Natomas School District News

Budget workshop set for Feb. 24

The Board of Trustees set a budget workshop for Tuesday, Feb. 24, at 6 p.m. in the Education Center to address the state budget crisis and an estimated $9 million loss in state revenue to our district. The public is encouraged to send its cost-cutting suggestions to Assistant Superintendent of Business Services John Christ at [email protected] prior to the meeting. A Budget Update on steps being taken to conserve cash has been posted on the district website at While other school districts are facing layoffs because of the state financial crisis, our district is not taking action to issue layoff notices but is using reserves, one-time savings and attrition to address the funding shortage.

Equity assistance coming to our district

Superintendent Steve Farrar announced that our district is forming a new partnership with the national Equity Assis­tance Center to ensure that all students have equal access to education regardless of race, gender or national origin. Our district is the only one in California to be chosen for this partnership that is part of a $2.4 million federal grant awarded to the Equity Assistance Center at the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education at Arizona State University. The partnership includes curriculum assistance and training for our district in the areas of civil rights, equity, access and school reform.

Middle school boundary changes

The Board of Trustees approved new middle school attendance boundaries in preparation for the scheduled opening in August of the H. Allen Hight Middle School and the conversion of Bannon Creek Elementary to a K-8 school over a three-year period beginning fall 2011. The new boundaries are: Natomas Middle, west of I-5, south of San Juan Road and north of I-80; H. Allen Hight Middle, east of I-5 and north of I-80; and Leroy F. Greene Middle, south of I-80 (east and west of I-5). To balance student enrollment, 120 volunteers will be sought to transfer from Leroy F. Greene to Natomas Middle. Otherwise, a cap on sixth-grade enrollment at Leroy F. Greene may be made. The new attendance boundaries can be downloaded from the district website under the “board agenda online” link for the Feb. 11 board packet.

Friday closure of Education Center under review

The Board is reviewing a proposal to close the Education Center to the public every Friday in a cost-cutting move to reduce overtime and allow staff members to complete their work without interruption. Administrators and staff at the Education Center also could potentially be available to fill substitute positions at the school sites and reduce substi­tute-hiring costs.

Other board items from Feb. 11:

· The draft Five-year Facilities Master Plan will be brought back for approval at the March 11 board meeting. The draft plan, which has been the subject of two board workshops and five board agenda items since last summer, can be viewed on the district website by clicking on the “department” tab at the top of the homepage, then on the “facilities and planning” link.
· The district will be soliciting Request for Proposals (RFP) for food service management consulting services, with a deadline of 4:30 p.m. on March 5. The district reported that in the last fiscal year, the Food Services Depart­ment was not self-supporting and encroached $417,000 into the general fund budget. District administration and CSEA have met with Food Services classified staff to clarify that labor contracts would remain in effect if man­agement consulting services were contracted out.
· The Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep Charter presented information on its desire to expand from a 9-12 configu­ration to 6-12 grade levels. An action item has been set for the March 11 meeting.
· A notice of completion has been approved for the purchase and installation of security cameras at Bannon Creek Elementary, Leroy F. Greene Middle, Natomas Middle, Two Rivers Elementary, Witter Ranch Elementary, Heron School, Natomas Park Elementary, Jefferson Elementary and Inderkum High.
· An action item will be brought back for approval March 11 to change the name of the district’s Nutrition & Wellness Committee to the Health & Wellness Committee.
· A performance audit for the $45.88 million Measure M and the $145.5 million Measure D bond measures was approved that included commendations for district leadership, accounting and management of resources. The au­dit stated that district staff members and the 16-member Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee “exceed normal” compliance practices when compared to other school districts across the state.

The District Update is produced by the Natomas Unified School District Public Information Office. For more information, contact Public Information Officer Heidi Van Zant at [email protected] or at 561.5253.

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