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Monrovia School Link ~ Number 57 ~ April 9, 2003

There will apparently be fewer teachers next school year. Fifteen and a half fewer to be exact. See your school, below, to see how hard you'll be hit. Money, I guess.
~ Brad Haugaard (brad@sacklunch.net)

MONEY ~ Chief Business Officer Linda Dempsey said the district expects a loss of about $1.2 million, or, $100 per student, for the 2003-03 school year, plus about a ten percent loss in "categorical" funds (for special education and other special programs). That's a drop from about $34.3 million to $33 million. Superintendent Louise Taylor said it looks as if there will be another delay in getting a firm budget from the state. She said it may not be until October or November. She said it's hard to make budget cuts, but it's really hard making them when you don't know how much needs to be cut. Amen.

BONDS ~ Regarding the budget, Board Member Betty Sandford suggested the legislature consider bond issues for the schools. Coming during a report about the operating budget, this concerned me a bit, since I really think bonds should go to buildings and solid things, not salaries. Using bonds to pay for regular operating expenses strikes me as much too similar to going into debt to pay your rent. Dangerous.

DISCUSSION ~ There was actually an interesting discussion about hiring a new administrator, who would be filling two empty slots in Facilities Support. Sort of a combined job. Roger Graziani said he was concerned about the cost of hiring a new person when the district is going to have to do some cutting. Bruce Carter, on the other hand, was concerned that by not having the right person in place the district might easily face a far greater financial loss by buildings and equipment not being properly maintained. Other people had things to say about this, but they mumbled (mumbling is back again), so I didn't catch it all. So, all in all, a thoughtful discussion. I was impressed.

ENROLLMENT ~ According to a report by Associate Superintendent of Human Resources Debby Collins, since last year enrollment was up a whisker, 0.4 percent, or down a bit if you do not include special education enrollment, which is not included in calculating the budget. Enrollment is up in upper grades but mostly down in the elementary schools. Here is school enrollment for October of 2001 (first number), October of 2002 (second number), and the percentage increase or decrease (third number).

Bradoaks 684, 678, -0.9
Mayflower 611, 603, -1.3
Monroe 594, 566, -4.9
Plymouth 641, 600, -6.8
Wild Rose 550, 562, 2.1
Clifton 739, 787, 6.1
Santa Fe 727, 785, 7.4
MHS 1665, 1678, 0.8
Canyon HS 123, 118, -4.2

And here is the estimate of the number of teachers the district will lose for each school. The first number is the 2002-03 year; the second the projected number of teachers for 2003-04; the third is the change.

Bradoaks 32, 31, -1
Mayflower 27, 26, -1
Monroe 27, 24, -3
Plymouth 29, 27, -2
Wild Rose 26, 25, -1
Clifton 29.5, 28, -1.5
Santa Fe 30, 29, -1
MHS 59, 54, -5
Canyon HS 6, 6, 0

LANGUAGE ~ The board set a goal to introduce language learning in the elementary schools. I think this is a good thing. Language learning is much easier at younger ages.

NINETY THREE ~ The board honored 93 volunteers: PTA members, boosters club members, and advisory committee members; more than I've seen in a long while. I'd list them but there are just too many..

LOVELY ~ Roger Graziani said he met with new City Council member Kirby, whom, Graziani said, is enthusiastic about working with the board and is looking forward to the joint board-council meeting. He said Kirby understands that educational change is not a quick process. "We had a lovely discussion," Graziani said.

WONDERFUL ~ It's interesting to watch the "Board Member Reports" section of the meeting. (Actually, it's not, but I'm trying to get you to read this thing.) Anyway, the members usually tell about schools or community organizations they have visited. What's odd, though, is that nobody ever seems to say, "I was speaking with a parent who was bothered about X, Y or Z." Nope. Everything is always wonderful.

WINNERS ~ Superintendent Louise Taylor mentioned that two MHS students won awards at the Avid writers conference at UCLA. One student won the second place for the 12 grade level, and another won second place for tenth grade. Also, she said, two Clifton students placed in a regional geography contest sponsored by National Geographic. Plus, a Clifton program (sorry, I missed what one it was) won a Program of the Year award from the state.

OPEN HOUSES ~ For Monrovia High, April 30 at 6:30 p.m.; for Bradoaks, April 30 at 6:30 p.m.; and at Canyon Early Learning Center, the kindergarten open house is at 7 p.m. on April 29.

NO AGENDA ~ Since my letter to the editor (which appeared in various local papers) in which I complained - among other things - that the board president should (but doesn't) tell the cable TV audience that they can recieve an agenda of the board meetings by email, I was wondering if that might actually happen tonight. Uhh, Nope.

NEXT BOARD MEETING ~ The next regular Monrovia school board meeting is on May 14 at 7:30 p.m. at the administration office at 325 E. Huntington Drive.

Copyright (c) 2003, Brad Haugaard. Also on the Web at http://www.sacklunch.net/MonroviaSchoolLink