June 23, 2015

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Comment / Question:
“We appreciate seeing the greater specificity on arts spending in the 2015 LCAP update draft compared to the LCAP 2014 in which we saw no specific mention of support for arts education.  Our question for you pertains to the amount of $1,467,365 listed on page 36 under Goal 5 for “Elementary Art, Music, and PE activities.”  Please tell us what activities and corresponding budget items with which this is associated.”
Superintendent's Response:
Thank you for your service on the LCAP Advisory Committee and for your inquiry regarding the support for art and music education in the District.  The $1,467,365 reflects the expenditures for the elementary fine arts, music and physical education program as follows:
  1. 1.7.9 FTE for Elementary Fine Arts Teachers, which is approximately equal to $695,027
  2. 2.3.275 FTE for Elementary Physical Education Teachers, which is approximately equal to $346,015
  3. 3.4.0 FTE for Elementary Music Teachers, which is approximately equal to $426,323

The elementary Fine Arts Program includes creative activities involving literature, drama, art and dance.  The elementary Physical Education Program provides instruction in physical activities focused on fitness and healthy nutritional choices.  The elementary Music Program provides instruction in grades 4 through 6  and includes both instrumental and vocal music.

Please note that the costs presented are estimates as there are positions which are vacant and the actual costs may slightly increase or decrease based on the person hired for a particular position.
May 19, 2015

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To review the Superintendent's Responses to Questions and Comments from the May 19, 2015, LCAP Advisory Committee meeting, please click here.
May 2, 2014

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Question:  What is the current spending on academic coaches, TCM (Targeted Case Managers), Instructional Aides, and Technology per group?

ResponseAcademic Coaches $350,000, TCMs $500,000, Instructional Aides (exempt federal funded & special ed) $355,000, Technology $225,000. 

April 30, 2014

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How is funding for Librarians, nurses, and speech/language supported in the LCAP document?

Response: It is not in the current LCAP document. Funding will continue for librarians, nurses, and speech/language support as a core program and paid for from Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) dollars. These services are not specific to targeted students and are not part of the LCAP addressing additional or improved services for targeted students at this time.


Question:  I'm not clear on the issue of the 1.4 million Kevin outlined as the cost of funding the four recommended program enhancements. Are there other cost increases embedded in the LCAP that are programs we would be continuing after funding was moved from restricted to unrestricted in LCFF (Local Control Funding Formula) changes?  When will fiscal services be finished identifying current program funding costs?

Response:  The $1.4 million is the district-wide portion of the increased funding (estimated to be $1.65 million at this time) in LCFF which must be used to serve targeted students. The other $250,000 of the $1.65 million will be distributed to the school sites for them to decide how to serve their targeted students. The district-wide money will be used to pay for the educational coaches, targeted case managers, instructional aides, technology support, and elementary guidance. I believe the idea from Educational Services is the school sites will continue to get what they have received in the past related to the previous EIA allocations, plus an additional $250,000. Then the district-wide programs paid from the $1.4 million will benefit all schools and provide some economy of scale.

There are other programs such as EMHI (Early Mental Health Initiative) and Reading Pals that will continue to be funded based on Board direction that were formerly restricted grants and will now be paid from unrestricted LCFF dollars.

Fiscal Services plans to have the costs of the programs identified in the plan for the June 11 Public Hearing for the LCAP and 2014-15 budget. 


Is “Reg-to-Go (Community college registration) listed as an indicator of ELL and others college & career readiness?  Can this be added to the metrics for Priority 2 and Priority 4?

Response:  “Reg-to-go” data could serve as another metric. 

For academic year 2012-2013, the numbers were:

  • Chico High – 217 seniors
  • Pleasant Valley – 146 seniors
  • Fair View – 26 seniors

For academic year 2011-2012, the numbers were:

  • Chico High – 161 seniors
  • Pleasant Valley – 175 seniors
  • Fair View – 27 seniors


Question:  When we left at our last meeting, the Basic Services table added in a goal for school libraries that included researching needs and developing new policies and budgets to address the planned movement of our libraries into large media centers.  The district, through the facilities master plan, has indicated it envisions big changes that will involve changing in staffing, resources, etc.   Libraries was tied as a top vote getter for priorities throughout the LCAP process, they were strongly supported by parents from various schools, and were added in at the last meeting as a specific goal, but I see absolutely no mention of libraries whatsoever in the current draft.  Do you know what happened since the last meeting? 

