Scripps Ranch Schools Committee (SRSC)

Advanced Studies

At the January meeting area superintendent Fabiola Bagula provided a summary on a district presentation on Advanced Studies to the San Diego Unified School Board. The focus of the report was on high school advanced courses: Advanced Placement (AP); International Baccalaureate (IB), not available in Scripps Ranch; community college partnerships; and College and Career Technical Education (CCTE). SR High School principal Ann Menna explained that SRHS already offers three classes—in math and political science—in a partnership with community colleges and is in the final stages of adding new business classes in partnership with Miramar Community College.

The district’s next steps for AP classes are: to increase access and success of the coursework, especially for some student subgroups; explore new AP options within the “A–G” college prep courses for UC admission, such as more AP foreign language classes; and ensure sufficient rigor in AP courses so students pass the AP exams. The next steps for college partnerships are to: increase student access to college level courses; revise policies to allow innovative use of college courses, for example, dual credit for high school and college; and make it clear to students and parents that college courses are as valuable as AP and IB for college admission.

Feedback from the SRSC included that GATE in middle and elementary schools should be a part of the discussion of advanced studies, as it is a component of the foundation for more advanced coursework in high school.

District Communications

In advance of a meeting of the Cluster Congress with the district’s director of communications, Linda Zintz, and chief information officer, Ursula Kroemer, the SRSC discussed communication issues members had with the district. The primary concerns centered on: a recognized communication pathway between the district and the cluster; providing meaningful engagement of stakeholders, for issues such as decisions around the calendar start date; and providing timely information to all stakeholders.

District Budget

Cluster Congress representative and legislative chair Tamara Hurley reported on next year’s budget. The governor’s proposed 2015–2016 state budget contains significantly more revenue for education due to the rules in Proposition 98’s education funding guarantee. Although this would provide SDUSD about $23 million more than in 2014–2015, it still leaves a $18–20 million funding gap. This is largely due to continued deficit spending and the increased financial burden from the California State Teachers’ Retirement System unfunded pension liability.

Unlike in previous years, the district cannot sell real estate to fill the gap, so it’s not clear how this shortfall will impact schools. Despite the shortages, the board approved additional budget priorities for 2015–2016, including class size reductions in K–3, early learning, and college readiness, with a focus on middle school.

The board indicated it would like adequate funding to be able to improve student programs and services and provide competitive salaries for employees. The district is spearheading a statewide conversation on education funding. Per student spending for education in California is 23% less than the national average and ranks our state 46th in the nation.

Next Meeting

The SRSC’s next meeting is on Wednesday, Mar. 18, at 4:30 pm in the Marshall Middle School community room. Everyone is welcome. If you have any questions, please email co-chair Jaylene Farry at [email protected]

Tamara Hurley, Legislative Analyst