The following is from the Laguna Beach School District Board of Education meeting of June 14.
Student reps recognized
Axl Dominguez and Lauren Slater, Laguna Beach High School students, won board recognition for their work as student representatives to the board.
Lauren, who has spent two years as a representative, plans to attend UC Santa Barbara in the fall.
Axl has one more year at LBHS.
"You have kept the board informed of what is going on at the high school day in and day out," Supt. Sherine Smith said.
Board member William Landsiedel pointed out the importance of having students in the mix, as they add valuable perspective.
SchoolPower president recognized
SchoolPower President Robin Rounaghi was honored by the board for her work raising needed funds for the district during her two-year term.
"She brought in a huge donation, probably the most in SchoolPower history, of close to $135,000," Smith said.
Board member Theresa O'Hare thanked her for her countless hours of work, even after going back to her full-time job as a lawyer.
"This is such a team effort at SchoolPower," Rounaghi said. "I feel like we've started to take SchoolPower to the next level."
Later in the meeting she presented the district with a check from SchoolPower for $125,000, the second installment of a $250,000 donation.
Teachers given grants
Gary Jenkins, president of the SchoolPower Endowment Foundation, handed out substantial grants to teachers at all four district schools, totaling $78,690.
Technology was a common denominator in many of the grants.
Kim Adams of El Morro received $6,000 for laptops, and the fourth-grade classes received $9,999. Top of the World teacher Linda Barker received $8,000 to incorporate iPod touches into her coursework, and Rosie Haynes got $8,000 for laptops for her fifth-graders.
Thurston was excited to receive $5,000 for outdoor science camp and for expanding its multimedia with a $3,300 award.
LBHS principal Don Austin got $9,300 for college readiness, a push the high school is making to better prepare its high schoolers for college and careers.
The PTA's Coffee Breaks received $3,500 for its monthly meetings, which include chats with authors and parenting experts.
Many other grants at each site were given out.
District to see less funding from state
Norma Shelton, assistant superintendent of business services, gave a presentation on the 2011-12 fiscal year budget.
Shelton explained the current issues facing the district, such as a decrease in state funding, and the Basic Aid Fair Share process, which is state funding the school is eligible for but won't receive due to its property tax funding source.
Property taxes account for 88.9% of the total projected revenue for fiscal 2011-12, whereas federal revenue is only 2% and other state revenue is 2.4%. Other local revenue account for the remaining 7% and Principal Apportionment accounts for less than 1%.
Although funding is tight, Shelton pointed out that Laguna Beach schools are still making K-3 class size reduction a priority. They've chosen to continue the program, with a 1:20 teacher-to-student ratio, even though the state's contribution to help offset the cost of hiring more teachers has decreased.
In the next year academic year, state revenues will decrease by $751,012, Shelton said.
Healthy eating a school priority
The board discussed the newly revised Student Wellness Policy, which enumerates the standards and guidelines for food at the four campuses. For example, no grain or dairy item will exceed 175 calories and junior high and high school snacks can't have more than 35% fat (with some exceptions).
Smith discussed a revision in the policy, which asks that principals give annual guidelines for birthdays and other parties, while reinforcing healthy choices and maximizing classroom instruction, in an effort to avoid sweets on a regular basis.
Board member William Landsiedel said that although the district offers many healthy choices, kids aren't always catching on.
If they cut pizza, he said, they won't eat lunch.
"At some point, we're going to go broke trying to bring healthy food," he said with a laugh.