Thankful for Redwood Heights
Sat, Nov 18 5:56pm
Redwood Heights Elementary

The first day of school for the 2018-19 School Year is August 13.

 

FIND and APPLY to OUSD schools by January 26, 2018!

Hi Families,

As we reflect on gratitude, I want to take this opportunity to share a few of our appreciations: We are thankful for our students who come to school to learn every day - they are a daily reminder of what is important and why we are here. We are thankful for the support of the parents in creating an outstanding partnership with RHS for our students.  We are thankful for our teachers, group specialist, assistants, health aides, bus drivers, admins, nurses, lunch aides, therapist, and our custodian. We are thankful for our volunteers who enthusiastically contribute so much to our school.  Wishing all of you a happy, healthy and relaxing week of gratitude.

BUDGET UPDATE:

Thank you to the many parents I have spoken with one-on-one and to those who attended our recent SSC and PTA meetings regarding our School Performance Framework and the OUSD budget.  As many of you know, on November 8, 2017, the OUSD Board of Education authorized cuts totaling $15.1 million in mid-year adjustments. As a result, each District school site is charged with implementing the mid-year reductions. Redwood Heights has to reduce its school budget by $39,000 immediately. Fortunately for our school community, the impact of the budget reductions will not be felt as deeply as some schools because many of our staff positions and supply budgets are funded by non-District funding streams, including sizeable grants and donations.  Serendipitously, Ms. Rebecca Weisman, our fabulous TSA, had decided to reduce her position from full-time to 2.5 days per week to spend more time with the new addition to her family:). This will save us a significant amount money that can be applied to our projected budget reduction.

Explanation of our Budget Issues:

Good intentions and increased costs to run programs have led us down the path of where we are today. In addition to long-term trends, a number of factors led to a significant recent shift in our financial stability, including:

  • Lack of Overall Funding - Simply put, our base funding is insufficient. California ranks 46th out of 50 states in terms of per-pupil spending. Additionally, several key factors unique to the Bay Area are increasing our costs. These include higher retirement contributions; lower cost of living adjustments, increasing costs to serve students with disabilities, and a higher city-wide minimum wage.
  • Mistakes Made in the Past and Repeated - Due to several challenges detailed in the FCMAT report, the District has had difficulty effectively forecasting, monitoring and managing budgets to ensure revenues match or exceed expenditures.  As a result, we have spent beyond our means and depleted savings to the point where immediate action is necessary.
  • Cost Saving Measures Are Needed Immediately - To ensure solvency and local control, reducing costs by $15.1 M. We have tough decisions ahead and will do our best to protect students and sites but the truth is, we will not be able to make the cuts necessary without impacting sites.
  • Initial Action Plan to Improve Fiscal Vitality - A new Budget Strategy Team is in place comprised of staff from the Finance Division, the office of the Superintendent, and West Ed. This team is charged with problem-solving and creating robust financial systems. Additionally, the Superintendent is monitoring all site budgets on a monthly basis and all Central Office and School Site Leaders will be held accountable to monitor site dollars. We are also revisiting our multi-year projections for 2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21 to mitigate any future financial surprises.
  • Next Steps - Central and site-based leaders from across the District are collaborating and jointly prioritizing the budget adjustments for this and next year and are also hard at work forecasting budget reduction scenarios to meet any proposed cost savings targets.

Fiscal Transparency

OUSD is committed to creating clarity and understanding around how we invest your money into student education and school site support. Click here for more information regarding Improving Financial Transparency. There are interactive tools, reports, and presentations to inform and engage stakeholders to ensure all students thrive.

K-12 budgeting is a moving target because the 2017-18 budget travels a 2-year journey from planning to implementation to reconciliation.  Below is the current timeline:

17-18 Mid Year Adjustment Timeline

Mon., 11/20

OUSD Board Community Meeting: Met West, 6 pm-8 pm

Mon., 11/27

Special Board Meeting: Present Scenarios for Mid Year Adjustments, Vote on Central Office Reductions, 6 pm-9 pm

Wed., 12/6

Budget and Finance Committee Meeting, 6 pm

Thurs., 12/7

Review School Budgets Reduction

Wed., 12/13

First Interim Budget Report, Board Decides School Budgets Reduction


If you have more questions or concerns about the budget, please attend our next School Site Council meeting on TUE, 12/12 @ 5:15 pm - 6:30 pm.  Also, I am in the process of planning a community meeting with our District 4, School Board Member, Vice President Nina Senn for a school budget discussion. I will let you know a date and time once I have a confirmation.

 

I am pleased to report that elevated levels of lead were not found in the fixtures on our campus. The results from our school fall within acceptable Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines for drinking water. Go to https://www.ousd.org/waterquality for our school report.