Jul 28, 2014

Budget Issues Continue for School District

The San Ramon Valley Unified School District agrees to layoffs for non-teaching staff.

Budget Issues Continue for School District Budget Issues Continue for School District

Budget woes remain a big issue for the San Ramon Valley Unified School District.

The school board approved a reduction in hours for classified employees as well as the possible elimination of classified positions at Tuesday night's meeting.

The layoffs will be for non-teaching positions, most of them probably positions that are externally funded.

“I would ask that the board approve the recommendation or resolution to have the layoffs,” said Jessica Romeo, assistant superintendent. “Clearly, as funding is secured, then those folks would be coming back into the district.”

The board also voted to endorse a state constitutional amendment to lower the requirement for a parcel tax approval from two-thirds to 55 percent.

Another issue on the meeting’s agenda was the extension of child-care provider services to one year for expired and expiring contracts.

Board members said the one-year extension will give them a reasonable time to make a decision on the child-care program, such as extending leases or sending requests for proposals.

“We’re an exceptional school district for many factors,” said Superintendent Steven Enoch. “One of them is we have been able to provide child-care services through contract services. It’s a great model. We just want to make sure that we are continuously refreshing it, making certain guarantees to ourselves and the public that they are receiving the very best program for the very best price.”

Many staff members and parents from The Growing Room, a contracted child-care facility with the district, attended the meeting to express their concerns.

Their main issue was contracts offered to Kids Country that do not end until 2025.

“It was recently brought to our attention that the district did not sign our lease extension for four of our six schools in 2008 because it's considering putting requests for proposals out every few years to ensure that families are getting the best quality child-care programs,” said Kim Lewis, executive director for The Growing Tree.

Lewis’ concern was this set-up put The Growing Tree at an unfair disadvantage, with its short contract and their competitor's contract lasting until 2025. 

The board agreed to extend the contracts for one year and revisit the issue later this year.

The district was approved for a grant to enhance its technology by adding video conferencing systems to its schools. The grant allowed the district to purchase 15 systems for junior high and high schools.

The district also was presented with a check for $56,352.98 from the San Ramon Valley Council of PTAs to add 21 more video systems for the elementary schools.

“This allows for the collaboration of teachers back and forth from site to site,” said Christine Williams, assistant superintendent. “This two-way communication I think will be very exciting for our schools.”

Bekki Livingston, acting president for the SRV Council of PTAs said the group had a surplus and was able to present it to the district.

The San Ramon Education Foundation contributed more than $43,000 toward the project to provide carts and large screen monitors.

“I think this equipment is going to last a long time and is going to provide the district with some terrific opportunities for our kids,” said Terry Koehne, representing the education foundation.

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