Wednesday, June 29 , 2016, 4:57 am | Fog/Mist 60º

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Goleta Union Superintendent Solicits Business Input on School Priorities

Bill Banning, meeting with the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, says hearing from stakeholders is a key part of the district's state-mandated accountability plan

The Goleta Union School District will retain its basic aid status after statewide funding changes take effect, but the district still must write up an accountability plan of its spending, Superintendent Bill Banning said Wednesday while attending a Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce event.

Since the district earns more from local property taxes than it would from state funding, the funding model won’t change to the Local Control Funding Formula like it did for the Santa Barbara Unified School District and others.

As part of the statewide change, the Goleta district needs to justify its spending habits in what’s called a Local Control Accountability Plan, a strategic-plan-like document that explains district priorities and how they’ll be achieved. Santa Barbara County has oversight over all of the three-year plans, which are reviewed every year for progress.

Goleta Union lucked out with the timing since it is currently writing a strategic plan, Banning said.

Getting stakeholder input is an important part of the process, so he attended Wednesday's event to get feedback from the business community. Many of the community's business leaders are parents of Goleta Union students, too.

Banning said that all nine elementary schools have academic scores above the state target, but there is an achievement gap between districtwide scores and those of English learners, economically-disadvantaged students and special education students.

About 40 percent of all students are English learners, he noted.

In addition to meetings with individual stakeholder groups, Banning and the district will host large public hearings to give everyone the opportunity to voice their opinions.

Banning announced that the district will bring back academic summer school this year for students who are struggling, and might be able to add some enrichment courses. Instead of having the traditional four-week course, the district wants to do five weeks of four days each.

The board also approved an $80,000 pilot program of iPads so that every school will have at least one classroom doing state testing that way, not in a computer lab, Banning said.

He said he used to teach computer classes but is skeptical that a one-to-one program is the panacea of learning, hence the pilot program to test out what devices can do in the hands of ambitious teachers.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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