Led by Sue Sherwood, superintendent and principal of Three Rivers Union School, the board of trustees gathered at a special meeting Wednesday, June 22, to finalize budget plans. Members present were Valerie Abanathie, George Kulick, and Scott Sherwood. Absent were Sue Winters and Jason Hawes.
A modernization project with a budget of $1.4 million is underway. Several buildings are proposed to be modified over the next few years.
The most urgent priority is re-roofing the McDowall Auditorium, the school’s gymnasium/cafeteria/multi-purpose building. Repairs have been needed for several years, and the damage is greater than previously estimated.
At the meeting, the board determined that more specific lists of equipment used and labor needed will be required. The technical knowledge and experience of board members Scott Sherwood, general contractor, and George Kulick, retired civil engineer, will be advantageous as work progresses.
After the gym roof is repaired, new industrial heating and cooling systems will be installed, with a price tag of $80,000. Although the gym will be closed for the duration of the project — meaning no weekly recreation volleyball or other programs this summer — it could be reopen again as soon as September.
The next phase of modernization is to overhaul the entire junior high wing on the easternmost end of the school campus.
“The roofing project is a first phase of our modernization,” explained Sue. “We simply couldn’t wait because of the condition of the roof. We should have done it five years ago but kept hoping the funding would come through. It will be good when it is done. Then we can tackle everything else.”
In an interview after the meeting, TRUS teacher Isaac Warner explained that the school makes sacrifices to have single-grade classrooms with small class sizes.
“This is unheard of in education, and it takes some compromises to make it happen,” he said. “Research shows small class sizes and face-to-face interaction have a large impact on learning. TRUS is able to excel at both due to prioritizing their importance when making budgetary decisions.”
Two new positions, a “Teacher on Special Assignment with Administrative Duties” and a maintenance position, were discussed and agreed upon. The first will primarily assist Sue Sherwood in her duties as superintendent and principal, since she is also the eighth-grade teacher. The second will focus clean-up and beautification.
All offers of employment have been finalized and grade levels assigned for the next school year. No substantial changes for salaries and benefits were made for 2016-2017. The known expenditures in the proposed budget for the coming school year is $711,227.
The Board also approved the LCAP, or Local Control Accountability Plan, which explains how the school will spend the funding received under the LCFF, the Local Control Funding Formula. The LCFF was enacted in 2013-2014 by the California Board of Education, hoping to improve efficiency of revenue streams for school districts and charter schools.
LCFF replaced a K-12 system in effect for about 40 years and as of this year achieved 90 percent of its funding goals. (For more information, go to www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/lc/lcffoverview.asp.
“Once the state passes a bond measure, they can begin passing out money based on where you are in the line,” said Sue. “It is a long and arduous process and very complex. But I am hopeful it will happen some year soon.”
On Wednesday, July 6, at 6 pm, in the TRUS library, the regular monthly meeting of the board will include a public hearing to receive input on the proposed adoption of a Developer Fee Justification Study and an increase in the statutory school facility fee on new residential and commercial developments in the TRUS District. Members of the public are invited to attend.