Ventura County School Boards Association Newsletter
What's on Tap for 2019
I would like to welcome everybody back from winter recess on behalf of the Ventura County School Boards Association (VCSBA). And a special welcome to our recently elected school board members.

The VCSBA hosted numerous new board members (and several veterans) at our January 5 Governance Training. James Romo from the law firm Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo presented on governance issues and the Open Meetings Act and drew on his experiences and knowledge of being both an educational attorney and a former school board trustee. His input was quite informative. Mary Samples, the recently retired Assistant Superintendent for Ventura County SELPA, spoke on critical special education issues facing the school districts. We also had a presentation on media relations from Letitia Austin, Public Information Officer for the Oxnard School District; Jake Finch, Public Information Officer and Public Relations Coordinator for the Simi Valley Unified School District and Kimberly Gold, Coordinator of Communications, Community Engagement and Marketing for the Conejo Valley Unified School District. It was a great morning!

You may ask what is next for VCSBA. Our next dinner meeting is Monday, March 4, 2019 and the topic is “Investment in Early Education.”

We're excited to have an experienced panel of experts that includes:

  • Petra Puls, Executive Director, First Five Ventura County
  • Dr. Carola Oliva-Olson, Associate Professor, Early Childhood Studies, CSUCI
  • Mabel Munoz, Director, Early Childhood Programs, VCOE
  • Dennis Meyers, Assistant Executive Director, Government Relations, CSBA

We will learn from our expert panelists how early education intervention is always the right thing to do for our kids.

Have you ever wondered how you can contribute to VCSBA? The nominating committee may be contacting you to see if you are interested in serving as President, Vice-President/Programs, Vice-President/Legislation, Treasurer or Secretary. But you do not need to be asked. Please reach out to one of our nominating committee members if you are interested in dipping your toe into the VCSBA (see below for committee member contact info).

Lastly, several of our board members who have reached milestones in their school board service will receive Meritorious Service Awards at our March dinner meeting. Be sure to attend to receive your award or to watch fellow board members be recognized for their continued achievements in serving their schools and communities. Read on for the list of honorees.

Thank you all for all you do for the children of Ventura County.

Christina Urias, VCSBA President
Santa Paula Unified School District
Governor's Budget Proposal for 2019-20
Due in large part to a strong economy and the fiscal conservatism of our previous Governor, new Governor Gavin Newsom has the luxury of proposing some ambitious initiatives for next year’s budget. To this end, on January 10th, he released his proposed budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year. Among the highlights for the education budget are:

  • Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) - the budget proposes a $2 billion proposition 98 general fund increase for the Local Control Funding Formula; which equates to a 3.46 % COLA.

  • CalSTRS Employer Contribution Rate – the Governor proposes a $3 billion general fund payment to CalSTRS to reduce long term pension liabilities for employers, which would equate to an approximately 1% lower contribution rate than previously projected for the next two years. It is important to note that this amount would be provided outside of the proposition 98 formula.

  • Special Education – the budget proposes a $576 million proposition 98 allocation (of which $186 million is one-time) to support expanded Special Ed services and school readiness supports for LEA’s with high percentages of both students with disabilities and unduplicated students who are low income, youth and foster care and English Language Learners.

  • State Preschool – Governor Newsom proposes $125 million in non-proposition general fund monies to increase access to full-day full-year state preschool for four year old children in the coming year. This would bring the total of state preschool slots to approximately 180,000.

  • Universal Full Day Kindergarten – the administration intends to increase participation in kindergarten by building upon the $100 million provided in the 2018 Budget Act to construct new or retrofit existing facilities for full day kindergarten programs by adding an additional $750 million one-time, non-proposition 98 general fund contribution for the same purposes or to fund other activities that reduce barriers to districts providing full day kindergarten.

  • Longitudinal Education Data System – in an effort to connect student information throughout the continuum from early education through K-12 and into higher education institutions the budget provides $10 million in one-time non-proposition 98 funding to develop a common Longitudinal Data System.

  • School Facilities – The state budget proposal also includes the sale of an additional $1.5 billion in proposition 51 bonds to support the state facility program which includes new construction, modernization, career technical education and charter school facilities programs.

Without doubt, these are ambitious proposals which will play out over the next several months until we learn more in the May revise and ultimately a final budget approved by the state legislature and signed by the Governor in June. It should be noted that the backdrop for all this is an economy that continues to out-perform expectations, but a recovery from the great recession is in its tenth year and ripe for a downturn.

Also, accountability will remain a priority as the California School Dashboard and other metrics continue to evolve and integrate into the new federal systems of support and accountability under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Stay tuned!

Stan Mantooth
Ventura County Superintendent of Schools
A Closer Look at Gov. Newsom's Education Budget
Governors’ proposed budgets often change significantly between January’s proposal and June’s adoption. However, first-year governors, coming-off of landslide victories, usually prevail with their spending plans. Most education leaders have expressed support for Governor Gavin Newsom’s first budget proposal. Governor Newsom campaigned as a champion for greater investment in education and his budget proposal supports that priority. If you support or oppose any of these proposals, consider communicating with your State Senate and Assembly-persons to express your opinion.

In addition to other spending priorities, Newsom has proposed increases for early childhood education and childcare, greater accountability for charter schools, and a second year of free community college tuition. His proposal includes base funding increases, buy-downs on CalSTRS employer contributions, increased funding for Special Education services, expanded State Preschool and universal full-day kindergarten services, improved accountability and student data management, and release of State General Obligation Bond funds for school construction. Further detail on Governor Newsom’s proposed budget is provided below. 

