SCOTTS VALLEY -- Scotts Valley Unified School District officials were pleased to learn at Tuesday's board meeting that the middle and high schools may soon receive state recognition for their high test scores.
Standardized test scores are up across the entire Scotts Valley Unified School District, but the middle and high schools have done especially well, possibly leading to coveted California Distinguished School awards.
The middle school's API scores were so high this year -- up 16 points from last year, to 918 -- that it also could receive a "Schools to Watch" designation, Mary Lonhart, the school's principal, told the board. State officials will make site visits next month to gather more information. A final decision is expected soon.
School officials also learned, as expected, that the passage of Gov. Jerry Brown's tax-hike measure last week will have a positive impact on the district's finances. By how much has yet to be determined, though new information should be available by next month.
"We're not entirely sure yet how much money will come in, because it depends in part on the state economy," said Vickie Clark, the district's chief business official. What is clear is that budgeted cuts in per-pupil spending of about $440 will not occur this year.
In June, the board approved a budget with a projected $1.7 million deficit, but it was based on the assumption voters would turn down Proposition 30, leading to cuts in
But voters did approve Brown's initiative, which is expected to raise $6 billion annually for schools and public safety. Initially, most of the funds will be used to pay down state debt to public schools, according to the Association of California School Administrators.
The board also listened to an annual report about the high school's International Baccalaureate program, which continues to improve and has the greatest number of participating juniors and seniors this year, according to David Crawford, who heads the program.
In other business, the board agreed to move forward with a plan to install an electric fence, gate and water source around an eight-acre, district-owned plot next to the high school on Glenwood Drive. But not all details have been worked out, including whether the district needs to obtain liability insurance.
The land contains three endangered plant species, and in previous years, it was maintained with a mower. But "grazing has been proven more successful," Superintendent Penny Weaver said. A local family will place up to four horses there.
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