Based Coordinated Programs 79,041 / 0
English Language Acq. Program 7,219 / 7,188
Economic Impact Aid-LEP 31,310 / 31,067
Economic Impact Aid-SCE 0 / 53,902
Total Expenditures 180,228 / 141,949

Fillmore Middle School
Projected Enrollment: 766
Actual as of January 11, 2011: 806

Unrestricted General Fund 2009-10 Estimated / 2010-11 Proposed
Certificated Salaries: 2,238,901 / 2,158,758
Classified Salaries: 187,842 / 187,552
Employee Benefits: 716,065 / 760,320
Books and Supplies 46,031 / 30,244
Other Services 204,652 / 162,682
Capital Outlay 0 / 0
Total Expenditures 3,393,491 / 3,299,556

Restricted General Fund
Expenditures By Program 09-10 Estimated / 10-11 Proposed
Title I Basic Aid 128,854 / 79,552
School Based Coordinated Programs 127,523 / 0
English Language Acq. Program 30,340 / 28,689
Economic Impact Aid-LEP 42,836 / 42,622
Economic Impact Aid-SCE 0 / 86,103
Total Expenditures 329,553 / 236,966

Sierra High School
Projected enrollment: 60
Actual as of January 11, 2011: 68

Unrestricted General Fund 2009-10 Estimated / 2010-11 Proposed
Certificated Salaries: 297,187 / 282,896
Classified Salaries: 16,359 / 16,396
Employee Benefits: 111,949 / 118,849
Books and Supplies 10,302 / 4,111
Other Services 30,468 / 21,180
Capital Outlay 0 / 0
Total Expenditures 466,265 / 443,432

Restricted General Fund
Expenditures By Program 09-10 Estimated / 10-11 Proposed
Title I Basic Aid 8,119 / 7,467
School Based Coordinated Programs 10,991 / 0
Economic Impact Aid-LEP 4,137 / 2,319
Economic Impact Aid-SCE 0 / 7,581
Total Expenditures 23,247 / 17,367

Fillmore High School
Projected Enrollment: 1085
Actual as of January 11, 2011: 1082

Unrestricted General Fund 2009-10 Estimated / 2010-11 Proposed
Certificated Salaries: 3,064,767 / 2,886,396
Classified Salaries: 337,124 / 362,991
Employee Benefits: 1,031,160 / 1,063,312
Books and Supplies 197,562 / 105,209
Other Services 366,900 / 314,871
Capital Outlay 0 / 0
Total Expenditures 4,997,513 / 4,732,779

Restricted General Fund
Expenditures By Program 09-10 Estimated / 10-11 Proposed
Title I Basic Aid 150,020 / 98,725
School Based Coordinated Programs 164,003 / 0
Title II Vocational Education 26,984 / 24,142
Economic Impact Aid-LEP 38,632 / 38,389
Economic Impact Aid-SCE 0 / 106,728
Agricultural Vocational Education 9,979 / 9,939
California High School Exit Exam 0 / 0
Total Expenditures 389,618 / 277,923

So there you are.

Do you think the money is being spent well?

My next step on this is to get job descriptions of each of the administrative positions.

Remember School Matters.
Post comments below, or send questions and comments to:
Schoolmatters@fillmoregazette.com
Fillmore Gazette Attn: School Matters, 408 Orchard Street, Fillmore 93015

Thanks for reading.
Kimberly

 


 

At last nights School Board meeting Board members Tony Prado, Lucy Rangel ad Dave Wilde all commented on this video that Assist. Superintendent Director of Educational Services Katy Hadley showed at a recent workshop they attended.

The video did float around facebook a while back. Check it out:

***************
So what do you think?
It seems a pretty daunting task to prepare students for jobs that don't even exist yet with technology that will be outdated by the time they graduate from high school.
But what about the idea that instead of preparing students for jobs.... (Ok let's really get outside the box here) public education needs to shift its goal to preparing students to become.... thinkers, problem solvers, and entrepreneurs. To provide them with skills to think on their feet and to meet the demands of whatever is thrown their way. What about preparing students to have the confidence to question the status quo? To imagine that success is not always defined by the amount of money you make or what corporation your work for but by what you contribute to your community or even something as seemingly small as making a child smile.

