Two new board members for Westwood Unified seated at December meeting


The Westwood Unified School District Board of Trustees held its organizational meeting for 2017 Wednesday, Dec. 14. Two new members joined the board, Patty Bennett and Emily Heffley.

Jodie Gunn was named president of the board, Bennett board clerk and Pam Pettengill the board representative. Dawn Lee was absent from the meeting.

The board of trustees will continue to meet the third Wednesday of the month.

During the meeting Courtney Russell, the chief business officer, presented information on the 2016-17 First Interim Report. The report reflects the fiscal changes that have occurred since the previously adopted budget. Two interim reports are required each fiscal year.

In a summary Russell wrote: “The fiscal operating environment for districts seems to be steadier. Minimal revenue growth with Local Control Funding Formula is projected in 2017/18 and 2018/19.” She also wrote increasing costs for the district for the projected years are declining enrollment, rate increases for employee retirement funds and health and welfare increases.

The board voted to approve the first interim report. It also approved budget transfers required for the balancing of accounts as well as the Local Control Funding Formula calculations for the 2016-17 first interim report. The recommended reserve level for the district at this time is $131,728.

Also approved at the December meeting was the College Readiness Block Grant Plan. The district created a plan for 2016-17 on how the $75,000 will be spent; who will provide the services; and how the services will be measured.

The services for this block grant are:

•A-G course coordination for submission to University of California/provided by staff and teachers/measured by the A-G approved course list and enrollment in courses.

•Transcript review and evaluation for graduation requirements and A-G requirements/provided by staff/measured by transcript requirements and graduation rate.

•Online college prep classes/provided by teachers and staff/measured by advanced placement and online classes with grade of C+ or higher.

•Financial aid-free application for federal student aid, scholarship writing and submission advisory/provided by counselor and teacher/measured by sign-in sheets and submission rates.

•Advising college/provided by counselor and teacher/measured by sign-in sheets, monthly meeting with students to ensure progress and knowledge in college requirements.

•Scholastic Aptitude Test prep classes/provided by teachers and staff/measured by sign-in sheets and record sample test results for areas of improvement.

•College placement testing/provided by staff and teachers/measured by Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test and Scholastic Aptitude Test.

•Updated technology/computers for science, technology, engineering and math/provided by teachers/measured by state testing and class grades.

•Professional development for staff on college prep and readiness/measured by attendance and comprehension of training as well as number of staff attending.

Superintendent Randy Bobby reported teachers held student forums to get input on how to improve learning by reducing inappropriate behavior in the classroom. Cassie Strand, the ag and science teacher for Westwood High School said most students wanted to learn and did not like the interruptions from a few undisciplined students. Also, students expressed a desire to change some of the school rules, such as the prohibition of food and beverages in the classroom.

The board approved allocating funds in 2017 to board training. All agreed they would like to attend training at workshops sponsored by the California School Boards Association.

The next meeting of the board of trustees for the Westwood Unified School District is Wednesday, Jan. 18.