The Governor’s proposal funds the Prop 98 minimum guarantee at $80.7 billion, which is a $2.9 billion increase over the 2018-19 funding level. This translates to an average $12,003 in ongoing K-12 per-pupil expenditures or an increase of $435 per student over the 2018-19 level. A $2 billion increase is proposed in the Local Control Funding Formula, which is a 3.46 percent COLA, increasing the total LCFF funding to $63 billion. 

The proposed exponential increases in employer contributions for employees in the California State Teachers Retirement system would be temporarily addressed. The budget proposes a one-time non-Prop 98 $3 billion contribution to CalSTRS to reduce pension costs. $700 million of that amount would be used to buy down employer contribution rates in 2019-20 and 2020-21. It is estimated that employer contributions would decrease from 18.3 percent to 17.1 percent in 2019-20 and from 19.1 percent to 18.1 percent in 2020-21. The remaining $2.3 billion would be used to reduce the long-term unfunded liability by .5 percent.

Governor Newsom proposes $567 million in Prop 98 funds for expanded direct and preventative special education services and school readiness supports. Local Education Agencies with high, unduplicated counts of students with disabilities, low-income, foster youth, and English learners will benefit most from these funds. 

The proposal includes $125 million in non-Prop 98 funds to expand State Preschool by increasing subsidized full-day, full-year spaces for low income 4 year-olds in school districts and not-for-profit providers. Additionally, the proposal shifts $297.1 million of Prop 98 funds for part-day State Preschool programs at non-local educational agencies to non-Prop 98 General Fund.

In addition to the $100 million for the new construction or retrofitting existing facilities to accommodate full-day kindergarten in the 2018-19 Budget Act, an additional $750 million one-time non-Prop 98 General Fund is provided in 2019-20 for similar purposes. 

The budget proposes $350,000 of one-time Prop 98 funds to merge the California School Dashboard, the LCAP electronic template, and other school site and school district accountability reporting tools, such as the School Accountability Report Card, into a single web-based application. To better track the impacts of state investments on achieving educational goals, the proposal provides $10 million of non-Prop 98 funds to plan an enhanced longitudinal data system.

The Prop 51 GEO Bond authorized $7 billion in November 2016 for K-12 schools. The budget proposes $1.5 billion for distribution for school construction projects in 2019-20. 

Charles Weis, Ph.D., VP Legislation
Hueneme School District Governing Board
Meritorious Service Award Honorees

Please join us at the March 4 dinner meeting as we honor the following School Board Members for their years of dedicated service to public education.
Allen Rosen , Oak Park - 8 years
Bernardo Perez , VCCCD - 8 years
Bob Rust , Pleasant Valley - 8 years
Debra Kuske , Pleasant Valley - 8 years
Dianne McKay , VCCCD - 8 years
Eleanor Torres , Rio - 8 years
Ernie Morrison , Oxnard - 8 years
Lucy Rangel , Fillmore - 8 years
Michelle Quintero , Somis - 8 years
Nathan Sweet , Moorpark - 8 years
Rachel Ulrich , VCOE - 8 years
Scott Mier , Somis - 8 years
Veronica Robles-Solis , Oxnard - 8 years
Wayne Edmonds , Oxnard Union - 8 years
Lesli Stein , Las Virgenes - 9 years
Steve Blum , VCCCD - 12 years
Christina Urias , Santa Paula - 16 years
Karen Schilbrack , Briggs - 16 years
Susan Luckey , Ocean View - 16 years
Michelle Kolbeck , Santa Paula - 20 years
Mindee Stekkinger , Briggs - 20 years
Patricia Phelps , Conejo Valley - 20 years
Ron Speakman , Pleasant Valley - 20 years
Marty Bates , VCOE - 24 years
Lynne Peterson , Santa Clara - 24 years
Ellen Fitts , Ocean View - 32 years
Save the Dates for March 4 and April 29

 VCSBA dinner meetings are a wonderful opportunity for you to grow as board members. We encourage you to attend with your superintendents, assistant superintendents and any other interested parties. Please join us so we can continue educating ourselves and do the best job possible of informing our communities about the important issues affecting education.
March 4, 2019
Investment in Early Education
April 29, 2019
Social and Emotional Learning
Your Chance to Become a VCSBA Officer
Attention all school board members! The VCSBA Nominating Committee will solicit candidates for the VCSBA President, VP Programs, VP Legislation, Treasurer and Secretary.

If you are interested in becoming an Officer of the VCSBA please email Christina Urias or any of the members of the nominating committee (contact info is below).

Christina Urias, President, VCSBA
Santa Paula Unified School District

Sabrena Rodriguez , Ventura Unified

Bill Gorback , Conejo Valley Unified

Debra Cordes , Oxnard School District

The Nominating Committee will meet immediately following the March 4 dinner meeting
(at 8:30 pm). The remaining work of the committee can be done via phone and email as members look for candidates. The Nominating Committee will announce the candidates for VCSBA Executive Board at the April 29, 2019 dinner meeting.  
2018-19 VCSBA Officers
Christina Urias
Santa Paula Unified School District

Veronica Robles-Solis
Vice-President, Programs
Oxnard School District

Dr. Charles Weis
Vice-President, Legislation
Hueneme School District

Denise Helfstein
Oak Park Unified School District

Eleanor Torres
Rio School District