The following is from the Dec. 11 meeting of the Laguna Beach Unified School District Board of Education.
New president elected
Board Clerk El Hathaway was voted in as the board’s new president, succeeding Betsy Jenkins. Jan Vickers will serve as clerk. (See story on A1)
SchoolPower presents checks
The SchoolPower Foundation awarded $90,565 to be distributed to individual teachers in the district and $150,000 to the district itself "” the first installment of a $250,000 annual gift.
It presented $30,000 to the high school athletic boosters earlier this school year.
Jimmy Escobar, a representative for the district’s auditor, presented the findings of its annual audit.
The auditors found no exceptions or adjustments.
Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Norma Shelton presented the district’s first interim report, quarterly investment report and monthly budget update.
Other than late payments from the state due to the late state budget, she reported no majors issues in the first interim report. The only variable she anticipates will be a small decrease in property taxes due to potential fallout from the national subprime mortgage crisis.
Several board members expressed concern about the district’s investments due to the recent imbroglio surrounding County Treasurer Chriss Street.
A very small portion of the district’s funds was used in controversial structured investment vehicles by Street, which Moody’s suggested recently it may downgrade.
Shelton explained the district has no viable alternative to using the county investment pool.
Shelton explained that an oversight committee has specifically been assigned to keep an eye on the county treasury’s school district pool following the 1994 county bankruptcy.
English programs, reading discussed
District officials presented the board with details on a new online pilot initiative, MyACCESS, which helps kids in grades 5-7 with their reading and writing skills.
The district will explore whether the program is the best suited to improve its students’ language arts skills. The pilot program began this semester and will last two years initially. It will be extended to eighth-graders next year.
The program provides parents and teachers with regular reports detailing usage, the number of revisions, style, mechanics and other metrics.
The board also heard a report from the district’s English language committee, including Community Liaison Javier Diaz, who provides resources and translation services to parents of English learners among other duties.
The sustaining district initiative to improve comprehension and fluency among the district’s English learners is expected to last three to six years.
The state has mandated that by 2014 all students will have to be proficient in English.
Field use for soccer game approved
The board approved a request to use the Laguna Beach High School athletic field for a one-time soccer game between two out-of-town colleges in September 2008.