January 25, 2017
Dear Loma and CT Families:
School Finance – Dull, but Important
Until I win the lottery, money is never fun to talk about this time of year. School funding generally runs in cycles. There are lean years, followed by better years, followed by lean years and so forth. As a small, “Basic Aid/Community Funded” school district, the majority of our resources come from local property taxes. The last few years have seen gains in local property tax revenue for schools as the economy rebounded and the housing market recovered. We have now seen the market slow and the pent up demand quiet down. Our local revenues are no longer growing as they did in the previous cycle.
As we continue to add new families moving into the district, there is no automatic state aid to support increased enrollment. It’s like the family dinner table – you make room for one more and serve from what you have. The pizza gets cut into ever narrowing slices. This is the primary reason we generally don’t accept transfer students from other districts. Local tax dollars should be spent to educate local students.
Though a small part of our budget, contributions from the state have been a welcome source of “one-time” funds based on our average daily attendance (ADA - this is when attendance really matters to the bottom line). These targeted funds have helped us invest in infrastructure, classroom technology, temporary class size reduction measures, curricular materials, and more. We use “one-time” money to fund “one-time” costs. From a high of $530/ADA in 2015-16, to half that this year, we anticipate a drop to $48/ADA next year. This represents a drop from $253,494 in 15-16 to 22,700 in 17-18.
The news actually gets worse. Typically, costs go up every year, but there are now new extraordinary costs being passed on to schools by the legislature at a time when our minimal state support is dropping to new lows. Employer contributions to “statutory costs” (unemployment insurance, disability, pension costs, etc.) are rising quickly and are expected to rise to $.30 on the dollar. These are mandated costs with no associated funding to support them. These must be funded with local revenue. Added to this is the uncertainty of our partnership with Lakeside to educate their middle school students. We are struggling, but they are struggling even more.
There remains good news in that we have parcel tax revenue assured for the next several years. At a fixed rate of $314 per parcel exempting seniors and contiguous parcels, this funding buys less and less each year as costs naturally escalate. Our list of “wishes” continues to grow (new fields, more electives, music, art, smaller upper grade class sizes, more library hours, band instruments, and so on) but our revenues do not. This year, for the first time in a while, we are facing contraction in our programs and supports. While no decisions have been made yet, tough decisions lay ahead and your input is important to our processes. I promise to keep you posted.
The Loma Public Education Fund’s KEEP Campaign underwrites many of our “extras” which aren’t really extra (K-8 music, PE at Loma, our libraries, enrichment options, student supports, expanded topics including art and STEM at the middle school). We need your input NOW on the funding priorities. We will need your help SOON to fund a robust campaign that will keep the programs (and people) we cherish. If you have not already done so, please participate in the priority setting process for next year by following this link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/r/T9JYR2D
Your voice will help sculpt the tiers in which our “extras” are funded. Your contributions will help ensure we don’t lose great programs and great people.
Without a partnership with parents, our small schools would never be as strong as they are. As I often say, “We are small but enthusiastic!” We value solid academics as well as educating beyond the basics. Thanks for learning about how your tax dollars work and weighing in on where your personal investments can best meet the needs of all students.
For more information, please see the attached LPEF flyer.
Kids and Cars in the Parking Lots
I love the neighborhood sign that reads, “Drive like your kids live here.” We need one that says, “Drive like your kids go to school here.” We also need one that reads, “Keep track of your kids in this parking lot like you would in town.” We had a parent report a near miss of two small kids running from the lower lot across to the Loma playground unattended at drop off. I saw two very young kids playing unattended at the edge of the lower lot and the pavement in the afternoon. Kids are impulsive and often unfamiliar with traffic. We have literally hundreds of cars through our lots each day. Add to that bad weather, reduced visibility, construction traffic, public meetings, parents from other schools – often driving the wrong way – in our lots for sporting events, etc. Maybe one more sign is in order: “Slow drivers and cautious parents save lives.” Thank you for driving slowly and accompanying your kids in the parking lots.
Theatre In The Mountains Presents:
Theatre in the Mountains’ upcoming Shining Stars production of Wonderland High celebrates the humor and creativity of Lewis Carroll in a rather unusual high school where the tough boys are on the croquet team, the school store sells much more than pens and paper, and things get curiouser and curiouser! Directed by Arindam Krishna Das, the show features student performers in grades six through eight, a lively score, and energetic choreography by Lanie Iannucci. Watch as the new boy at school makes friends, learns to stand up for himself, and helps the students of Wonderland High rise above the cliques that divide them.
Come enjoy a night of Community Theater. Performances will be on Friday, February 10, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, February 11, at 1 and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, February 12, at 1 p.m. Tickets are on sale now - http://www.theatreinthemountains.org/box-office
Attention, 8th Graders and Parents!
Every year the Los Gatos High School Leadership Class hosts an Electives Faire before our annual “8th Grade Welcome Night” so that incoming students have the chance to explore different elective classes open to them at LGHS. We would like to invite you to this year’s Electives Faire and Welcome Night which both take place on Tuesday, January 31, from 5:30 – 8:15 PM, starting at 5:30 in the LGHS library.
The Electives Faire will run from 5:30 – 7, followed by the Welcome Night festivities and presentation, which will take place from 7 - 8:15 PM in the Large Gym. At the Electives Faire, you may visit classrooms, meet electives teachers, and talk to some of the students who currently take those classes.
Also, during the Electives Faire, the Leadership class as a school fundraiser will sell LGHS t-shirts and sandwiches. For more information and to pre-order a sandwich or sandwiches, please look at the flyer HERE. Or you may click on the following link to go the order form:
Thank you so much!
LGHS Leadership Students
An updated freshman enrollment calendar is attached so students and parents can see important events at LGHS.
Eighth Grade Parents,
The Los Gatos High School 8th Grade Parent Visitation Day is Friday, February 3. The tour times are 8:15, 8:45, 10:15 and 12:30. The tours are lead by parent volunteers and Leadership students. Each tour is approximately 45 minutes, followed by a brief presentation from the Guidance Department.
Parents are asked to meet at the LGHS main entrance and arrive 15 minutes prior to the tour.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Cheetah Fun Night Off the Mountain
Don’t miss out on the ice this Friday. The Cheetah skate event has become one of the kids’ favorites. Don’t let your kids miss out on the fun cooling off and hanging with friends. You don’t even have to get cold! See the attached flyer for all the details.
Wild Times @ CT English MS
Early Release EVERY Wednesday @ 1:30 pm
1/27/17 CT Science Fair in the Gym
1/27/17 Quarter 2 report cards hand carried home by students
1/27/17 CT Skate Night at Sharks Ice
2/1/17 LGHS incoming Freshman Course Pathways Info Session 4pm LGHS Theatre
2/1/17 LGHS New Tech Info Night 5pm LGHS Theatre
(See attached for updated Freshman Calendar)
2/3/17 LGHS Parent Visitation Day 8:15 Main Hallway
Feb 6-9 Wonderland High Tech Week
2/8/17 CT HSC Mtg. 8:30 shared portable offices
2/10/17 LGHS Counselors and Leadership at CT to enroll 8th graders into classes.
Please make sure your 8th grader brings their course enrollment form to school!
Feb 10-12 Wonderland High in the Gym see TIM website for show times.
2/16/17 Math Night in the Loma Forum 6:30
2/17/17 CT Movie Night Loma Forum 7-9pm
Feb 20-24 February Break-NO SCHOOL