I was recently listening to an author from India being interviewed about the great progress happening in India. He spoke about how every single successful person he knew in India, who had risen up out of the chaste (or class) of their parents... every single one worked for themselves. They created their own job. This got me thinking, in the US we hear all about job creation, and many expect our governments to seemingly wave a magic wand, or maybe a dollar, and *poof* create hundreds of thousands of jobs. But what about the idea that folks need to start preparing to climb out of that box, to think about filling the needs of their community, and creating their own jobs. Doesnt' work for every single person, but think about even the effect of a small shift. Hummmm.

Look around our world. Egypt. Tunisia. Los Angeles. And sometimes even yes, our own Communities of Fillmore, Piru and all of Ventura County. Public Education needs to shift its goals, challenge students to build their confidence in ways that they can find their passion, their contribution, their voice and take it out into their community in a positive way. It’s beyond jobs. It comes down to do we want kids trained to get an A, B or a C (I think our current system even trains some kids to get D’s and F’s…) or do we want them to be confident enough to fail… and keep going…. and get up again and keep going.

What would they do if they knew they would not fail?

What would they do if there were TRULY no stupid questions?

Maybe they just might solve the world’s problems that we don’t even know exist yet.
Just maybe.

 


 

According the California Department of Education Piru Elementary Schools, with a 2010 Base API score of 709 has been placed on a list of 1000 "low performing" schools in California. While there does appear to be some concerns over some schools being on list that have scores over 800, Piru Elementary appears to truly meet the criteria for "low performing". http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/eo/op/yr10ltr10.asp (Enter Ventura County, and select Fillmore)

Click here: http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/eo/op/yr10ltr10.asp to see the letter sent to all County and District Superintendents on October 8, 2010.

Here are some excerpts from the letter that may be of interest to some parents whose children currently attend Piru Elementary or who may be planned to send their children there fall 2011:

"Parents may exercise their transfer option using this list for their students to begin enrollment at another school for the 2011-12 school year. Parents must submit an application requesting a transfer to the desired school prior to January 1, 2011. Parents who opt to transfer their students under this law may enroll their students within the same district or any other district, provided the school to which they are applying has a higher Academic Performance Index (API) score than the school from which the students are transferring."

Note that the deadline for next school year was January 1, 2011. But what about parents who were not notified of this option? Or what about parents who students starting in the fall?
According to the letter you can contact Carolyn Mills, Education Programs Consultant, by phone at 916-445-7746 or by email at cmills@cde.ca.gov.

Please consider posting your findings and experience here to help other parents.

Are you choosing to transfer? Why or Why not?

 


 

Fillmore Middle School
Student Awards Waffle & Strawberries Breakfast

When: Thursday, February 3rd
8:15 am-8:45 am

To recognize student achievement.

The middle school is doing something a bit different in an effort to increase parent participation in the student award ceremonies. Usually a night time event, switching to the morning may get more parents, and adding waffles and strawberries is a fun and unique way to get kids excited and hopefully motivated to win an award.

 
Program Improvement, January 18, 2011

Here is the Video of the School Boards Study Session on "Program Improvement" from Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Check back next week for a post on budget information for the District. Answers to the following questions:
What does the District spend on Administrative salaries and benefits?
What does the District spend on books and supplies?
How much does the District spend at each school site?

 
Is School Board Addressing the Issue of Program Improvement?

"Can you give an estimate as to what percentage of time is spent at school board meetings talking about what individual campuses are doing to get out of PI status? I’m not there for the meetings but it just seems to me that this should be a big issue for board members and they should be grilling the superintendent and principals on a pretty regular basis about this. Are board members complacent about this? Are board members getting this type of information privately during closed sessions because it’s embarrassing to the district?"

