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Ripon Schools get some relief to tune of $404K

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Ripon Schools get some relief to tune of $404K

Board President Larry Stewart

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

POSTED December 16, 2009 2:18 a.m.
RIPON — Ripon schools are being allowed to put a Band-Aid on the troubled budget in the amount of nearly $404,000, it was learned Monday night.

Ripon Unifed trustees redirected the monies from numerous categorical programs into a flexible status – accepting state categorical funds and implementing flexibility – that will plug some budgetary shortfalls in the district’s general fund.  The 2008-09 California State Budget authorizes school districts to use funding received from the state for Tier III programs for any educational purpose to the extent permitted by state law.

The Art Music Block Grant is providing just over $40,000 for the ailing school budget. Money set aside for adult education in the amount of $12,000 may now also be used for the more basic areas of education.  

A supplemental counselor is being hired on a part-time basis – from the categorical funds – who will address student grief and support for the rest of the school year.  Some $43,000 has been moved to the flexible status to take care of the counseling needs.

A total of $21,609 has been reassigned to the general fund from the category for GATE, Gifted and Talented Education.

Two block grant funds for pupil retention and staff development is yielding  another $133,000.

Monies categorized for use in the Site Improvement Program in the amount of $145,000 will also go to serve other educational purposes.  The budgeted (CBET) Community Based English Tutoring program provides relief with some $9,000.

Current board President Larry Stewart was reelected to the leadership post and Mike Fisher was named vice president by his peers.  Trustee Donna Parks was elected board clerk.

Trustees also approved the Colony Oak Elementary School tree restoration and planting project that will see the planting of two species of trees, the October Glory and the Autumn Purple Ash.

Both trees were chosen for their growing and climate characteristics which include rapid growth, drought tolerance and adaptability to varying soil conditions.  The hard pack conditions of the Colony Oak soil have made growth difficult in past years.

The plan calls for four new trees and 19 to be replaced with one other to be removed.

The trees, stakes, fertilizer and supplies are being provided through donations by Colony Oak parents and friends from the community.

Trustees learned that the profits for the high school student store have dropped some $3,600 to just over $11,000 compared to the same time last year ending in October.  Recent legislation prohibits sale of soda to students on campus and Gatorade has reportedly become popular with students.

Mila Spengler of the Total School Solutions presented a review of the district’s Special Education program designed to identify the program strengths and areas that could be improved along with strategies to become more cost effective in the current budgetary environment.

The funding for the Special Education review was provided with the use of federal stimulus funds targeted under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Kevin Flannigan of Spectrum Energy outlined a program that may provide the natural gas for the school campuses at a reduced rate.  Trustees were hoping the plan would be more economical for the district when the co-generation unit comes on line at the high school’s aquatic center.

A Title One teacher, Michelle Menchaca, was hired at Ripona Elementary School.

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