Carson City schools adjust tentative fiscal year 2019 budget | NevadaAppeal.com

Carson City schools adjust tentative fiscal year 2019 budget

The Carson City School District announced Tuesday three major changes to its tentative fiscal year 2019 budget that will contribute to the deficit.

Currently, the district stands at a $2.1 million deficit, notably due to the addition of seven teachers, a $1 million updated curriculum and an increase in staffing salaries, said financial director Andrew Feuling.

The district has to submit its tentative budget April 16 to the Department of Taxation and a finalized budget to taxation and the Nevada Department of Education by June 8.

Even with the deficit, the district will still be left with a sizeable reserve.

"We are in a relatively good place," Feuling said.

Feuling presented the first tentative budget to the school board last month, and said many of the numbers have stayed the same including revenue assumptions and expenses. He said the district will see a loss of 8.3 percent from state revenue because of loss of funding for charter schools and the Education Savings Account. This also is coupled with the increase of local revenue by 11.7 percent.

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He said that major impact items also may include revenue from Special Education Aid, and consideration for several competitive state grants, CSR funding and a final per pupil amount. Expected expenditures include up to $230,000 for the School Resource Officer program, $775,000 for technology replacement, $455,000 for seven new teachers and $775,000 for staffing salary increases.

All of those will factor into the final revenue totals for the district.

The board also heard from the district's Public Information Officer Dan Davis on the district's approach to getting parents and families more involved with their students.

Davis told the board, as a part of the district's Strategic Planning meetings, the district created a working document highlighting a variety of actions they want to take to increase that involvement.

One strategy is to release an annual survey in October for families on parent engagement.

"There are a number of surveys done throughout the year and we thought this was a pivotal point where we don't want to inundate everyone but also maintain the effectiveness," Davis said.

Davis and company also produced a quarterly newsletter and an email contact program to keep parents and the community informed on happenings in the district. Davis said nearly 16,000 people signed up for the newsletter, and have produced 87 press releases to the media in the last year — just shy of their 100 release goal.

"It has been tremendously effective … engagement with families has been very informative for families of the great things happening in Carson City," Davis said.

Superintendent Richard Stokes also provided statistics to the board on improvements the district is making with academics related to the superintendent's goals for the 2017-18 school year.

He told the board the district has seen increases in the graduation rate, with the goal of 90 percent of Carson City seniors graduating from high school. In 2016, the district had a graduation rate of 80.3 percent in 2016 and 83.9 percent in 2017. Carson High had a graduation rate of 92 percent in 2017 and Pioneer High School had a graduation rate of 80.9 percent — a 50 percent increase from two years ago.

"We are proud of our students who face college and careers with a good graduating number," Stokes said.

Another one of Stokes' goals was to increase the number of eighth grade students passing algebra 1, with a goal of 70 percent of students passing. In 2016, 32 percent of eighth graders passed algebra 1 and in 2017, 36 percent of students passed.

Stokes credited the increase with the addition of the learner-centered model introduced into the district last year.

One significant goal Stokes said the district achieved is the goal for admittance and retention of quality teachers. He said the district has now raised salaries so it is among the highest paying districts in the state.

"To do extraordinary academic endeavors, we need to hire and keep exceptional teachers," Stokes said. "We live in a time where finding high quality staff and enough of them is difficult."

Several high school students also were honored Tuesday at the meeting for their outstanding efforts in HOSA and FFA.

The Carson High School Health Occupation Students of America took home five chapter awards, one scholarship award and 30 students qualified for the International Leadership Conference last month at the Nevada state championships.

"I am so proud of our students and all of their hard work and dedication to HOSA," said CTE health sciences teacher Kelly Gustafson. "It shines through in all of their work and in the awards they captured at the state conference."

The chapter earned first place for largest chapter in the state with 336 members, the Gold Membership Award for having 95 percent of its total health sciences pathway students enrolled and in good standing with HOSA, the Outstanding HOSA Chapter Scrapbook, HOSA Happenings newsletter award and the National Service Project Award. In addition, senior Hannah Golik won the Linda Lopez scholarship and Crystal Vargas and Barbara Stankute won the Barbra James Service Awards.

Nineteen Carson High Capital Future Farmers of America students received awards at their state conference in March.

The CHS Career and Technical Education students were honored with Best Dressed Chapter Award, first place in Nursery Landscape and second place in Soils Judging.

"Our students work hard all year long to gain or improve the skill sets and knowledge to succeed in agricultural studies," said Charlie Mann, CTE agriculture and natural resources management teacher. "I couldn't be prouder of these students."

More than 550 students statewide competed at the conference in various fields including nursery and landscape planning, marketing and agribusiness management, environmental natural resources, animal management, veterinary science and floriculture and more.

"These kids understand that agriculture is critical to life, beyond the concept of ranching," Mann said. "They understand it's about our food supply, science, business and technologies surrounding plant and animal production as well as environmental and natural resources. These awards only evidence further their comprehension."