- Submitted by Fillmore Resident via email, (requested to stay anonymous because of connections to the District*)

For an explanation on Program Improvement see: www.fillmoregazette.com/front-page/state-releases-school-progress-report

My read of this question is that it is asking for my opinion based on what I have seen. So please keep in mind that this particular post is essentially my opinion.
As I prepare to answer this question I find that I want readers to know that I am no fan of “standardized testing”. I feel that those bubble tests have numerous problems, and surely fail to assess the “whole child”. That being said, standardized tests are in fact a part of the current system of public education. The tests are not only used to assess students in grade and high school, but also for entry into many colleges and universities. This is changing. Some colleges are moving away from the SAT. Progress is happening. You will see in my response below that I think changes are needed throughout the public education system, and surely rethinking standardized testing is one of them. But because our local district must adhere to the “laws of the land”, we must continue to operate within the world of standardized tests, not matter how much we wish them gone. But I think both the environment and students can benefit from a discussion of how to better prepare our students to not only do better on those assessments, BUT to learn how to better understand concepts and ideas, think critically about problems put before them and to think outside the box or bubble. If our students get better at those things, they are sure to improve on many levels, and those nasty standardized tests just may be one of them. The folks, who study how people learn, have this information; our schools have access to the current information about how we all learn. We just need to demand the effective processes be implemented. And many of them cost little or no money. (More on that later)

1. Give an estimate as to what percentage of time is spent at meetings talking about what individual campuses are doing to get out our PI status?
At most meetings, I have seen very little if no attention, discussion or direction given regarding the fact that all schools are currently in PI status. So far this year, the Board HAS heard once from each principal regarding his or her plans, goals and changes currently being implemented. From what I have heard most changes are based around the idea of "collaboration", including an emphasis on writing throughout subjects, targeting assistance to each students needs and for the elementary schools to learn what Principal Chrissy Schieferle and staff are doing at Mountain Vista in order to mirror that schools improvement. All plans sounded great although I did not see any clear expectations laid out by the Board for the Principals.
To be frank, I saw a slight shift occur during the recent campaign (disclosure: I was a candidate, in case you didn't know) and following the election. Last year, when parents brought concerns regarding "program improvement" to the Board, Board members seemed to not know anything about it, and to state that all the schools were "excellent". Some Board members seem to still be clinging to the idea that the schools are excellent while at the same time calling for more discussion on how the schools are improving. I am closely watching how the new Board members add to the conversation, and whether or not the Board as a whole either faces this head on or continues to stick its head in the sand.
In my opinion the “PI” issue is so much more than curriculum and collaboration. It is about a true change at the very core of the entire District, here is a quote from the CEO of Baltimore Schools (similar position to superintendent) Andres Alonso “"We have very, very consciously looked at the history of the district, look at what has been done in the past, and we have very, very intentionally tried to do things in a very different way." (www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/17/andres-alonso-ceo-of-balt_n_810085.htm...) Alonso was quoted in an interview he gave about the changes he oversaw in that District, which according to the article turned an underperforming District into one of the best in the state.
Now, all that being said, today, Tuesday January 18th the Board will have it’s first ever (to my knowledge) study session on “Program Improvement”. The title of the session is “ Program Improvement: What it is? What it means? And what we are doing about it?” I will be there. And a full report will be made in the paper this week. So the Board will spend one hour learning about Program Improvement. I hope that it grabs their attention and they grasp the seriousness. No one wants the state to take over one of our schools. No one.

