District Expected to Start Program Despite Shortfall : Education: Glendale Schools 2000 would cost $46 million over the next five years if fully implemented.


Members of the Glendale school board expressed confidence Tuesday that a costly new program to improve districtwide achievement can be started this year despite a 2% shortfall in the district's overall budget.

Glendale Schools 2000 would cost the district $46 million over the next five years if fully implemented, but school officials told the board that it could begin the program for considerably less by redirecting existing budget monies.

Donald Empey, deputy superintendent of instruction, said 66 of the 125 proposed action plans designed to reduce dropout rates while furthering job and college opportunities for graduates would cost the district $500,000 during the program's first two years.

Supt. Robert Sanchis said he is confident that the district could find funding for those 66 plans despite an ongoing struggle to pare more than $2 million from its 1991-92 budget.

"Costs won't be the problem during the first two years," Sanchis told the board. "The board can reassign funds in the budget to make this happen."

Sanchis said finding $500,000 over the next two years should be possible since that amount constitutes only half of 1% of the district's yearly budget.

Board member Charles E. Whitesell said his only concern was whether a vote to implement the program this year would mean additional budget cuts from other areas within the district.

Sanchis said that the board would be responsible for deciding how to redirect funds and that no action would be taken without board approval.

The Glendale Schools 2000 report, a 15-point plan to draw up and enact a district mission statement, was generated by a committee of teachers, administrators, students and community members over the past year.

Among the lower-cost action plans that would begin during the next two years is one designed to broaden the options for graduates with more use of proficiency exams and certificates of completion and competency at a cost of $2,200 through 1993.

Other strategies that could begin soon are:

* Developing a code of ethics for district employees; $166.

* Establishing performance levels and an evaluation process for teachers, administrators and staff; $400.

* Involving families in the education of their children through instructional programming on cable television; $3,000.

* Assessing the performance of graduates in the employment marketplace; $50,000.

Although the program would initially be funded with existing budget monies, one proposal recommends that the district establish a committee responsible for seeking additional funds in the form of state and federal grants. A comprehensive procedure for filing grant applications would cost the district $205,000 the first two years.

In addition, Sanchis said he may ask the board to include a proposed plan to provide all students in grades five through 12 with word processing classes that would cost the district $1 million and increase the program's two-year price tag to $1.5 million.

A majority of the funds would be used to purchase computer equipment. Empey said delaying the word processing classes would cost the district more in the future.

The board is expected to vote on the program during next Tuesday's meeting.

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