Category Archives: Scotts Valley

Update on the Parcel Tax Effort February 6 2012

Below is a message from the Save Our Schools effort in Scotts Valley:

As you may have heard, the District is going place a Parcel tax measure on the June 5th Ballot.  100% of the money will go to our Scotts Valley Schools, it will be used entirely to support the classroom, and it cannot be taken away by the state.  Further, senior citizens and those receiving SSI for a disability may exempt themselves.    Save Our Schools Scotts Valley is a non-profit that we have organized to help ensure that the Measure passes.  To help us pass this measure, we need your help with the following:

  1. SAVE THE DATE: MARCH 9th, from 6-9pm at BRUNO’s  BBQ in SV.
    We are holding a campaign KICK-OFF PARTY March 9th, upstairs at Brunos.  We are hosting an event to raise awareness and support.  Please save the date, and we will send more information in a couple weeks.
  2. Send us 10 emails of people that will support the Measure
    Help us build our group of supporters.  If you forward this on to 10 of your friends, and copy us, we can expand our group.  We want everyone in Scotts Valley to be informed about the Measure, and understand why it is important to support.
  3. Visit Our Website , and add your name!
    Finally, visit our website, and sign up to volunteer, endorse the measure, get a yard sign and even make a donation.  We need your help!

Dr. Susan Silver announces retirement from Scotts Valley Unified School District

Having been asked numerous times why I thought Susan Silver decided to resign I did what I’ve done numerous times over this past year, I reached out to her directly and like in so many other situations she offered a reasoned and timely response. Here is a copy of the email she sent prior to her announcement at the Board meeting which she’s indicated can be shared here:

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

As swiftly as the grapevine works, you may already have heard this; however, I am writing to let you know that at Tuesday’s board meeting, I announced that I will be retiring at the end of this school year.

Some of you may know that I retired several years ago, and was enticed back into the K-12 system to respond to some interesting challenges. When I came to Scotts Valley Unified, my intent was to stay for three years; I am now well into the sixth year. The board that hired me (Marshall Wolff, Joe Espinola, Chuck Walker, Allison Niday and Sue Roth) set ambitious goals for all of us as a team, designed to form our district into a truly unified K-12 school district where adults worked efficiently and effectively together on behalf of students. There are many of those things that we accomplished—we are a financially solvent district, our test scores have gone up at all sites, intervention strategies are used throughout the system, our percent of students below proficient has moved from over 30% to 25%, the construction defects at the high school are almost entirely resolved, alternative options are now available for our high school students, our certificated staff have time each week within the school day to collaborate on teaching and learning, our technology infrastructure works for both instruction and productivity, the employee turnover at the high school has slowed dramatically…..and these are only a few of the changes that occurred. I feel very good about where we are as a district and am very grateful to all of you who have supported my efforts over the years.

The board will be determining the process for hiring the next superintendent, and will be letting you know as the details become available. In the meantime, we still have work to do together over the next four months.

Best wishes,

OFSVS Update #5 Scotts Valley School District issues pink slips for 2011-2012 school year

Steve Trefethen just sent supporters the following message:

As you might have been aware tonight the Scotts Valley School Board approved a resolution to reduce or eliminate certain certificated services for SVUSD. The details of the cuts are outlined in an attachment to tonight’s Board Agenda which you can find on page two here. Unfortunately, the PDF prevents copying any of the text so you’ll have to click through for the details. Essentially, the plan outlines approximately 10 positions where fractional cuts indicate a reduction of hours for the positions indicated.

Karen Jelcick gave a very somber review of the budget situation with a detailed breakdown of what cuts might look like with and without the extension of existing taxes currently being considered for a ballot measure in June along with the budget assumptions that were made. Karen broke the cuts down into three categories which I’ve captured here since I was unable to find any link to this hand out.

A recommendation was made for people in the community to reach out to their legislators about these cuts.

If you’re not involved in directly supporting parcel tax effort it’s certainly time to start asking why? If you haven’t reviewed the parcel tax poll results please take a look.

The goal of this mailing list is dissemination of information so please forward it to as many parents as possible. Also please ask your friends and neighbors to sign up for this email list.

SVUSD files Qualified Certification of Financial Condition

On February 8th, 2011 Scotts Valley Unified School District filed a Qualified financial condition report. A Qualified certification as signed by Superintendent Dr. Susan Silver states:

As President of the Governing Board of this school district, I certify that based upon current projections this district may not meet its financial obligations for the current fiscal year or two subsequent fiscal years.