Response:  As discussed throughout the process, we do not have the dollars or other resources to address every item that came up in the meetings.  As a result, some items were not included. The process by which filter topics included:  input at meetings (this was discussed at the Priority 1 table), alignment to the priority as defined by the state template (this was not an area that was required to be addressed in Priority 1); Common threads through multiple Priority table group discussions (while discussed at length at the Priority 1 table group, library was not a topic that surfaced at other table groups); legislated/mandated issues (library is not further mandated beyond existing resources).  All of that stated, I do believe CUSD needs to continue to provide students with the skill and resources that enable them to both read for skill development and pleasure as well as conduct research.  I believe our Library media staff, both certificated and classified, will be crucial in the development and implementation of technology centers. 


April 24, 2014

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Question:  Please define the term “Williams Act”.

Response:  Williams Act came about from a class action suite Eliezer Williams, et al, vs State of California, et al. The case was filed as a class action in 2000 in San Francisco County Superior Court.  The bases of the lawsuit was that the agencies failed to provide public school students with equal access to instructional materials, safe and decent school facilities, and qualified teachers.  As a result of the settlement, all schools must report the overall condition of their facilities, the number of teacher misassignments and vacant teacher positions, and the availability of textbooks or instructional materials.  It also allows the filing of complaints concerning these deficiencies.

Question:  Please define the term “Teacher Misassignment”? 

ResponseMisassignment means the placement of a certificated employee in a teaching or services position for which the employee does not hold a legally recognized certificate or credential or the placement of a certificated employee in a teaching or services position that the employee is not otherwise authorized by statute to hold.  Per the Williams Act, teacher misassignment is defined as:  A teacher who lacks credentials or training to teach English learners is assigned to teach a class with more than 20 percent English learners in the class and/or a teacher assigned to teach a class for which the teacher lacks subject matter competency. 

Question: Can you create data to show substitute teacher costs broken down by category (i.e. illness, staff development, testing, etc.)? 

Response:  The short answer is yes. Our system allows us to look at monthly increments and sort out substitute usage by category. 


Question: Define instructional supervision. 

Response:  Instructional supervision has many definitions and meanings.  It refers to the planned and purposeful monitoring and assistance provided to improve instruction to students in an effort to improve student learning. This means the ongoing activities that a supervisor engages in to support, modify, improve and maintain high quality instruction.  This is not the episodic evaluation process as required by collective bargaining agreements.  Here is one of the better descriptions of instructional supervision: "Effective Instructional Supervision involves raising student achievement and creating valuable educational opportunities for students.  This can be achieved by the supervisor clearly defining goals for the teachers and facilitating opportunities for the teachers to learn about local, state, and federal requirements.  A successful supervisor would also provide support to teachers through not only workshops, but also by being available to the teachers and fostering growth by completing walkthroughs and clinical supervisions.  Furthermore, an instructional supervisor would work with parents and teachers to keep current on the community’s needs in order to help provide students with a meaningful educational experience that will benefit them in various career paths.  Instructional supervisors are integral to every school’s attainment of support, teacher success, and student achievement."

Question: What evidence do you have that shows a device in every students hand or the like will increase student learning?  At the elementary level, we do not always need computers every moment, every day.  Should technology be revisited and revamped for grade levels K-12?

Response: Computers, including personal devices, are a tool to be used for things like research, e-books, online resources, collaboration, and communications.  While new as an educational tool, data from Sugata Mitra “The Child-Driven Education” (TEDTalk http://goo.gl/RWzqv2) addresses student achievement.  In addition, data from Canby School District titled “Mobile Devices in Canby SD: Meeting the Needs of Every Student” also addresses student achievement.  First and foremost, however, the device is a tool that can help the teacher or the student improve student learning.

Question:  Why do McManus and Chapman share a principal, especially since both schools have low socio & academic achievement?

Response When two sites share an administrator, each site has a second person who has moved into a position of leadership on that site and is available throughout the day. This system provides an opportunity for teachers in Chico Unified School District to gain more leadership experience. Often these leaders chose to move into administration.


Question:  Why are there are no elementary school teams for students; i.e., soccer, flag football etc.?

Response:  The Chico Area Recreation District offers afterschool sports opportunities such as flag football, volleyball and basketball for elementary students and they make an effort to organize the teams by schools.  Additionally there are many other sports opportunities offered throughout the Chico community such as Little League, swim teams, karate and Tai Kwon Do, dance, etc.  

Chico Unified Elementary Schools provide physical activity both as an individual endeavor and as a team activity through the Physical Education program, organized lunchtime activities such as “noon league” and in after-school offerings such as Girls on The Run which is offered on various sites.  Students enrolled in the Afterschool Programs also have a variety of options which include soccer, martial arts, dance and intra-mural opportunities.  


