Del Mar school district board holds public LCAP meeting

By Karen Billing

The Del Mar Union School District board held a public hearing on May 28 to review its Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), a new requirement of all school districts this year as a result of the state’s new Local Control Funding Formula (LCCF).

With the formula, revenue limits and most state categorical funding are eliminated and each school district’s funding formula is based on the number, grade level and demographics of the students they serve. DMUSD will continue to be a community-funded district, primarily funded through property taxes although they will still receive state and federal monies.

The purpose of the LCCF is to provide a higher quality of instruction focused on students being college and career ready, addressing the needs of all groups, such as low-income students, English language learners and foster youth, and eliminating the achievement gap. As DMUSD has only 12 percent of students that fall into the low-income, English language learners and foster children categories, it will not receive any additional money from the state through the funding formula but the district is still required to create an LCAP.

All districts must write an accountability plan that outlines annual goals for all students and addresses the state’s eight priorities that include items such as student achievement and college readiness, parental involvement, student engagement and implementation of the Common Core State Standards.

DMUSD Superintendent Holly McClurg said the process in creating the LCAP was a very thorough, thoughtful process that involved input (including online surveys) from a lot of staff and community members. The resulting plan essentially memorializes the work the district already does to address those special populations of children, McClurg said.

DMUSD Trustee Scott Wooden asked if there was any benefit to spending all that time preparing the LCAP, as they won’t see any additional funding and the district already has a strategic plan.

Shelley Peterson, assistant superintendent of curriculum instruction, said there were some benefits as it caused them to project out what actions and services the district will provide over three years.

Peterson said even though the district already has a strong strategic plan, another benefit of going through the LCAP process was seeing a state priority that the district’s plan did not address. That priority of safety and addressing chronic absenteeism has been added to the district’s strategic plan.

The LCAP will be approved at the June 25 DMUSD board meeting, along with the district’s 2014-15 budget. Cathy Birks, assistant superintendent of business services, gave a brief overview of the budget at the May 28 DMUSD board meeting — the district is projecting $43,156,291 in total revenues and expenditures of $43,542,257, with a reserve of $7,555,064.

On the revenue side, Birks said they are projecting a 2 percent increase in property tax revenues. In expenditures, they look to cut down on operational expenses, books, supplies and capital outlay because of 2013-14 costs for security and fencing projects. One expenditure that will increase and continue to rise is the district’s contribution to employee retirement with the California State Teachers Retirement System (STRS), from $6,988,585 in 2013-14 to a projected $7,519,948 in 2014-15. By 2021, the district will be contributing almost 19 percent to employees’ STRS.

Wooden said it is something the district needs to be cognizant of as it is going to be a problem for them long-term. He said the revenue from new homes in the district will help but that money for STRS contribution will have to come from somewhere.

Helping the budget picture will be the Del Mar Schools Education Foundation’s donation. Treasurer David Wojtkowski reported after a busy April and May, they have raised $1.24 million to keep the Extended Studies Curriculum of art, science, technology, PE and music at the same levels as this year. Over 2,000 families contributed to the DMSEF this year, surpassing last year’s participation rate.