Available cash a concern at WES

Liz Pyles

At the Weed Union Elementary School District meeting on Monday, Feb. 23, Superintendent Gary Lampella reported that the California Budget Act passed in February defers the apportionment and class size reduction dollars until July 2009, causing a concern over available cash.

“Cash flow is a problem, but the district believes they will be able to make payroll, pay vendors and essential costs to the end of school year 08-09,” Lampella explained in a phone interview after the board meeting.   The district will receive about $935 less per ADA (average daily attendance), approximately 20% less in categorical funding and a reduced amount of Forest Reserve money. Forest Reserve money will continue to reduce each year until the 2010-11 school year, which is the last year the district will receive the money. 

The board also discussed ways to reduce energy consumption at school by doing an energy audit and possibly creating an energy patrol to check that lights and computers are turned off. The goal would be to return the savings to the school.

The board approved an agreement with Indoor Environmental Services to address repairing or replacing the boiler and determining other ways to make the school more energy efficient.

Another discussion about whether it would be beneficial to move Weed Elementary School’s spring break to coincide with COS’s March spring break resulted in a decision that it would be more costly, less efficient for bus and cafeteria schedules that are coordinated with other districts, and more disruptive to family vacation plans for those who have children in Weed High School also.

The action item to reduce employment and lay off certificated employees was tabled until a special board meeting to be held on March 9.

Special recognition was given to seventh grader Alyssa Merrill for being chosen as Student of the Month, Lorena Fernandez for Cub of the Month, and Carson Ekman for Cubby of the Month. Principal Tag Pimentel read the letters from their teachers nominating them for these awards and describing their outstanding citizenship, positive attitudes and willingness to work hard.

Basketball coaches Jessica Horner and Jack Leifer and cheerleading coaches Kim Hanon and Karen Mazzei were recognized and appreciated for their work with the basketball and cheerleading teams.

The board received a list of students who were recognized at a school assembly for Outstanding Second Quarter Attendance. These students represent 63% of Weed Elementary School’s students who have been absent no more than two days during the second quarter of school.

Pimentel reported on the positive results they are experiencing with their efforts to make student drop-offs and pick-ups safer and more organized.  He thanked staff for their work on that.  Lampella also commented on seeing improvement in student behavior resulting from more contact with parents.  Under the new discipline policy, teachers call parents sooner about behavior issues with their children. He explained that parents are more understanding and cooperative because they are being kept up to speed.

A special meeting of the Weed Union Elementary School District will be held on Monday, March 9 at 7 p.m. in the Weed Eementary School library to address issues concerning the layoffs of five certificated employees.  Their next regular meeting will be the last Monday in March.