Question:  Will Summer School be brought back for the High Schools? With the increased credits to 235 for the graduating class of 2017, if a student fails more than one class, they’re not on track for graduation. Summer school would be beneficial to these students.  Fair View and Credit recovery alone will not be enough. 

Response:  We currently have some options for credit recovery including after school credit recovery, courses at post-secondary educational institutions, and Fair View.  We are also working to add online course availability both in the summer and after the school day.


Question:  I’m concerned about the overkill of purchasing “Mobile Devices”.  Research what happened in LA Unified when they bought thousands of iPads.  Instead, invest in the Quality Professional Development time to make the individual teacher top notch, reflective and focused on student learning and not technological fluff.

Response:  Mobile devices can be used in multiple ways, including as a mechanism to house all of the textbooks the students need, a tool for research, writing, collaborative learning, presentations and much more.  We live in a technological society and our students need to be able to use technology as a tool in their daily learning.  Like any tool used in instruction, the impact of a mobile device on student achievement depends on the instructional practices utilized. 


Question: Why isn’t transportation an available option for all families?  Changing transportation guidelines, making transportation to families available even if they don’t attend their neighborhood school would be very beneficial.  I am concerned because we have heard the Chapman and Parkview bus may not be available in the next couple of years and that can highly impact Rosedale’s enrollment and matrix for the program.

Response:  Transportation is an expensive program.  It is not financially feasible to provide transportation to all school sites and to all students attending schools outside of their boundaries.  We are not considering cancelling the Chapman and Parkview buses at this time.  We are researching whether or not we can decrease the cost to families for home to school transportation.  We are also proposing to decrease the eligibility requirements to ride the bus from living two miles from the attendance area school to living one mile from the attendance area school; we will take a recommendation to the board in May.  It is our hope this will increase ridership in 2014-15.

Question:  Will there be additional costs for textbooks, supplies, teacher training, test costs for Common Core?

Response:  Yes


Question:  What do we need to do to hire guidance technicians and counselors at the elementary school level?

Response:  Elementary Guidance support is included in the Draft LCAP.  In addition we are pursuing grant funds for Elementary Counselors. 


Question:  Are there going to be common site and/or district assessments at Secondary and Elementary grade levels?

Response:  Yes. They are to be part of the Common Core Assessment system developed by SBAC and supported by the state.


Question:  What is the highest priority for the CUSD Board? Facilities, Assessments, Personnel, Safety etc.?

Response:  The Board continues to state their top goal is Student Achievement.  Quality facilities, formative assessments, quality personnel and safe school environments all contribute to increased student achievement. 


Question: All of the goals shared tonight have one common denominator: The Individual Teacher.  Is a basic need for quality education a quality instructor?

Response:  Without a doubt, quality teachers are the backbone of high quality student learning and student achievement.


Question:  How does the LCAP invest in quality teachers?

Response:  The Draft LCAP provides for quality staff development opportunities.  It also provides support to students so that teachers can deliver high quality instruction to students who are better prepared to learn as a result of the support mechanisms in place. 


Question:  Can we add % enrolled in/completing UC Ag courses (graduating UC/CSU eligible).

Response:  Yes, this is an area we do track and is included in the matric for College/Career ready.

Question:  Can someone explain the meaning of College Preparedness Data?
Specifically how should we think of 3%, 17% and 28% “readiness” numbers as without a context these numbers appear to be negative.

Response:  Early Assessment Program (EAP) data is one metric that can be used to infer college preparedness.  College preparedness, also known as Ready for College, means the student earned a score of exempt on the EAP in ELA Math or both and is not required to take the college placement test upon entering college.  Let’s keep in mind that the EAP metric is based upon readiness as a junior, so more students will become ready based on their senior year of high school.  In addition, less students take the Math EAP than the ELA EAP because they have to be in Algebra II or higher to take the Math EAP.  28% of CUSD students are exempt (college prepared or ready) in ELA which is about 6% above the state average.  The LCAP data sheet reports a 3% math figure for students exempt or Ready (R).  These are grade 11 students who took the Algebra II test.  The 17% figure refers to students who took the Summative Math test.  Combining these, 13% of CUSD students are exempt (college prepared or ready) in Math which is about 1.88% below the state average.

We need to also look at the (CR) or conditionally ready data supplied in the LCAP binders. For math, if we add together the students who are college ready plus those who are conditionally ready we are at about 68% in CUSD, about 8% higher than the state’s 60%.  Students who are conditionally ready in math need to take a Math class with a prerequisite of Algebra II or higher and earn a “C” or higher in their senior year in order to take advantage of the mathematics placement test exemption in college and be deemed college ready.