By Michael Hernandez
THOUSAND OAKS—The Conejo Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) trustees will hear a report Tuesday at its regular board meting (starting at 6 p.m. at 1402 E. Janss Road) presented by its own budget/LCAP Committee that is recommending that the district drop its remedial summer school program in order to save $300,000.
Four more budget recommendations if adopted could save the district another $250,000 and include: the Fulcrum program ($138,000); dropping Route 25 of the district bus transportation program ($70,000); the Focus on the Arts program ($27,000); and We the People ($15,000) program. The budget committee hopes to maintain similar programs at the school sites for less money.
The budget committee would like district to adopt a remedial program similar to Simi Valley where a charter school offers summer classes to students and offsets its costs through collection of Average Daily Attendance (ADA) funding. CVUSD teachers could still teach the classes and Conejo Valley students would still have a remedial summer program.
The district budget committee hopes that the Fulcrum or “Stand Proud” program could have its lessons and activities incorporated in an alternative program or programs that did not require transportation and would also include students with disabilities. Dropping Route 25 is recommended due to low ridership which translates into a high cost per pupil/trip.
The committee believes that schools that want to run the Focus on the Arts program can do so from their own school budgets, with PTA assistance, or outside support. The district committee also believes that schools should pursue a We The People program at the school site rather than at Cal Lutheran University.
The district budget discussion also includes a capacity (use of school facilities) report. This year, CVUSD have an average K-3 size of 23 students and 30 students for 4-12th grades. These figures are impacted by the number of K-3rd grade students, the number of special education students, and the size of classrooms (a standard size classroom is 960 square feet).
The oldest CVUSD elementary schools are: Conejo Elementary (built 1958), Ladera and Walnut Elementary (1961), Weathersfield Elemntary (1962), Acacia and Glenwood Elementary (1963), Madrona Elementary (1964). The two newest elementary schools are: Sycamore Canyon (2002) and Lang Ranch Elementary (1998). There are 17 CVUSD elementary schools that are built on nine to 15 acreage of land with the majority having 9-10 acres of land.
The highest enrollment is at Lang Ranch Elementary (699 students) and Sycamore Canyon (674 students). The five schools with least enrollments are Conejo Elementary (267 students), Glenwood Elementary (284 students), Walnut Elementary (302 students), Ladera Elementary (312 students), Cypress Elementary (315 students).
The district’s five middle schools are: Colina Middle (1964) with 939 students; Redwood Middle (1966) with 774 students; Sequoia Middle (1969) with 959 students; Los Cerritos Middle (1972) with 957 students; and Sycamore Canyon (2006) with 471 students.
The district’s three high schools: Thousand Oaks High (built in 1961 with 2,048 students); Newbury Park High (built in 1968 with 2,426 students); and Westlake High (built in 1978 with 2,312 students). The district also operates Century Academy (built in 1968 with 144 students) and Conejo Valley High (built in 1977) with 101 students.
Other district sites include: Park Oaks & BRIDGES Charter (built in 1960) with 397 students; MATES Charter (built in 1961 with 396 students); and Triunfo (built in 1976 with an estimated 150 students).
The district offices include: 1400 E. Janss Road (built in 1966); 750 Mitchell Road (built in 1987); and 667 Ranch Conejo Road (built in1985).
More district sites include: The Conejo Valley Adult Education school built in 1960; the University built in 1963, Capitan (359 Capitan Street) built in 1979 and a portion is used by the Conejo Recreation and Park District; Canada (1619 Calle Zocalo) built in 1965 with a portion used by the Conejo Recreation and Park District; and; and Conejo Center Drive (built in 1993) but is now vacant land.
The district budget committee identified what they called must keep services or programs:
- 6E busing @ COL, SEQ; and
- Intervention Programs.
Labeled as essential programs are:
- Class size reduction (K-3, 8th grade Math, and 9-10th grade English Language Arts;
- Clerical staff;
- Coordinators of Instructional Tech & Assessment;
- The Newcomer Program;
- Professional Development;
- Special Education support staff;
- Teen Center Sports; and
- TOSA (Tech:GATE:SPED:Induction).
The budget committee reported that the district’s AVID program cost $99,262 and copy services cost the district $46,389.
Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service; editor of the History Makers Report and founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. He has worked 25 years as a middle school teacher in Monrovia and Los Angeles Unified School Districts. Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected].