HSD weighs continuation school options

After changes to state funding increased the Hollister School District’s share of costs in a county-run continuation school, the elementary school district is considering whether to run a program itself.
“We are trying to design a program that will allow us to operate our own program based on the same or less revenue than we will receive for the ADA [Average Daily Attendance] sent to the (county) program,” explained Gary McIntire, the superintendent of the Hollister School District, in an email to the Free Lance in response to queries on the program.
The total cost of running the Santa Ana Opportunity School was $898,164 in 2014-15, according to an email from Krystal Lomanto, the county superintendent of schools. The Hollister School District transferred what amounts to 33.45 in average daily attendance—or $229,248 in revenue—to the continuation school in 2014-15 but that was not enough to cover costs. So the district had to pay the difference, explained McIntire in an email.
“Under the old agreement the District’s ADA transfer was all we were charged,” McIntire wrote. “However, that amount was not sufficient to cover the cost of the program for the SBCOE. Under the current agreement we will be charged for the full cost of operation on a per pupil basis. That means we will transfer the ADA and the revenue the students generate, and then be billed for the remainder of the cost on a per-pupil basis.”
Prior to the introduction of the state’s new Local Control Funding Formula, the San Benito County Office of Education received state funds to run the continuation school, explained Lomanto in an email. The implementation of LCFF started in 2013-14, according to the state department of education’s website. Under the new system, funds go to the school districts, which establish a memorandum of understanding with the county where they agree to pay for the cost of the program on a per-pupil basis, Lomanto explained.
In early November, Hollister School District trustees approved putting Diane Steele, the former principal of Marguerite Maze Middle School, on special assignment to look at operating alternative education programs within the district. Steele’s reassignment followed parent complaints about the principal during public comment at several board meetings earlier this school year.
Steele referred the Free Lance to McIntire for information about the alternative education options being examined by the district.
“We are still working on our cost projections, and won’t have a complete and likely cost estimate until we have refined the nature of our program staffing needs, and determined the cost of facilities, plus start-up costs,” McIntire wrote to the Free Lance. “We have some preliminary estimates, but they would assume a very robust program. We are now working to develop a less costly model, and I don’t have the design or cost of operation for a scaled-back model currently.”

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