PIEDMONT -- The school board gave its unanimous support of the new Second Step program being implemented in the elementary schools.
The program was a collaborative effort between teachers, site councils, administrators and paraeducators, Assistant Superintendent Randy Booker said at the Sept. 11 meeting. It is a classroom-based curriculum designed to increase student success, promote respect and social/emotional competence and decrease problem behaviors.
"There is a need for this program," Beach Elementary School Principal Julie Valdez said. "See others' perspectives, problem-solve and disagree respectfully. We (now) have the tools to supply that need."
Wildwood and Havens school principals Carol Cramer and Cheryl Wozniak explained more about the program that will include videos, posters, role playing, songs and "real life lessons." The program is tailored to each grade level.
"I've been in the classrooms, and it's working," Superintendent Connie Hubbard said.
On the budget side, Assistant Superintendent Michael Brady explained the process involved in changing to the state's new Local Control Funding Formula, an effort to restore school funding to earlier years' higher levels. The LCFF, while supplying the same or more funding to Piedmont schools, eliminates funding for previous categorical programs such as school safety, gifted/talented and library improvement.
Instead, those programs will all be funded from a base grant. Special Education will still be funded separately.
The school district's LCFF "target" grant for 2013-14 is $19.9 million. Brady's revised budget shows increased revenue of $961,391 under the new formula. The 2012-13 budget he reviewed showed state revenues increasing slightly. School funding in that budget year was enhanced by $92,000 in local income that included $25,000 in Wellness Center donations, $45,000 in additional parcel taxes, and $22,000 in athletic and parent donations.
There was an $800,000 decrease in expenditures due to careful budgeting, "position control," and retirements. The board is hopeful that budgeting for the next two years will be relatively stable because of the economy's upswing.
"That's a huge sigh of relief (for now)," school board president Rick Raushenbush said.
A review of the seismic bond monies shows a balance of about $6.3 million for additional modernization projects. The board has approved an estimated $4 million for other projects, leaving a balance of $2.3 million. Priority projects for use of the money include Beach roofing, storm drains and technology; Wildwood roofing, safety gates and playground; shade structure at Havens; technology and HVAC at the middle school; technology, Alan Harvey Theater design and safety doors at the high school.
A moment of silence was observed at the start of the meeting to honor the late Piedmont High School alum Chris Stevens, the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, and the lives lost at the Sept. 11 attacks in New York.