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Hot Topics for the Regular Board of Trustees for 10/11/22

We want to help you better understand the upcoming issues the WCSD Board of Trustees will be discussing this week. Take a minute to review these agenda items so that you are prepared to submit a public comment or attend the meeting and make a public comment.

There are 5 Consent Agenda Items.

Consent Agenda

2.02 $124,455 - Approval of the City of Reno, Parks and Recreation Department Sierra Kids to provide staff to supervise students during the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC)/Team Up after-school programs at Alice Smith Elementary School, Desert Heights Elementary School, Elmcrest Elementary School, Dorothy Lemelson Elementary School, and Stead Elementary School.

2.03 $1,124,550 - Approval of the Service Agreement with Enome, Inc. (Goalbook) to purchase 900 Goalbook Toolkits using American Rescue Plan (ARP) Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

It seems we keep going through various Special Education “life lines” that promise to “fix” our out of compliant Special Ed program. What about the other “programs” that we’ve purchased and discarded? Where is the accountability for the money and the programs year after year?

Parents, once again, we see the contract verbiage where "the district may act as the parent's agent and can consent to the collection of students PII on the parent’s behalf". Concern with this same issue was raised on 9/13/22 by Trustee Nicolet when reviewing the contract language with Paper Education Co. At what point will parents/guardian consent be completely mute? Are you aware of all the avenues in which information about your child is being shared and/or distributed via programs used by the WCSD?

2.04 $984,916 - Approval of the Microsoft 365 A3 Volume Licensing 3-Year Agreement for the term of November 1, 2022 through October 31, 2025, and payment for Fiscal Year 2023.

2.05 Approval the appointment of Manuela Strunk as the parent/guardian representative to the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association (NIAA) Board of Control from the Washoe County School District, with a term ending June 30, 2023.

2.06 Approval of the use of the Office of the General Counsel, pursuant to Board Policy 9165, to represent the Washoe County School District Board of Trustees for Open Meeting Law purposes at meetings of the Board of Trustees and Board Policy Committee, as well as other advice requested by Trustees pursuant to Board Policy 9165, beginning October 12, 2022.

Total of $2.2 Million in Listed Consent Items

Items for Presentation, Discussion and/or Action

3.01 $91,000 - Presentation to the Board of Trustees on the use of Pinyon Public Affairs, LLC to provide strategic consultation and government relations services for the Washoe County School District for the 2023 Nevada Legislative Session. The total cost of the agreement for 1 year is $91,000 and will be paid from the General Fund. Note: The consulting services agreement with Pinyon began on Oct 1, 2022.

Why is this “Informational Only”? When and who made this decision to hire this Lobbying firm? There is no previous action listed so it is a bit perplexing as to who determined WCSD has a need for this and how this “agreement” came to be.

Pinyon Public Affairs, LLC is a public affairs firm comprised of registered government lobbyists. Do we not already have a paid WCSD Lobbyist - Lindsay Anderson, Director, Government Affairs?

4.01 Loss of per pupil funding of $7,281,400. This is due to a decrease in enrollment count of 995 in weighted enrollment* based on Week 4 of this school year (2022-23). Presentation and discussion regarding the fiscal and staffing implication related to the enrollment count for the fiscal year 2022-23 District budget and possible action to consider, approve, and/or amend proposed budget recommendation totaling $7.28 million (for possible action).

The Board of Trustees will receive information related to the District’s enrollment count for Fiscal Year 2022-23 (FY23) and the fiscal and staffing impacts to Washoe County School District. The District’s enrollment decreased on a weighted basis by 995, thus necessitating reductions to allocations and other cost reductions, as noted below.

FINANCIAL: As noted below, the District receives per pupil funding based on a weighted enrollment count. Applying the decrease of 995 in weighted enrollment based on the Week 4 count to the District’s per pupil funding of $7,318 results in an anticipated loss of funding of $7,281,400. Overall, the enrollment decrease will result in a reduction of 20 teacher allocations.

Budget Recommendations

The reduction of 20 teacher allocations results in a savings of $1.68 million, or 23% of the total funding loss of $7.28 million. The Office of Business and Finance has identified solutions to cover the remaining $5.6 million in reduced revenue. These solutions are:

  • In August, after the FY23 budget process was completed, the State provided the District with a final estimate for its FY23 State Special Education Revenue. That amount was $451,000 above the estimate in the FY23 budget, resulting in a decrease to the General Fund transfer to the Special Education Fund, and therefore a General Fund savings.

  • The District has available At-Risk Funding through the Pupil Centered Funding Plan to shift certain Social Worker and Building Learning Facilitator costs from the General Fund to the At-Risk Fund.

