LASD board discusses grants, budget

School Roundup

The Los Altos School District Board of Trustees heard a report on more than 30 grants for district programs at last week's meeting.

Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Dick Liewer itemized the curriculum-related grants which the district office applied for and/or supports during the 2000-2001 school year.

Grant amounts range from the largest single grant, the SIP (Site Improvement Program) at $328,216, to a Los Altos-Mountain View Challenge Team grant, which matches Los Altos School District costs of $540, for Red Ribbon Week pencils.

Each of the more than 30 grants required a formal proposal, up to 40 pages long. Liewer's office is responsible for submitting the proposals and implementing a rigorous accounting procedure to assure that all requirements are met and documented.

"There is lots of money with lots of strings attached all over the state," Liewer said. Although the grant funds are categorical and therefore designated for specific uses, that money frees district general funds to be applied where needed.

The largest independent contribution to school programs comes from the Los Altos Educational Foundation with a gift of $600,000 this school year. LAEF money supplements many important district programs.

In other board news, Randy Kenyon, assistant superintendent for business services, presented a multi-year projection of the general fund to allow board members a preview of the final budget which will be on the Dec. 11 agenda.

The county Board of Education requires that each school district provide a three-year balanced budget.

In order to bring the budget back into balance (including a 3 percent level of reserves), the district will need to find additional revenues and/or make program cuts equal to $750,000. Some one-time funds, such as special education mandated costs settlement monies, school site block grants and API performance incentives, which are not precisely defined as yet, will help with the budget imbalance this year.

Kenyon explained that changes from the earlier projections reflected lower than expected enrollment growth, loss of revenue from day-care centers at Covington and salary increases for the teachers and classified employees.

In response to concern from board members, Kenyon said, "We (staff) will provide an action plan next month so that you can qualify and certify a balanced budget and not receive a negative certification from the county."

Dave McNulty, director of facilities construction and program director for the LASD Facilities Modernization Program announced the team which has begun the inspection of all the Los Altos school sites: structural, Biggs Cardosa Associates; electrical, Pete O. Lapid and Associates; mechanical and plumbing, Pete O. Lapid and Associates and Systems Plumbing; roof, Lin Meinhardt; data/voice/video, Wendy Pinos, JasNet Consulting; landscape, Beals Group; contractor, Farshid Samsami; estimating, Tony Kanastab Consulting; termite/dry rot inspection, Killroy Pest Control; and architectural and coordination, Gelfand RNP.

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