The areas where the district did not meet its obligations include (for definitions of each area refer to the document linked above):

  • Other Revenues
  • Other Expenditures
  • Deficit Spending
  • Fund Balance
  • Temporary Interfund Borrowings
  • Contributions
  • Long-term commitments
  • Postemployment Benefits Other than Pensions

The three year projection as required by the state predicts the following shortfalls:

2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2013
(507,691) (1,782,639) (2,227,929)

Given salaries account for the vast majority of spending it’s difficult to picture a scenario where additional cuts won’t dramatically affect the number of teacher’s the district can employ.

SVUSD Personel cuts 2005-2010

The district has released data reflecting the impact of many years of consecutive cuts. Sad.

The community needs to find ways to engage people, what do you think will do that?

Note: Fractional numbers represent a reduction in the number of hours for the specified position. Whole numbers represent individuals.

2.5 School Custodians
1.6 District Maintenance
0.4 Transportation
0.5 Business Office
2   Library Clerks
0.75 Secretary/Clerical (0.25 each at Middle school, high school and District Office)
0.5 High school campus Supervision
3.5 Instructional Assistants - General Ed
15  Elementary teachers
2.9 Middle School teachers
7.6 High School Teachers
1   Elementary School Counselor
0.4 Middle School Counselor
0.6 High School Counselor
0.5 Assistant Principal

Understanding the magnitude of the SVUSD budget crisis

The chart below puts into perspective how difficult it will be to use fundraising as a means to offset the SVUSD budget crisis. The pie equals $950,000 with the level of current fundraising dollars ($78,000 as of Jan. 27, 2011) carved out. As you can see total fundraising for the year represents less than 1/10th or just 8.2% of the projected shortfall. Unfortunately, the scale used on the thermometers posted around the district severely mask affect fundraising has had at offsetting the shortfall. I’ve included the thermometer used on the SVEF website here for comparison using a linear scale for comparison. The whole point of this post and this site is to ensure that people have accurate information. While having the signs around the district is a fantastic idea I think the impression is misleading.
I’ll note these numbers do not include dollars raised to be raised at the upcoming auctions. However, those dollars are PTA dollars (vs. SVEF) and therefore typically used to pay for programs at their respective elementary schools.

Fundraising Thermometer

For comparison here is the sign by the Scotts Valley Middle School.
SVEF Dollar a day

SVUSD Facilities FAQ

What caused the SVHS to go over budget and be so poorly constructed?

Has the developer impact fee money been misspent on portables?

How are the developer fees determined and how often?

Here is an article discussing the developer fees.

Why doesn’t the state pay for new school construction? What about matching funds?

What is modernization and can we do that?

If we raised enough revenue to hire back more teachers, is there space for the extra classrooms?

Can the district offices be moved onto an existing campus, to save on rent?


OFSVS Update #3 August 2010

Steve Trefethen just sent supporters the following message:

Hi Everyone,
Hope this latest update finds you all enjoying the Summer! The last OFSVS update was May 23rd, 2010 and recently there has been quite a bit of activity related to the school board I wanted to bring to your attention. First, there are now two openings on the SVUSD school board for which there are only two community members (John Abel and Art Bubb) running meaning unless other candidates register there will be no election and the two new members will simply join the board.

Additionally, with the introduction of Bubb and Abel, we learn of a new political action committee formed by Derek Timm with a press release on Mr. Abel’s website consistent with Derek’s publicly stated opinion on Dr. Silver appearing in our local press.

Along with this OFSVS letter I’ve just written a post reflecting my experience working with the leadership of the district which has been dramatically different from that of Derek’s. The reality is SVUSD is faced with enormous challenges and it’s important to understand, regardless of who holds the  leadership positions, they’ll likely be tasked at times with making unpopular and difficult decisions regarding people’s careers and the future of students in the District.

Community Day
Please remember Community Day is September 18th!

OFSVS Blog Posts Since May

Reality Check
Scotts Valley Community Day 2010
Santa Cruz County School Board Openings
2010 Music At Skypark
Scotts Valley Unified School District Salary Comparison
California School District Furloughs
Effort To Reduce Parcel Tax Passage Rate To 55% Fails For November
Coffee Talk Questions In Need Of Answers
Scotts Valley District Office Staff Offers Two Furlough Days For 2010-2011
Community Fundraising Meeting June 1, 2010
Cupertino’s Their Future Is Now – How They Did I

OFSVS Members Update
There are now 32 people (up from 20) throughout Scotts Valley on this mailing! If you can please continue to spread the information about this group and help engage more people throughout our community.

Please let me know if you would like to see specific information posted to the site or if you’re interested in posti

ng items of interest I’d be happy to work with you. As always please feel free to forward this email to anyone who you feel is interested.

Apologies in for this late summer interruption but I felt several of the above items “newsworthy” and in the interest open communication on which this effort is based felt it necessary.

Enjoy the few remaining weeks of Summer!

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