TRUS Site Council meeting
At the Monday, January 27, meeting of the Three Rivers Union School Site Council, there was a contingent of parents and teachers ready to offer suggestions to cut deficit spending. But something unexpected happened after David Karplus asked for and reviewed the numbers showing the spending of the district’s reserves for the last 10 years.
Only two years of the last decade showed deficit spending. The actual numbers are not easy to understand, Sue Sherwood, TRUS superintendent said, because there are typically unforeseen big-ticket expenses. The district never finalizes the school year’s budget until they receive state funding and that comes after the school year ends.
Sherwood said that she meets several times a year with Tulare County Office of Education representatives… “to see if we are on target.” After a recent annual outside consulting audit the district was told: … “If we did nothing we could probably be okay for the next year and the year after that…”
“There is usually $400,000 to $800,000 in the district reserves at all times,” Sherwood said, “but spending what’s in reserve is not the responsible thing to do.”
Here are some takeaways from Monday’s meeting:
(1) There is an apparent disconnect between budget projections and reality, and more effort needs to be made to help the public understand expenditures.
(2) It costs $100,000 a month for the district to do business and, of those expenditures, 85 percent is allocated to staff.
(3) Combination classrooms should be avoided and, if they are necessary, plans for the next school year (what combos and how many) should be made public before the end of the current school year.
(4) Members of the School Site Council and the audience were in agreement that a full time administrator (superintendent) should be sought to replace Sherwood when she retires.
(5) Teachers should be paid commensurate with what teachers are paid in other nearby districts.
There are inevitable changes coming for the kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school with a current enrollment of 133. The public is encouraged to attend the next regular TRUS board of trustees meeting, which will further report on these issues, scheduled for Wednesday, February 5, 6:30 p.m., in the school library.
Sierra Subs and Salads planning March move
The highly anticipated move of one of busiest and best-known eateries in Three Rivers will have to wait at least a few more weeks to unveil its new location in the former Anne Lang’s Emporium building.
According to Dane Millner, who with his wife, Allison, owns and operates the successful sandwich shop, a two-week closure sometime in March will be necessary so everything can be relocated a few doors down. Dane said there will be a “soft opening” one evening in March where patrons will be able to tour the new facility and get a taste of the new brand and hear all about what’s in store for the near future.
Molly Lawson, owner of Sage Roots organic produce, will also share space under the same roof and unveil her new produce and juice offerings.
Millner said since they opened 10 years ago, the slow season of January and February has been getting shorter in duration.
“We’ve become a destination sandwich stop for valley visitors, and the weekends this time of year are just as busy as in the summer,” Millner said.