Monday, February 23, 2015

SCROC Steps Up (and Setbacks)?

At the SCROC Ad Hoc Budget Committee meeting (Feb 17, 2015), another gentleman and I attended the meeting. I had the brief opportunity to share that there is growing support in the community to keep SCROC open. I also reiterated my hope that the SCROC Board would discussing inviting Wiseburn Unified School District to join the JPA.
Last week's meeting would be the final meeting where key members would discuss the plans moving forward to maintain SCROC.
The members of the Board also discussed their concerns about the long-term viability of Inglewood Unified remaining in the JPA. The other members of the Ad Hoc committee wanted to know an answer as soon as possible, and then there was discussion regarding whether their should be a penalty for school districts who want to opt out of the JPA.
The Superintendent Laurie St. Jean reminded the other members that the previous SCROC Board required a fee from Centinela Valley Union High School District when they wanted out. Superintendent Stephen Keller and RBUSD member Brad Waller informed everyone that perhaps the cost of getting out of SCROC would end up being too great for Inglewood, and they would agree to stay.
All the members respect State Receiver Donald Brann's efforts on behalf of Inglewood Unified, but they also acknowledged the limits of his authority, due to final approval from the state regarding actions he takes with Inglewood Unified's funding.
The board then agreed to present an argument for an amended JPA would request 50% matching funds from participating school districts through their allotted CTE funding, along with including  a provision which would outline the specific fee/penalty should a district choose to exit the JPA.
The Ad Hoc Budget Committee hearings were informative and relevant for all interested in the long-term fate of SCROC, and they certainly informed me of the long-term difficulties which school board trustees grapple with.
Torrance Unified School Board Trustee Michael Wermers shared the following information with me

Career Technical Education—The LAO recommends the Legislature reject the Governor’s $250 million proposal to establish Career Technical Education Grants, noting the proposal is inconsistent with the “principles of the LCFF [Local Control Funding Formula] that provide local flexibility” to school districts on the use of funding and instead recommends the Legislature focus on accountability measures that adequately incentivize schools to offer high-quality CTE programs. The LAO also recommends the Legislature reject the Governor’s proposal to extend the CTE Pathways Grant by an additional year.

I tried to follow through on the link report myself, but only clients are permitted access to the website.

Wermers then commented:

It's not like Brown to lose, but it's obviously not over yet.
Residents in the community generally do not approve of government handouts, and this principle should apply to businesses and corporations as well as individuals.
Welfare-to-work is a welcome program for individuals, and this $250 million grant would require ROC programs like SCROC to devise other means for bringing in appropriate funding.
I have spoken with other SCROC trustees, and they recognize the necessity of a different funding stream. For now, because the massive shift from steady funding through the state to another means of appropriations, the $250 million grant would give the ROC programs enough time to shift gears.
One proposal offered by community members would permit SCROC to come under  the administration of El Camino College. Barbara Lucky on the SCROC Board countered that such a proposal would shift the focus of the Career tech programs away from high school students, since community colleges cater primarily to post-high school students.
The grants provides some breathing space for individual ROCs to come up with a long-term plan, and already it is apparent from local leaders as well as surrounding board members that they are developing a plan for SCROC's long-term future.


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