Board meets: budget discussed

The school board made no decisions on the budget at its meeting Tuesday, electing instead to hold off until a May 17 meeting, when it expects to have budget numbers from school district staff members.
Trustees discussed staffing ratios, programs that receive money from the district’s general fund and redirecting funds from certain state programs to others.
Joe Di Geronimo, Gilroy Unified’s interim administrator for business services, answered board members’ questions, but made few specific recommendations.
The only specific suggestions Di Geronimo made were ones that were already outlined in the report he made to the board in March, namely having three vice principals and three academic coordinators at the high school. The school’s plan is to have four vice principals and four academic coordinators, each
assigned to a “house,” or group of students.
The academic coordinator position will he new next year, and would focus on keeping students and parents aware of academic progress. The school will not have counselors next year.
Di Geronimo also suggested re-assigning custodians, based on the type of room to be cleaned and how long it takes in clean them, and the age of the building, rather than the current formula of one custodian to 20,000 square feet.
Echoing his report, Di Geronimo also suggested rearranging positions at the district office, although he did not say specifically which positions or areas need to be changed.
“I think the central office is top heavy with management,” he said.
The board discussed the option of transferring money from certain state programs into others, such as home to school transportation and GATE. Members also examined the programs that are supported by money from the district’s general fund, but made no decisions to continue or end the programs.
The board this year has hoped to have the budget reflect what programs the district wished to keep and which it wished to eliminate. That was a recommendation of the curriculum audit. The strategic plan suggested abandoning programs that are not effective or that cost too much money.
However, Di Geronimo suggested that the district roll
over its budget, which means that the proposed budget for next year would look similar to the budget from this year, with ‘the same things budgeted.
“Generally speaking, over the last 10 years, because of state funding, many districts wind up carrying their budgets over to the next year,” he said.
Di Geronimo also said that when he was a superintendent, he did not include potential salary increases in his budget, but would set aside state money in the district’s reserves for that purpose. He also emphasized the relationship between the unions and the district.
“In my experience, the bargaining unit looks at that as a baseline,” he said. “If you leave 5 percent, they’ll look at it as 5 percent and what else can we get … But you have to develop whatever working relationship you have and go from there.”
The school board did not make any decisions. Keiko Mizuno, the director of fiscal services for the district, will bring the rolled-over budget to the May 17 meeting to give board members an idea of what they have to work with. The budget is due June 30.

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