Board Members

Roger Collins (President)

Mary Cowen Baker

Dina Fazio

Noelani Price

Jesse Stearn

Agenda and Minutes

(All previous year past minutes are archived in the school office.)

Approved Minutes

June 28, 2018

August 9, 2018

September 13, 2018










Topics Being Discussed for Public Input:

Welcome to the Monte Rio newsletter number 11, for December 2018. As always, if you wish to be taken off the mailing list, please let me know.

Air quality

Anther year, and sadly, another fire season. As you know, the smoke was pretty bad out here in Monte Rio. So bad that school was closed for a couple of days. That sparked a lot of debate throughout the county. When should schools close? Are children, in general, safer at home or at school? There are a number of factors to be considered:

· Do you good air filtration at home? Monte Rio currently has NO air filtration; It is likely that we will invest in air filtration between now and the next fire season, so at least the air in the classrooms will be fairly clean.

· Is there someone at home to watch your children?

· Is your child more susceptible to poor air quality than average?

Ultimately, you need to decide what is best for your child.


The Measure J parcel tax measure to benefit the school passed with a large margin. It needed 55% to pass; it got 71%. Yay! At the next board meeting, this Thursday, we will start the process of authorizing the sale of bonds and setting up the oversight committee. All the relevant resolutions are attached to this newsletter.

The oversight committee reviews the projects and produces a report at least once a year certifying that we’re doing what the language of the ballot measure said we would do. The meetings are open to the public and anyone can attend (they are covered by the ‘Brown Act’ and so will have agendas and minutes, just as the School Board meetings do). There will be at least seven voting members appointed by the School Board.

The parcel tax oversight committee must by law have:

· One member who is a parent/guardian of a student in the school.

· One member who is a parent/guardian of a student in the school AND active in the Parent Club.

· One member who is active in a business organization that operates in the district (like the Chamber of Commerce)

· One member active in a Senior Citizens organization

· One member active in a Tax Payers association

· Two members at large

None of these members can be employees, contractors, or officials of the district. They cannot have conflicts-of-interest with the activities of the committee (construction, maintenance, etc)

The full text of the roles and responsibilities of the committee are attached. If you are interested in being on the committee, please let Marcia, the district Secretary, know.

Next Board meeting is this Thursday, Dec 13, at 6:00 pm

On the agenda...

· The superintendent will present plans for improving air quality in the classrooms

· A bond attorney will walk us through the processes of issuing bonds and setting up the committee mentioned above; we will likely approve a couple of resolutions to formally make these events happen.

· Each of the five board members was re-elected in this past election, and so we will take our oaths of office. It is also time for the annual reorganization to elect a new Board president and clerk.

· The Superintendent will give us an update on the work the Site Council has been doing on how we may increase revenues and decrease expenses. The site council isn’t done, so this is just a “where are they now” snapshot. Still, it is the first we’ve seen of their work and so should be interesting. Remember that the Site Council meetings are also open meetings anyone can attend.

· It is time to approve our annual developer’s fees income and expenditures. Developer’s fees are charged for projects inside the district, and these can only be spent on certain facilities projects. The CBO will present what we made and what we spent it on.

· The “First Interim” report on our budget will be presented, discussed, and likely approved. I’ll talk more about that below.

· The district will present a proposal to reorganize the breakfast program and cut an hour and a half from the food service director’s day. As this is a union position, the union must agree to the change and when it takes place, as well as the Board.

· The county office (‘SCOE’) offers some Foster Youth Services that we participate in, and we’ll discuss and likely approve an agreement with SCOE to provide these services.

· The state is running a trial for classified employees to help them get through the summer months a little easier. This proposal will be presented and discussed, and perhaps acted on, at the meeting. In general, the idea is that some low-wage employees can put up to 10% of their salary away for the summer, and the state will match that amount. The district incurs some costs for payroll taxes and the like, but it should be a fairly small amount. Still, the program is new and experimental, and there is healthy debate about the merits and possible pitfalls of it.

The full agenda, and all backup materials, are attached. If any of these issues interest you, please join us! If you cannot make it, we do record the meetings and there will be minutes available.

First Interim Budget

The “First Interim” budget report is attached. This is the first update of how the budget year is going so far, based on actual expenditures and new information about future income and expenses. It is long, and dense reading, but contains a lot of interesting information on what it takes to run a school. The CBO will present an overview and answer any questions at the meeting Thursday, but here are a couple of highlights that I thought were interesting:

· As we’ve known for a while, we are spending more than we make. The good news this year is that $20,000 taken away from us by the county last year to help fire-damaged schools has been repaid, and property taxes have increased, more than the county thought, by about $50,000.

· We expect our revenue to go DOWN next year, by about 5%. Our expenses, meanwhile, are going UP by about 3%. The following year, our revenue goes up by 1%, yet expenses go up another 3%. Over the next two and a half years, then, we will spend about $400,000 more than we make. That is clearly not sustainable.

Disclaimer: I’m not an accountant, so I encourage you to read the report and hear what the CBO says at the meeting.

We hope to have the results of the Site Council’s work at the January or February meeting, and will begin to make cuts to our programs to keep the district solvent. I encourage you to attend the Site Council meeting(s) to understand what they are proposing and make proposals of your own.

That's About It

I'll send a note next month about what happened at the meeting. Happy Holidays!

Note: California law (the 'Brown Act') doesn't allow me to discuss matters that may come before the Board with a majority of my fellow Board members, so I've tried to keep this strictly informational and not give you my opinions. You, of course, are free to discuss these issues at length with me or any other Board member! Our email addresses are on the school website.

Hope this has been helpful,

Roger Collins, Board President

School Bond 2018-2019

As you likely know, the District is placing a bond measure onto the November ballot to help us refresh our 25-year-old school. The Superintendent is gathering a list of construction projects for the ballot; if you have ideas for construction that is needed or that could save us money longer-term (such as solar panels), please let him/us know.

Sonoma County Information: