Funding school districts is not simply a matter of annual appropriations by the Utah Legislature, but a complicated process that results in state, federal and grant funds.
The Carbon School District Board of Education was reminded of the process last week in a presentation by Patsy Bueno as the assistant superintendent explained the process the administrators must use to gain the money needed for the district's operation.
Bueno spent a good part of the regularly scheduled board meeting spelling out the intricacies of the Consolidated Utah Student Achievement Plan.
The plan is utilized by the state for more than just passing out money, but in the end it's use for gaining funds is an important function of the document.
In years past, the plan had to be filled out by hand. However, the plan is being done on line this year.
"This has been some real work this year because it has been different from the way we did it in the past," said Bueno. "But I expect that next year it will be easier because of this experience."
The document includes data the district must submit on student achievement, trends in the achievement, student learning expectations, a plan narrative developed by the school district, eligibility, a budget overview and assurances by the administration that the district is living up to certain parameters to get money through various programs and grants.
In recent years, the emphasis in educational administration has been leaning toward outcomes, due to pressure from the federal government in particular on showing how students are progressing. That means that measurement is becoming ever more important and one of the main things this document is meant to demonstrate is how students are progressing toward set goals.
The plan that the board looked at also has to examine educator quality and professional development, how technology is being integrated into the curriculum, how much parental involvement there is in the schools and a plan for evaluating all these things.
A large section of the document also concentrated on grants and funds for various kinds of programs ranging from improving the academic achievement for the disadvantaged to substance abuse prevention.
Carbon School District is particularly affected by socio-economic factors because figures show that over 40 percent of the students who go to school in the district come from families that are considered to be living in poverty. This can be seen in the amount of free and reduced lunch that is served in the district. At one elementary school, virtually all the students are served free lunch.
After the presentation, the board voted to allow the administration to submit the report, which is a requirement of the submission process.
The board also took up the issue of drivers education fees on Wednesday night as well.
Up until this year, Carbon District has been charging $70 for a student who wanted to take drivers training and $85 for home school and adult students. However that policy has led to not only a short fall in funds, but also, because of its low cost, has attracted out of area people to come to the district to get their training.
"We actually have people from Vernal coming here to take drivers training," said Superintendent David Armstrong. "We haven't raised this in three years and with the cost of fuel, insurance and salaries our costs have escalated."
The board then voted to raise the fees for regular students to $80 beginning next year. As for non-students the board voted to raise the fees to $190 immediately.
The board also voted to allow Sally Mauro Elementary to charge $25 per child who wants to participate in the Sally Mauro Singers group after school. There was some question about whether the singers are an actual school program or an extra curricular program. It was decided that they fall outside the realm of the school program, so the fee could be charged.