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Watsonville
June 19, 2024
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PVUSD examines budget, redraws trustee areas

WATSONVILLE—The Pajaro Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees on Wednesday got a first look at its financial picture since Gov. Gavin Newsom released his proposed budget in January, which provides a record $100 billion for schools and community colleges.

The board also revised the district’s trustee areas to reflect changes in population that have occurred over the past decade.

Under Newsom’s proposal, K-12 schools statewide stand to see $24 billion more to spend than last year, including $8.2 billion in ongoing Prop 98 funding.

PVUSD Chief Business Officer Clint Rucker warned that much can change between now and June when Newsom signs the state budget—and school districts are required to finalize their own. Still, he said that the numbers show an increase for school districts, and for before-and after-school programs. The governor’s budget will likely allow for a Cost of Living Allowance of at least 5.33%, a 2.8% increase from previous projections

In addition, Newsom is also proposing a slight increase to the Average Daily Attendance (ADA) funding of $535 per student. He is also proposing a change to the way ADA is calculated that will help ease the loss of expected enrollment drop that districts across the state are facing.

The budget also provides $4.4 billion for Expanded Learning Opportunities Programs, which includes after-school programs. While that is a huge increase from the $900 million that previously funded the programs, it comes with several onerous requirements, such as requiring additional instructional time, Rucker says. That could be a burden for already overworked teachers, he says.

“It’s additional money with additional strings attached,” he said. 

Newsom is also proposing $596 million to help school districts continue their Universal Meals Program, in which all students who want them receive their school meals for free. The district also stands to receive some money to pay for school kitchen infrastructure such as new ovens, although it will not be enough for all schools, Rucker said.

In other action, the board revised the district’s trustee areas to reflect changes in population that have occurred over the past decade.

During redistricting, jurisdictions use the recent census to see how their populations have grown over the past 10 years. Trustee areas with more than 10% difference between any two areas are required to redraw those boundaries.

The district was tasked with evenly redistributing its 111,054 residents. While the trustee areas are not quite even, the new map brings the districts to within 1% of each other, said Rucker.

“We really did a good job of getting as close to that 100% as we could without really making too many disruptions to trustee areas or adding areas where trustees then couldn’t get to or were out of their normal area,” he said.

In making the changes, the district sent two polls to residents living in the district for their input.

After a review, the district determined that based on the report that there was an 11.4% difference between Trustee Area 5 (Jennifer Schacher’s area) and Trustee Area 7 (Jennifer Holm). 

The biggest change is between Trustee areas 5 and 4, overseen by Daniel Dodge Jr.—which is located around Pioneer Cemetery—moving 794 residents.

The process also shifts residents between Trustee Area 1 (Kim De Serpa) and 7, and between Trustee Area 2 (Georgia Acosta) and 1.

Dodge will gain the Portola Heights Mobile Home Park.

No changes were made to Trustee areas 3 and 6.

Todd Guild
Todd Guild
General assignment reporter, covering nearly every beat. I specialize in feature stories, but equally skilled in hard and spot news. Pajaronian/Good Times/Press Banner reporter honored by CSBA. https://pajaronian.com/r-p-reporter-honored-by-csba/

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