2. Are Board members complacent about this? In my opinion they are. Some Board members might be waking up a bit, but the jury is still out on this one. I really think this is an issue that should have folks asking more tough questions, and being much clearer with administrators about what the Board expects to see each and every year. Ask this again in June. And remember, a big part of “PI” is the school choice conversation as well. This year FUSD had declining enrollment. Board members were presented with the numbers. In this tight financial situation each student that leaves the District means less income for the District. Not one question was asked about WHY students were leaving the District. Not one. I would really like to see the Board get interested in the “PI” issue not because it means the schools are “failing” the state standards, but because it means that the schools are “failing” the students, and the community. Remember, the quality of our local schools affects what businesses fill our business parks, it affects property values, crime levels. It affects community. When all schools are in PI that means that students have the right to transfer to a non-PI school outside of the District. That is a right that the law guarantees. The Board should be vigorous about addressing this issue first because of what it means for the students, but second because of the affects that on going “PI” designation has on the number of students enrolled in FUSD schools.

3. Are board members getting this type of information privately during closed sessions because it’s embarrassing to the district?” This is a tougher question to answer since the public is not privy to what is discussed in closed sessions. If I understand the restrictions pertaining to closed sessions, any general discussion regarding Program Improvement SHOULD be happening in open session. Again I want to emphasize, that I know of nothing indicating that this is being discussed in closed session, I’m simply responding to this question. I think it would benefit the Board and District as a whole to shed more light on this issue not only because the public should be fully informed about the true state of the schools, but because it would improve the public's perception that the Board is knowledgeable on this and is demanding improvement at all schools, and is prepared to hold administrators accountable. *Keep in mind that employee evaluations made by the Board are generally protected, and MAY be discussed in closed session, and therefore need not be released to the public. BUT the public may participate in evaluation processes. Some Boards do hear from the public regarding administrator and superintendent evaluations.

I hope that answers your questions. Feel free to send a follow up, or post a comment here.

What do you think? Are the School Board members taking this issue seriously? Is it really that ‘big” of an issue? Do you care whether or not your child’s school is in “PI” status?

Thanks for reading, post a comment because School Matters.

Kimberly Rivers
School Matters Blog at www.fillmoregazette.com/blogs
schoolmatters@fillmorgazette.com
Mail to: Fillmore Gazette, attn: School Matters, 408 Orchard Street, Fillmore, 93015

 

What: FUSD School Board Study Session on "Program Improvement"; What it is? What it means? What is the District doing about it?
When: Tuesday, January 18th, 5:30-6:30pm
Where: School Board meeting room at FUSD offices on Sespe in Fillmore
Why: This meeting is open to the public. It will be a good time to come and hear about what the District is doing about the fact that ALL seven schools are currently in "PI".

The School Board general meeting will begin at 6:30 following the study session.

 
"Between a Rock and a Hard Place" by Shane Cohn

Here's a portion of the article, see the full piece at : www.vcreporter.com/cms/story/detail/?id=8531

“What we’ve tried to do in Ventura County is keep chaos away from kids and families,” said Mary Samples, special education local plan area director. “We have worked so hard and diligently with the mental health department to keep everything intact.”

The cash-strapped Office of Education will owe approximately $2.5 million for mental health services and up to another $5 million in residential social services during the span of the MOU, Samples said.

“Additional money will now be coming out of school districts, and something else will have to be given up on the general education side of things,” said Samples.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed budget spared additional cuts to K-12 public education, if a five-year extension of temporary tax increases is approved by voters in June.

But unless an increase in state revenue is provided by the voter-approved tax extension in June, the 2011-12 school year for K-12 California public schools is forecast to lose $2 billion in funding due to the cuts Schwarzenegger had enacted, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office.

Extending the higher tax rates on sales, vehicles and incomes would offset some of the $2 billion in projected school district losses, Brown said.

*************
Ok this is Kimberly again, What do you think of this? Surely special education is a vital and important part of pur public education system, and these program are mandated by the State, but notice that according to this article the "estimated price tag is $7.5 Million" of special education programs in the County serve "550 students". And when we do the math, this comes out to $13,636.36 is being spent per student. See the article for the wide range of services provided, again ALL valuable and needed by these students and families, but note that (according to the article) even Mary Samples, "special education local plan area director" indicates that "something else will have to be given up on the general education side of things".

What are your thoughts on this?