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School board OKs Measure D budget revisions

Board members approve 2014-15 kindergarten schedule, bringing a.m./p.m. structure to Twin Creeks Elementary

The San Ramon Valley school board earlier this month approved budget revisions for the Measure D school facilities bond, raising the overall budget by nearly $9 million because of anticipated new revenues.

The $260 million bond, passed by local voters in November 2012, is expected to fund more than three dozen school projects throughout the district.

The school board, at its March 11 meeting in Danville, voted to increase the overall Measure D budget to just over $269 million because of expected interest earnings, $4.3 million in anticipated state funding through Proposition 39 for energy-related projects and $922,910 through a state Green Technology Alternative Energy grant.

Other budget changes included increasing the scope of the Dougherty Valley High School expansion project to feature additional classroom and laboratory space at an estimated cost of about $4.1 million.

In light of the new DVHS expansion price tag and inflationary increases predicted for other projects, the school board downgraded the Monte Vista High School classroom building to the unfunded list.

The MVHS building was lowest on the Measure D contingency project list. It will now be considered unfunded unless additional funds become available.

Board members also accepted the 2012-13 Measure D financial and performance audits prepared by the firm Vavrinek, Trine, Day & Co.

In other business, board members approved the district-wide kindergarten schedule for next school year.

All but one of the 21 elementary schools will maintain their existing kindergarten programs in 2014-15.

San Ramon's Twin Creeks Elementary School is the exception, shifting from a form of extended-day kindergarten to a morning/afternoon (a.m./p.m.) schedule. The change was necessary because of expected enrollment for 2014-15 and space constraints at Twin Creeks, assistant superintendent Jessica Romeo said.

The school's current kindergarten schedule offers students 210 instructional minutes, 10 more than the traditional a.m./p.m. schedule, according to district staff. Twin Creeks was not one of the four elementary schools with an extended K program that afforded kindergarteners an extra 40-55 minutes of instruction time compared to a.m./p.m. classes, according to district staff.

Board members also gave their support to the rationale staff will use when deciding where to place transitional kindergarten (TK) classes in the district.

District officials anticipate offering 18 TK classes next school year, an increase of one compared to this year. The program is not available at every elementary school.

When planning the 2014-15 TK schedule, staff will look to place classes strategically across the district, study program needs at all school sites, allow for growth where needed and pair up TK classes at campuses so teachers can collaborate.

Later in the meeting, the board signed off on a positive certification for the second interim financial report of 2013-14.

The district appears in sound fiscal condition at this point in the school year and is on track to meet its financial obligations through 2015-16, according to the report.

Board members approved new policies pertaining to employee breastfeeding and students who are married, pregnant or already parents. The district previously had no policies specifically addressing those topics.

The board also reviewed staff-recommended updates and revisions to its policy on drug- and alcohol-free workplaces. Final approval is set to be considered during the March 25 board meeting.

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