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June 29, 2010 > Sunol Glen School Board review

Sunol Glen School Board review

By Alyson Whitaker

The Sunol Glen Unified School District School Board held its regular monthly meeting on June 22.

In a similar situation to all California schools, Sunol Glen has been severely impacted by the state budget cuts to education. The main agenda item at the June meeting was presentation of the revised district budget for the 2010/2011 school year.

Maintaining a balanced budget is a necessity for districts to maintain a positive certification by the Alameda County Office of Education. Districts must demonstrate that they will be able to maintain a balanced budget not just for the current school year, but for the next two school years and a reserve fund as well. If they fail to meet the required reserve fund amount, positive certification from the county and state can be adversely affected.

In the past two years, state funding received (based on Average Daily Attendance, or ADA) has declined at Sunol Glen by $787 per student. This results in nearly $365,000 in lost revenue for the 2010/2011 school year. For a small, one-school district, this loss creates a severe hardship.

The Sunol Glen Community Club held a Spring Pledge Drive, in an effort to raise funds to support the Art & Music programs at the school. Through generous donations from Sunol Glen families, as well as overwhelming support from the community, a total of $70,177 was raised. At the Board meeting, Diane Tiessen and other members of the Sunol Repertory Theatre (SRT) presented the school with a check for $10,000, earmarked specifically for the Art & Music programs. This money, combined with the funds from the pledge drive, will allow weekly art and music classes for all grade levels to continue for at least the next two years.

While many surrounding districts have greatly increased class sizes in the lower grade levels, Sunol Glen will increase class sizes to no more than 23:1 for grades K-3. This small increase will negatively impact Class Size Reduction (CSR) funding, but increased enrollment is expected to offset this reduction. School-wide enrollment is expected to be up slightly for the 2010/2011 school year-most classes are full, and many have a waiting list.

Sunol Glen has a preschool and before/after school care program on-site as well. While the after-school care program is self-sustaining, the preschool program has been operating at a deficit for the past few years. Discussion arose at the meeting about the need to increase the preschool revenue in order to allow it to be self-supporting and not require subsidy from the district.

Discussion also arose regarding a lawsuit filed by an Alameda County High School student. Robles-Wong v. California is an historic lawsuit filed against the State of California for failing to provide students with the programs, materials, and services they need. While it is too early to know the potential outcome of the lawsuit, the filing will hopefully draw attention and publicity to the dire state of education in California and force legislators into action.

On recess through the month of July, the next board meeting will be held August 17 in the school library.

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