Dennis P Walsh

Dennis P Walsh SVUSD School Board - 2018

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Here are some terms helpful for all parents and voters to understand

Common Core. Common core is an initiative to provide common curriculum for all US states, designed to get all students at the same educational level.  Common code teaches students HOW to think, and not just memorize facts. Many parents do not like or want common core in our schools because it is different, new, and confusing to many people. Common core is now state law and its implementation is mandatory. The school district cannot change the curriculum; it can only be changed by an act of legislature in Sacramento. 

LCFF - Local Control Funding Formula. Not that long ago, schools received a basic grant for each student. In addition to that basic grant, schools received money that was restricted to specific categories. We would receive money for class size reduction, for new text books, etc. That money could only be used for the purpose it was given to us. If we didnít need textbooks, but needed something else, we could not use any of the money for anything but textbooks. The list of categoricals grew longer every year. The state, being in control of the money, wanted to make sure it was used the way they thought was needed. Governor Brown changed that so now we get a base grant that includes many of the Categorical grants we received before, but gives the local school district the control as to how they want to spend the money. This gives us much more control of how to best use the money within our school district. It also gives additional money for students who are English language learners, socioeconomically disadvantaged, and for foster children.  Governor Brown did this because it takes more resources (money) to educate students in those classifications.

Prop 98. Proposition 98 was passed in 1988. It created a formula as to the MINIMUM funding education will receive from the state. Because of Proposition 13, other propositions, and court rulings, local property taxes were not enough to pay for local schools. So basically the state took over funding for education. But as the state budget went up and down, so did funding for education. In order to keep funding from bouncing up and down, Prop 98 was passed to create laws as to how much education would receive in good times and bad times. It did allow our budgets to go down, but not as much as before, and if that happened, the state would be required to make it up to us. Unfortunately, this funding formula became the ceiling, and not the floor. Legislators would say to us, what are you complaining about, Prop 98 is fully funded! Yes, we were receiving the absolute minimum required by law from the state.

ADA. This is average daily attendance. We receive money from the state based on how many students are in school each day. We are not funded based on our enrollment. Even though we have to provide the same number of teachers, the same number of staff, the same number of administrators, use the same amount of utilities, we get less money for every student that is absent. Our legislators in Sacramento were outraged that schools would receive money for people who were not there, and as incentive to improve attendance rates, we are paid by attendance. This might make sense when your attendance rates are 80%. Those school have a problem. But when your attendance rates are above 97%, it is just ridiculous. There are going to be people who are sick and should not come to school, or for many other reasons. There are no acceptable reasons for being absent in terms of our funding. We lose millions of dollars each year because of this.

Basic aid district. - Each School district is funded at a certain level. If the local property taxes are not enough to pay for that level of funding, the state makes up the difference. If the property taxes are more than enough to cover the state funding level, the state doesnít have to make up the difference. In fact, the school district can keep the extra money. The local district will receive just basic aid that all the districts would receive, but not any funding to cover for inadequate property taxes in that district. That is great if you are in one of those districts, and I do not want to take anything from them. The result are that funding in affluent areas is much higher than other areas. There are several school districts in Orange County that have significantly more funds to spend on their students than we do here at SVUSD. That extra money can be used to increase salaries, and fund more programs.

Total Compensation. This is the total of all the costs the school district pays for an employee. It includes their salary, any taxes the school district has to pay the federal and state government, and the cost of benefits. When you receive your paycheck, you think about how much you are making. When the school district is putting their budget together, they have to consider the sum of all the employees total compensation. Total compensation is about 85% of our expenses in a year. That is a big percentage.  When the school district receives more money from Sacramento in a year.  But almost all our expenses go up from year to year, so it does not leave as much for salaries as we like to have.

Ongoing Money and one time money. The school district receives a certain amount of money for each student. From year to year, we may receive more money. Ongoing money is funding that will continue in the future. One time money is money the school district receives just for that year. I do not want to give permanent raises based on one time money, because we might not receive it next year. But I might give the employees a one time increase, but it does not increase the salaries in their salary schedule, and they will not receive that money next year. An employee will receive more money that year than the previous year, but it is not considered a raise.

Step and column. This is used to reward employees for years of service, and additional education. As a teacher reaches certain years of service, they will receive more money from then on. The same is true for education. As teachers receive more credit for classes, and or receive additional degrees, they will receive more money each year for those accomplishments. This additional money is received regardless of whether or not teachers are receiving a permanent raise for the year. In other words, the salary schedule for each level has been increased. It only applies to teachers.

Waste, fraud and abuse. When I would go up to Sacramento to advocate for our schools, our "representatives" would tell me that we would have plenty of money if we got rid of the "waste, fraud, and abuse". This is something they say to try and distract you from your agenda.  There are some very large school districts in our state, which have a lot of money pass through them.  There have been cases where there were some problems. But this is what I would call painting with a broad brush.  There are over 1,000 school districts in California, and just because a few have problems, doesn't mean they all will have problems.  We do not waste money.  When you only have a little money, it is pretty easy to keep track of it.  We do not have enough money, and anyone who tells you we do is probably uninformed, or a politician.

Transparency.  This refers to not hiding things from the public.  Doing things without anyone knowing what you are doing.  We do not hide anything.  Everything that is done by the school district can be accessed by a public records request (except personnel matters). Now honestly, we don't have a town crier who stand in front of the school district and tells the public every little thing we do, but there are so many checks and balances, and audits, and controls that I feel we are being transparent.  As a School Board member, I do not want to hide anything from the public.  I am there to represent the public.  In this day and age, it is very hard to keep a secret a secret.


Paid by Committee to Reelect Dennis P Walsh to SVUSD School Board 2018 - FPPC #1371732

25422 Trabuco Rd., Ste. 105A1, Lake Forest, CA 92630

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Last modified: 10/08/18