Thursday, September 26, 2013

Superintendent Update 9/26/13

September 26, 2013

District Goals for 2013-2014
The Board of Education has approved the following goals for the 2013-14 school year.
  • Goal # 1 - Support the academic achievement of all students through a rigorous and balanced curriculum, as we transition to the K-12 implementation of the Common Core State Standards while continuing to foster critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication skills.
  • Goal # 2 - Establish and implement multi-year plans in order to ensure the fiscal stability of the District and to support a high quality instructional program.
  • Goal # 3 - Enhance communication and collaboration between and among District staff, students, parents, Board of Education, and community.

Budget Update (Goal #2)

For the first time since becoming Superintendent in 2006, I feel comfortable saying the State/District budget situation is actually better when compared to prior years.  The District has been deficit spending three out of the last four years.  For example, when the 2012-13 books closed this summer, our expenditures were $1.4 million more than the total income we received.  Outside auditors are in the process of confirming these numbers and will make a report to the Board of Education in December.
PVPUSD has been deficit spending despite the fact significant budget reductions were made over the past few years, including furlough days, fewer teachers, larger classes,  less classified staff to support the district infrastructure, extra-curricular activities, technology support, and classroom materials.
We are now operating under a new State funding system called the “Local Control Funding Formula” (LCFF).   Not all the regulations for LCFF are known at this time; especially clear direction on how to develop accurate multi-year projections using the new funding system.  State leaders claim the details will be made available in March.

In 2013-14, we are projecting a balanced budget.  The first step in that process was to eliminate the $1.4 million gap that existed from last year.   The District is also using new income to restore some teaching positions in order to lower class sizes and comply with the new LCFF guidelines which require a 24:1 class size average at each school site for grades TK through 3.    Since August 12th, the Board has approved approximately $750,000 in new costs related to restoring counselors and teaching positions.
We have also offered proposed settlements to our bargaining units that include the restoration of work/instructional days and/or restoration of staff, increased District contribution for medical benefits, a two-year District calendar, clarification on length of work day, evaluation procedures, and professional development guidelines.

Enrollment Update (Goal #2)
At this time, enrollment is down about 125 students compared to last year.  Most of this decline is at the elementary school level with about 50 less students in the Transitional Kindergarten (TK) / Kindergarten (K) programs as compared to last year.  Since 2005-06, PVPUSD has lost over 450 elementary school students which has led to less elementary classrooms in PVPUSD.
A District committee is being formed to evaluate the causes of declining enrollment, especially at the elementary school level, to determine if there are possible strategies for reversing this trend.

Special Education Topics (Goal #3)

A Special Education Advisory Committee has been formed consisting of parents and staff to provide input and feedback about District programs.  The committee has met two times this year.  Future meeting dates are:
  • November 18th
  • January 27th  
  • March 17th
  • May 19th

The meetings are from 6:30  - 8:00 p.m. in the MPR at Valmonte Elementary School, 3801 Via la Selva, Palos Verdes Estates.
All interested parents and community members are invited to attend.
There is a link on the District web site for information about special education related topics. Visit and click on “Parents & Students.”  Scroll down to “Special Education Information & Resources.”

Three PVPUSD teachers who were awarded grants from the Special Children’s League.
  • Stacie Motoyasa (MELA) - $1,983 for Multi-Sensory Equipment
  • Susan Falkenbach (Peninsula High) - $1,636 for Classroom Projection Instruction System
  • Betsy Fujinaga (Peninsula High) - $1,636 for Classroom Projection Instruction System

Common Core State Standards (Goal # 1)
  • New Assessment System - The State is in the process of changing the assessment system for all California students.  In fact, school districts may be asked to pilot test the new assessment system this Spring.  I am encouraging everyone to develop a better understanding of  the new assessment system by going to our web site and click on “Take the Practice Test” through Smarter Balance."

  • Funding - The State budget is providing one time funds to school districts in order to implement CCSS.  PVPUSD will receive approximately $2.3 million in restricted funds over the next two years.  These funds can only be used for professional development, technology, instructional materials, and textbooks.  A plan must be developed and presented to the Board of Education for final approval.  We will seek input from stakeholder groups and present a plan to the Board at its November meeting.

Support the PEF

  • The Peninsula Education Foundation (PEF) is vital to the success of PVPUSD.  The $3 million PEF donates to PVPUSD goes directly to school site programs and staff that benefit students.  For example, there are approximately 25 teaching positions in the District that would not exist without PEF support.
  • The Pier to Pier Friendship Walk sponsored by Skechers is scheduled for October 27th at the Manhattan Beach Pier.  Please join me at this important event. 
  • For more details about PEF and events, go to or call (310) 378-2278.

District Events/Schedule

The tentative 2013-14 school year calendar is posted on the District website at    The work year (calendar) is a subject of negotiations.  Once that process is completed, we will share any revisions to the tentative calendar.
The High School Back to School night is Thursday, September 26th.  There is a minimum day for high school students on Friday 9/27.  Please check with your school about start times and related activities.

Upcoming Board of Education Meetings

The upcoming Board of Education meetings are:
  • October 10th
  • October 24th
  • November 14th
  • December 12th 
Regularly scheduled Board of Education meetings start at 6:30 pm at the Malaga Cove Administration Center located at 375 Via Almar in Palos Verdes Estates.

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