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Arts and technology outlined as AUSD funding priorities; AVID not to be considered

New arts and technology initiatives are among the programs that will likely receive support through a new funding formula, according to Alhambra Unified School District Assistant Superintendent Dr. Gary Gonzalez. The Advancement via Individual Achievement, or AVID program, will not be reconsidered as part of a new funding plan, though new college access programs will be developed.

Gonzalez spoke as part of a presentation to the board of education Thursday evening outlining the funding plan for the next three years in Alhambra Unified School District. The meeting outlined six goals as key to improving the quality of education: improving school facilities, providing an equal and equitable education to all students, providing technology support to students and staff, creating a nurturing learning environment, providing professional development for teachers, and engaging the community and parents to take a role in student’s success.

Much of the meeting was spent addressing how to serve Hispanic, low in-come, foster children, and English learning students and identifying what do they need to succeed in school. Each of the six goals featured research based intervention methods designed to close the education gap between the aforementioned groups and the student body at large. This comes as a response to the stipulation that districts must take an active role in detailing how to close the achievement gap.

Beginning at the start of the 2013-2014 academic year, all schools will have computer labs, an improved wireless network, and teachers without a laptop will receive one. Schools will also see an increase in online learning and students will be expected to produce more electronic based products. K-12 visual and performing arts will see an increase in funding and more music teachers will be added. A summer theater program will be available for English learners to give them an opprotunity to practice and perform the language.

Governor Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) will allocate more funding to schools with high-needs students, such as low-income, English learners, and foster youth. The formula should provide $7,341 per student to the Alhambra Unified School District in the 2013-2014 school year. These grants include additional funding for serving high-needs students, who are 77% of the district’s 18,024 students, according to the Association of California School Administrators. These funds will continue to grow, eventually reaching $11,602 per student by the 2020-2021 school year.

In order to receive full funding, school districts must meet accountability requirements from the state, which include prioritizing education goals and programs. This Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) required districts to list, in order of importance, eight priorities set by the state: student achievement, engagement, outside test scores, parental involvement, course access, school climate, use of technology, and the implementation of the new Common Core standards. Districts must also seek out feedback from teachers, administrators, parents, students, and community members.

On Tuesday May 27, at 6:30pm in the board room at 1515 W. Mission Road  the Board of Education will go over the same plan with their stakeholders where they will accept input from them on altering the plan. Then on Wednesday May 28, the entire plan will go on AUSD’s website for public view.  The Board of Education will vote on June 17 whether they approve the LCAP and will take community input at this meeting. 

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