Eye of the Tiger

District budgets for windfall

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BY SAM MAILEY
[email protected]

In the coming school years, Roseville High School could see additional Chromecarts, updated campus security features, roofing upgrades and the installation of reclaimed water pipelines.

The state’s obligation to reimburse school districts across California is granting Roseville Joint Union High School District $9 million from a plan called “one-time funding.”

The money has been split to improve or update each of the five categories: technology, safety, deferred maintenance, professional development and environmental and conservation efforts.

Technology and site flexibility Although the funding is being distributed to the district to decide where and how much is given to each site, $100,000 of the total $1,700,000 is going to be given to RHS’ Project Lead The Way program.

The money is planned for startup funds to purchase necessary equipment such as computers, audio-video systems, projectors, and TV’s.

Because $1,080,000 of the funds are going toward increasing computer access at each school, 12 Chromecarts will be added to the 16 Chromecarts already being used at RHS.

These additions won’t give each teachers full-time access to their own Chromebooks, but it will allow them to plan class days with Chromebooks more reliably.

“They might get two teachers and have them partner up and say ‘okay you guys share the carts’ so they can work it out, maybe one has it in the morning and one in the afternoon,” RJUHSD director of technology Tony Ham said. “It gives them a lot more flexibility.”

Moreover, the current average tech budget of $143 per student will be increased by $50 for the 2015-2016 school year to spend on technology-based needs.

The budget increase is more lenient for schools to spend, as student needs aren’t always specific.

“Each site manages their own money and what they buy, which puts them in slightly different areas of need,” Ham said. “And they’re left to purchase what they feel is their biggest need.”

Ham sees RHS putting the money towards upgrading desktop computers, AV systems and other “eclectic needs.”
“[RHS] can actually start down that road towards modernizing,” Ham said.

Safety

Upgrades to come from the safety budget also include the installation of Columbine door locks, which allow classroom doors to be locked and unlocked from the inside in case of an emergency. The locks improve safety, as staff won’t be required to open their doors to lock them during lockdowns.

Along with radio upgrades and new door locks, $250,000 is going to be given to buying surveillance systems to be set up at each school in the district.
Each site is anticipating two cameras to be installed, one in the quad and one in a parking lot, in an effort to deter vandalism.

Assistant principal Jon Coleman believes the number of cameras is far below what would be needed to be effective, and the layout of RHS’ campus will make it difficult for the quad camera to be effective, but appreciates the district’s efforts to secure campuses.

“Something is better than nothing,” Coleman said. “Happy to have something.”

Staff radios around RHS were recently upgraded, which allow for longer distance communication.

Already, RHS youth service officer Carlos Cortes sees how the new radios could be effective in patrolling RHS’ surrounding locations compared to the old radios, which sometimes required cell phone communication from staff if out of range from each other.

“I can be out by Woodbridge park or out where a lot of kids hang out by the crooked bridge or across the street, I can still copy the radio traffic from the school, so if something were to happen I could race back to the school,” Cortes said.

This upgrade hasn’t come out of the one-time funding budget for safety improvements of $100,000, but Coleman expects to be reimbursed for the purchase of radios with the funds.

Deferred maintenance

With $4 million of the funding going to deferred maintenance, the school aims to improve school roofs and upgrade fields to meet Title IX standards.
Although the money might also cover roofing projects throughout the district, RJUHSD superintendent Ron Severson understands that $4 million to deferred maintenance isn’t going to accomplish their full list of improvements.

“We have a deferred maintenance need that’s about $60 million,” Severson said.

On top of the $4 million headed towards facilities maintenance projects, $300,000 is going to be designated to upgrading or replacing outdated classroom desks and chairs throughout the district.

Environmental conservation efforts

RHS will be working with the Roseville cemetery to install a reclaimed water pipeline that will use reclaimed water to take care of landscape needs. In total, RHS is expecting to see $250,000 for environmental and conservation efforts.

Reclaimed water is going to be more cost-effective than using the same water for drinking fountains to water the grass, as it’s cheaper per gallon.
“The cost for that water is substantially less than what we pay for domestic water now,” RJUHSD director of maintenance, operations and transportation Brian Gruchow said. “So we’re going to hopefully be putting that together.”

Woodcreek High School is in a process of installing a similar system of reclaimed water usage, connecting to a reclaimed water pipeline.
The line that RHS is looking to connect with was found after planning for Woodcreek’s construction.

“We knew we had the line over at Woodcreek for it, but we weren’t aware until just recently that the [cemetery] line is relatively close to Roseville High School,” Gruchow said.

An estimated $250,000 will fund two additional liquid propane gas school buses.

The buses are not as fuel-efficient as traditional diesel buses, but require less maintenance and as a result are more cost-effective.

“The fuel is substantially cheaper than diesel, and you don’t get the same fuel mileage you do from diesel,” Gruchow said. “But the offset from the cost is still a substantial saving from fuel costs.”

LPG buses are not only more cost effective, but have less environmental impact.

“It’s a cleaner burning fuel, so you’re doing the right thing for the environment,” Gruchow said.
“It substantially reduces your carbon footprint.”

According to Gruchow, the buses aren’t going to be assigned to any specific school, but are going to be used for transporting special needs students.

Professional development

This year is the last year before teachers’ contracts require teacher workdays, and $910,000 is going to be spent on extending the workdays for the next two school years, as well.

Additionally, $300,000 is going toward efforts to help teachers in certain AP classes obtain master’s degrees in their subjects.

RJUHSD hopes that this will make the teachers’ courses honored for college credit by community colleges regardless of scores on AP exams.
The program would take around three years to put into full effect, and will be completely optional to teachers.

The funding is only intended to partially pay for teachers’ ways, according to Byrd, and the teachers are expected to contribute as well.

“You have to be willing to give up the time and you have to be willing to pay the fees, but the district is willing to come in with this one-time money and pay a portion of the fees associated with getting a degree,” Byrd said.

The district is looking to bring professors to high school campuses to teach the classes.

“They’re going to try and bring the instructors out here and do it at the district or at one of the schools to make it a little more user friendly or more convenient,” Byrd said.

Unstructured funds

Along with the tech sites’ budget per student increase, another $530,000 is being added to schools’ budgets.

RHS principal David Byrd consulted with staff regarding their ideas of what student needs should be tended to with the extra money, but hasn’t come upon any specific target yet.

“You want to invest it in something that you can have and utilize for a while,” Byrd said.

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