School Advisory Committee Members Present:
Anne called the meeting to order at 8:46 am.
Overview of Public School and Alma Fuerte Funding
Anne provided an overview of public school funding structure in California, and the sources and amounts of funding Alma Fuerte receives. She stated that Alma Fuerte receives a little over $10,000 in funding per student, totaling about $1 million. Most of the funding Alma Fuerte receives (close to $700,000) is from the state through the “Local Control Funding Formula” or “LCFF.” We receive about $60,000 in ongoing federal funding, primarily for special education, meal program reimbursements, and Title I programs for low-income and at-risk student.
Anne stated that the state funding is based on attendance. We currently have a 94.3% attendance rate, which is up from 93% we had last year, but not the 95% attendance rate that is targeted in our charter. Anne stated that every day a student doesn’t attend school, we lose a little money.
Anne reviewed the main expenses that are reflected in our budget: teacher and associate teacher salary and benefits; administrative team’s salaries; special education services; supplies and materials; and rent to the school district.
Anne also discussed that much of our funding goes towards salaries for staff to increase student achievement. We measure student achievement primarily through the NWEA MAP test that we administer 2-3 times per year. (More information may be found at: https://www.nwea.org/parent-toolkit/)
Review of “LCFF” Expenditures for 2018-2019
Anne stated that every California public school has to adopt an “LCAP” - “Local Control and Accountability Plan.” A new plan is adopted by the school every 3 years, but it is updated annually. It includes required state priorities such as progressing toward English and Math proficiency and maintaining a safe and secure facility. However, it also includes local, school-established priorities, too, like Alma Fuerte students developing healthy habits and having access to arts instruction. In the LCAP, schools are required to allocate state LCFF funds to each stated priority/goal.
Anne circulated a summary of how Alma Fuerte’s LCFF funds were spent this school year, broken down by goal/priority. Funds were primarily used for teacher, Associate Teacher, and administrator salaries, and curriculum and learning programs. All funds received are anticipated to be spent as stated in the LCAP and budget.
Plans and Budget Priorities for 2019-2020
Anne circulated the summary pages of the draft LCAP for next year, and she stated that she would circulate the final version before it’s adopted by our Board in June. She also mentioned that the budget for next year would have similar costs, but that we have some flexibility around our local priorities, especially the priority regarding access to visual and performing arts. (Information about the state priorities, LCFF funding, and LCAPs may be found here: https://innovateschools.org/parent-guide/parent-guide-what-are-lcff-and-lcap/)
Anne and Adriani then discussed the plan for adding additional enrichment subjects for next year. They stated that the plan is for students to have - in addition to STEM and PE - additional enrichment subjects like gardening, and Spanish in 6-8 week rotating blocks. Anne asked whether there were other enrichment subjects that the parents were interested in being introduced.
Parents indicated support for Spanish, Gardening and Music to be offered next year. Music was especially discussed as a priority. One parent suggested that we should find as many ways as possible to infuse academics into the enrichment subjects. Another parent expressed that she appreciated that the students received Sign Language/ASL classes last year.
Parents also discussed expectations for involvement in school activities and volunteering. It was expressed that it might be helpful to have a more formal parent group that can take on more of the parents communications and coordinate more of the volunteering. Parents also stated that parents who plan school-wide events can circulate surveys to parents, so that there is a way to get input and help from parents who can’t attend the planning meetings in person.
One parent also mentioned that it would be helpful to have volunteer opportunities that can happen outside of the school day because of work schedules.
The group also discussed the ideal time of day for parents to meet. It was stated by several parents that meeting during the school and work day can be hard, but that it’s hard to find child care for night meetings.
Anne expressed that school staff will try to more consistently circulate notes from parent meetings school-wide, so that parents who don’t attend can see what was discussed offer help, and ask questions. The group also discussed the possibility of using Facebook Live more.
Adriani and Anne thanked everyone for coming and Anne said that she would follow up with meeting notes.
The meeting concluded and adjourned at 9:51am.