  • With the reassignment of a number of Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSAs) to classroom positions in FY23, in order to fill critical teacher vacancies, the District has 26 vacant TOSA positions. While some departments have requested to use the savings from these positions to find other ways to provide services to schools, freezing vacant TOSA positions will help close the funding gap. However, this is a 1-year solution to these ongoing reduced revenues.

Interesting to note the District’s reasoning for decreased enrollment is cost of living increase in WCSD. While we acknowledge this could definitely be the reason some families have left WCSD, there is no mention of or data on parents’ intentionally leaving WCSD seeking other educational options for their children such as charter schools, private schools, and homeschooling. Has there been no consideration, reflection, or acknowledgement that perhaps parents are simply fed up with the state of WCSD?

Regarding the three options for identified solutions to cover the 5.6 million in reduced revenue. We strongly believe the reassignment of the 26 TOSA positions - placing those teachers back in the classroom where they are needed the most was, although difficult for the teachers involved, the best and clearly most logical decision to address our critical teacher shortage. We should demand that EVERY child in WCSD has a highly qualified, certified teacher instead of a long-term sub with the current minimum requirements of a high school diploma, NO college credits, and no classroom experience. Our children deserve better! We applaud Superintendent Enfield for making this decision and would encourage these vacant positions to be permanently eliminated. Ensuring that ALL positions have a DIRECT and IMMEDIATE impact on student learning should be a continuous focus. This decision of placing teachers in positions where they are needed most, supports Superintendent Enfield’s Entry Plan’s top priority, of getting back to basics.

5.01 Presentation and discussion regarding the grant application to the Nevada Department of Education related to Assembly Bill (AB) 495, from the 2021 Nevada Legislative Session, American Rescue Plan: Addressing the Impact of Learning Loss and Closing Funding Gaps for $30,679,887.67.

Salaries and benefits included in this grant total $10,154,540 for approximately 92 full-time equivalents (FTEs) for core, intervention, Special Education (SPED) teachers, Building Learning Facilitators, school counselors, crisis and substance abuse counselors, mental health administrators, Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) Specialists, Children in Transition (CIT) Liaisons, re-engagement specialist, attendance officers, campus monitors, Native American graduation advocate, family graduation advocates, and classroom aides and assistants. If grant funding were to end, these positions would likely be eliminated.

Funds obtained under this application must be obligated by December 31, 2024 and expended by December 31, 2026.

5.02 Presentation, discussion, and possible action to approve the 2022/23 “A” Major Projects program that includes projects throughout the WCSD pursuant to the attached list of program projects and associated costs for each project in the amount of $3,000,000 as recommended by the Capital funding Project Committee (For possible action).

A new elementary school in the north Sparks/Spanish Springs area was anticipated in the Fiscal Year 2023-27 5-year Capital Improvement Plan and continues to be anticipated to be needed to address continued enrollment growth in the new Stonebrook Development. The District currently owns a 10.4-acre parcel at Assessor Parcel Number 528-030-70, which was purchased in 2018 with the intention of constructing a future elementary school there.

The District opened John C. Bohach Elementary School nearby in August 2020. The school has been very successful and has seen steady enrollment growth. Currently, the enrollment at Bohach is in excess of 800 students which is over capacity. Two portables were relocated to Bohach in Summer 2022 to temporarily address this need, while design and construction on a permanent additional school can proceed.

Staff intends to return to the CFPC and Board of Trustees in Fall 2023 for consideration to proceed with construction, depending on actual enrollments. Should construction proceed at that time, anticipated opening of a new elementary school at this location would be August 2025.

5.05 Presentation to update the Board of Trustees on the Entry Plan for Dr. Susan Enfield, to include system changes to better focus on Specialized Instruction and possible action to approve position changes and costs (for possible action).

In reviewing and analyzing organizational structures and gathering input, Superintendent Enfield recommends a necessary system change to better focus on specialized instruction. This change will split the current role of one of the Area Superintendents (Area 5 & Special Education) into two separate positions—an Area Superintendent (Area 5), which will focus on support of schools like the other area superintendents, and a new position, Associate Chief of Teaching and Learning, Specialized Instruction. This change supports a more focused approach to teaching and learning practices to improve student learning outcomes, especially for our student populations who are experiencing the greatest academic disparities.

The approximate cost of the position of Associate Chief of Teaching and Learning, Specialized Instruction is $205,000. Funding for this position will be covered in Fiscal Year 2022-23 from the District’s General Fund Contingency Account, with the ongoing cost of this position built into the budget process for the District’s Fiscal Year 2023-24 General Fund Budget.

*This year, the District’s total enrollment based on the fourth weekly count was 61,130. Overall, this is 1,027 less than budgeted, which was 62,157. The State weights pre-kindergarten (pre-K) students at 0.6, so on a weighted basis, this is 995 students less than budgeted.

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