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Friday, January 18 , 2019, 12:55 pm | A Few Clouds 63º


Good News, Bad News for Santa Barbara School Board

District discusses making millions of dollars in cuts by December; meanwhile, student achievement scores last year were the highest ever

Fresh off adopting a 2010-11 school year budget, the Santa Barbara School District will be looking at millions of dollars in cuts to present to the Santa Barbara County Education Office by December.

The school board on Tuesday night discussed keeping programs and staff levels robust while maintaining the necessary 3 percent reserve levels.

Deputy Superintendent Eric Smith said it’s prudent not to cut too much, but “cut enough so you don’t get behind the eight ball and get steamrolled.”

Meanwhile, Superintendent Brian Sarvis said student achievement scores last year were the highest they’ve been for both the elementary and secondary districts.

The No Child Left Behind Act’s Adequate Yearly Progress shows the percentages of proficient students districtwide and within subgroups, and the goal will be 100 percent by 2014, Sarvis said.

Now, the elementary district is 50.6 percent proficient in English language arts and 56.9 percent in math, which were below the state targets. Increases among white students and Latino students are on similar trajectories, which means the districts are not narrowing the achievement gap, Sarvis said.

The Academic Performance Index gives credit not only for proficient students but for increases all over the board. Board members gave a shout-out Tuesday night to Adelante Charter School in particular, as its scores were up 30 points from last year despite previously low scores and coming close to being shut down.

“It’s all about the teaching,” Sarvis said, thanking faculty and staff at all schools for their efforts.

Similarly, the secondary district shows the highest scores ever, with English language arts and math proficiency above the state targets. However, all of the high schools are in program improvement status now, which means that it no longer would be an excuse to transfer, according to school board member Susan Deacon.

Santa Barbara Junior High School made huge gains, with a growth of 50 in API and the only secondary school to be considered “proficient” by the No Child Left Behind Act’s requirements.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the board approved bumping up developer fee rates to the state maximum for new construction and reconstruction of residential and commercial buildings. Based on the square footage of building permits, developers will be charged $2.97 per square foot for residential and 47 cents for commercial or industrial structures. However, in remodels or reconstruction, people will be charged only for the additional square footage. Rates haven’t increased since 2000.

In the interest of having the often-lengthy meetings end before 10 p.m., the school board will meet at 6:30 p.m. starting in October. The next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 12.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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