Students working hard on projects in woodshop.
Finances are unclear but plans are underway
By Jorge Garcia
Many may be asking how the school district is doing financially. Typically, February is the month when the district makes cuts of programs and personnel. Teachers must be notified by March 15 if they are being laid off.
Superintendent Stan Hardeman said he could not release any information about possible program changes and budget cuts until he has board approval. “The cuts involve personnel,” said Hardeman. A Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Feb. 26.
A funding program that may be helping our school district is the Secure Rural Schools Act, which is an act that is funded through the United States Department of Agriculture, also known as the USDA. Last year, the USDA’s rural school fund in collaboration with the Community Self- Determination Act, was reauthorized in Public Law 110-343. Secure Rural Schools money can be used to carry out projects to further education needs in rural schools.
Last November voters in California approved a sales tax increase by $.25 per $100 of taxable goods due to Proposition 30. The increase in sales tax is expected to raise enough money to avoid $6 billion in education cuts, by creating the Education Protection Account. This is a special fund inside the General Fund that is protected to ensure that the funds are only spent on education and not on other state budget items.
One good piece of financial news is that the district is allocating $100,000 for improvements to Loyalton High for maintenance and facility improvements over the next several years.
These improvements will include renovation for the Bear Cave, flooring repairs, interior painting, and new stalls for the public restrooms. Loyalton High staff members proposed that the current Bear Cave be modernized and that a second student hangout be readied for next year’s middle school students.
Avid to Stay
California schools have been struggling for the last several months to keep AVID programs after Governor Jerry Brown eliminated AVID funding for future school years.
The AVID program is a highly successful college preparatory class. It was created in 1980 by Mary Catherine Swanson, who at the time was the head of the English Department at Clairemont High School in San Diego. It was created originally to help inner city students keep up with suburban schools. Currently, it serves students in the academic middle.
Today the AVID program affects over 700,000 students in more than 4,900 schools and 28 post secondary institutions in 46 states, the District of Columbia, and over 16 countries and territories. The difference between AVID and other college preparatory programs is AVID’s high continuous success rate.
With California budget cuts, school districts will have to pay if they want AVID to remain at their school. The cost for the AVID program has increased dramatically. It will cost $2,000 to train counselors, approximately $3,385 per school for the program and another $3, 385 for licensing fees, when in the past years the participation fee was under $1,000.
Superintendent Stan Hardeman has made the decision this week to pay to keep the program at LHS.
LHS AVID coordinator Janet McHenry stated that, “Lynn Fillo, the AVID and English teacher at Downieville High, and I were both concerned potentially about losing AVID classes at our schools, because we have seen how it helps support students prepare for the rigor of college work. We are pleased that Mr. Hardeman has made the decision to provide the funding to keep AVID.”