BARSTOW — Up for approval on the Tuesday Barstow Unified School District board agenda are two important routine items — the 2017-20 Local Control Accountability Plan and the 2017-18 district budget.
A public hearing for both was held at the last Board of Trustees meeting on June 13, featuring overview presentations of each.
According to BUSD Business Manager/Chief Business Official Reyna Garcia, the major challenge the district has been facing is attendance.
“We have not had declining enrollment, but our attendance has not been great,” Garcia said, adding that with the expected opening of the new Barstow Fine Arts Academy next year, the district expects attendance to rise. “If we increase our attendance, we will be able to meet all our expenses.”
In the past school year, BUSD served 6,042 students and received $9,670 per pupil for its average daily attendance; for 2017-18 the district projects an enrollment increase of about 130 students and an ADA increase of about $270 per pupil. Nearly 80 percent of BUSD’s students qualify for the free and reduced-price meals program.
Next year’s projected budget shows revenues of $66.9 million, expenditures of $69.5 million and an ending balance of $10.4 million, down from the 2016-17 balance of $13 million. The budget was based on the May revise of the governor’s state budget, and adjustments will occur once this has been adopted.
The LCAP serves to assist the district in prioritizing spending of the Local Control Funding Formula funds, using parent, educator and community input to make recommendations.
This year’s new items for BUSD’s 2017-20 LCAP include academic support and supplies for the Fine Arts Academy, support for special education and a 5 percent increase in teacher pay geared toward professional development.
In addition to the budget and LCAP, the board will vote on approving a waiver request to the California Department of Education (CDE) for class size penalties. Criteria established by the state for grades kindergarten through third grade is to have a class size average of 30 students to one teacher, but due to a 5.6 percent growth in a few district elementary classes, BUSD has exceeded that limit, according to Superintendent Jeff Malan.
“We are adding additional teachers next year to remedy any class size concerns,” Malan said. “We’re anticipating continued growth and also complying with (Governor Brown’s) class size reduction — K-3 classrooms need to be down to 24 to one.”
By 2021, BUSD will have additional classrooms available to place teachers in along with the new Fine Arts Academy.
For additional information on the waiver request or BUSD’s 2017-18 budget and LCAP plan, visit www.barstow.k12.ca.us and select “School Board,” “2016-17 School Board Agendas & Minutes” and then the June 13 Board meeting agenda.
Charity Lindsey may be contacted at email@example.com or 760-951-6245. Follow her on Twitter @DP_Charity.