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Ripon Unified budget plan staying on course
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RIPON –Ripon Unified officials are staying the course with their five-year Strategic Plan adopted in 2009.

That’s despite losses of over $9 million in state funding over the past three fiscal years.

Ripon Unified will continue with the “We expect Excellence” motto, aiming for a district-wide Academic Performance Index – part of the state’s Standardized Testing and Reporting exam – of 900 by 2014.

Superintendent Louise Nan noted at the Monday’s school board meeting that the goal appears quite realistic, particularly with Weston School coming off an API of 850.

“Weston is a model for all to follow,” she said.

Nan also believes the district can accomplish this goal in increments during the coming years. For example, the schools would need overall APIs at about 840 for this year, 860 for 2012, and 880 for 2013.

The Strategic Plan was formulated as a result of an educational summit held in Ripon. “That was shortly before the state budget crashed and burned,” Nan recalled.

The district did experience problems with some of those goals.

The Strategic Plan had hoped to increase funding via grants. Ripon Unified gave it a try, hiring a grant writer at one point, but had very little success.

The district aimed towards improving facilities under the plan. But those efforts stalled due to the fiscal constraints.

Trustees, meanwhile, unanimously approved the annual goals for 2011 or the “new reality,” according to Nan.

Included are three town meetings scheduled for the upcoming months and an upcoming fundraiser to help complete the technology needs of the district by the fall.

As usual, the top priority of the Strategic Plan continues to be students.

“They’re the center (of everything),” Nan said.