District employees to suffer from budget cuts
Assistant Superintendent of Business Services, Norma Shelton, reviewed the 2011-12 preliminary district budget at Tuesday’s board of education meeting, where she revealed that the district will receive less funding from the state, resulting in an approximate $1.6 million deficit.
“We’ve made reductions and prioritized spending to ensure a sound, fiscally prudent budget,” she told the board.
When the governor proposed the budget in January, she said the deficit was closer to $2.6 million. In the May revision, the state had received higher revenues than anticipated, so a portion of the deficit was reduced. The final number has not yet been determined, so the district is preparing for the worst.
“We’re reserving enough to accommodate the other million, just in case,” Shelton said.
Teacher and employee benefits will face the highest cuts, in addition to materials and supplies.
“We’ve kept reductions away from instruction—our class sizes remain small and our educational programs robust,” she said. “This, in addition to health and safety, is our highest priority.”
Tennis Courts: Where’s the Love?
In response to complaints from members of the community at Tuesday’s board of education meeting regarding the “poor” condition of the tennis courts, the announced that about $10,000 in repairs are, in fact, scheduled for the upcoming weeks.
“This has been on our facilities project list since April,” said Norma Shelton, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services. “It’s not a surprise issue.”
Cracks in the ground surface of court #4 as well as a slope at the side of the court that has resulted in problems with run-off will be attended to, she said, and all of the courts will be properly cleaned and maintained as they have been.
More extensive repairs were planned for the Park Avenue facility—which is jointly owned by the city of Laguna Beach and the district—but due to budgeting issues, the district is unable to commit to anything beyond safety measures.
“The city was to pay $210,000 toward [restoration], and the school’s portion was $90,000,” Shelton said. “However, the district is facing heavy deficits in funding because of the state’s economy, and we’re no longer in a position to allocate that portion to the tennis courts.
“It is our job to make sure the courts are safe and adequate, and we are making sure of that.”
The idea of fundraising efforts among the community was thrown around at the meeting, but nothing has been established.
LBHS Athletic Director Mike Churchill declined to comment about the condition of the courts when Laguna Beach Patch asked him for a “tennis player’s perspective” and what might make the facility more attractive to athletes.
SchoolPower presents money for schools and teacher grants
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, President Robin Rounaghi presented the district with a check for $125,000, the second installment of its $250,000 annual gift to Laguna’s schools. On behalf of the LBUSD Board of Education, Supt. Sherine Smith applauded Rounaghi’s vision and leadership skills, and paid thanks for her “tireless efforts to enhance the district’s educational programs.” Roughaghi, in turn, shared her appreciation for the team of volunteers, school trustees, businesses and members of the community who helped raise money and the standard of learning in Laguna Beach.
SchoolPower Endowment President, Gary Jenkins, announced the 2011-12 teacher grants, which totaled $78,690 and will help fund ideas that benefit innovative, creative instructional programs in the district. The contribution was one of many that the SchoolPower Endowment Foundation pays to LBUSD throughout the year. The funding will go toward a series of instructional programs at all four school sites, including a nature field trip and laptops at ; technology and reading programs at ; French learning and outdoor science at ; and college readiness initiatives at Laguna Beach High.
Collector’s Choice Raises $125,000 for Laguna College of Art & Design
More than 420 people attended 22nd Annual Collector’s Choice Fine Art Event, where the school raised more than $125,000 to benefit its student programs and scholarships. Special guests included City Manager John Pietig and wife Peggy; City Council Member Kelly Boyd and wife Michele; Arts Commissioner Gerard Basil Stripling; and LCAD supporters Suzanne and David Chonette, James and Suzanne Mellor, Terry Smith and Wayne Peterson. The event featured an auction of 137 artworks donated by artists, a raffle and reception.
“The support this community can provide is wonderful, from the artists and collectors who donate original artwork, to those who attend and acquire new treasurers and enjoy a great gathering of friends,” said LCAD President Dennis Power. “Those at the college are all grateful, especially the students whose education the event helps make possible.”
Boys and Girls Club of Laguna unites with other club members
recently participated in Unity Day for the seventh year at the Garden Grove Main Branch, where 75 children from 7 clubs in Orange County came together for a day of various games and sports like basketball, soccer, foosball, air hockey and ping-pong. Club members also bonded over lunch and a singing competition. The mission of the event is to help kids build character, teamwork, academic success, healthy lifestyles, creativity and meaningful friendships.
The club serves grades K-12 from the Laguna Beach Unified School District and Capistrano Unified School District. The annual membership fee is $150; monthly fee is $55. For more information, contact Elena Mendoza at 949-494-2535, ext. 105.