YUHSD regroups after funding's defeat
While disappointed that Proposition 204 was defeated in the Nov. 6 election, Yuma Union High School District administrators said they plan to move forward with hopes of aid from the state in the future.
Regarding funds the school district will now not receive, Dianne Cordery, director of finance and business at YUHSD, said, “We didn't spend what we didn't have. We didn't have it figured in the budget, we hadn't planned or talked about how to spend it. So we're OK.”
Before the election, public school superintendents across the county had urged the public that the passing of Prop 204, referred to as the Quality Education and Jobs initiative, was desperately needed to maintain and continue to improve the level of education in the Yuma area.
While education continues to be largely underfunded, said YUHSD Superintendent Toni Badone, she said she appreciates the frugality of the district's finance department and the contingencies it has built up in case of more cuts.
“We are OK, but at the same time it's harder to sustain cuts that we've had over the last four years and it does wear on facilities and on people ... I think the Legislature that has been elected and the governor have committed through what they've said to take a hard look at what they need to do to correctly fund and appropriately fund education.
“So I'm very hopeful ... but I'm also very reserved in making any kind of promises to anyone. I think we have a great system in place, but there are still things we have to address.”
Badone went on to say that at the tip of the iceberg, the district's needs include necessary pay raises for classified and certified staff as well as upgrades to old facilities.
In other meeting news, the governing board heard a report about alternative dropout prevention programs within the district at Vista Alternative High School campuses, presented by Lisa Anderson, director of student services.
At Vista Alternative High School, 2350 S. Virginia Drive, juniors and seniors are provided with a variety of options that can lead to graduation, Anderson said. She added that through their six-week terms and online courses, special attention is paid to the students' individual social needs and the academic requirements for a high school diploma.
Anderson noted that they have ramped up the amount of Career and Technical Education classes and other programs offered on the campus in recent years.
Through their Strategies for Success program located on their Vista South campus, 221 E. 26th Place, she said, long-term suspended students have the opportunity to continue their academics while they observe their disciplinary restrictions for their home campuses.
She said they have been making changes to this program, but it's still a work in progress. One recent change has been a stricter dress code at the suggestion of YUHSD board member Linda Munk.
Monique Marquez, president of the student council at Vista, said she decided to go to Vista after falling behind on her credits at her home school, Cibola High School.
She said that because she has a job, she is able to take advantage of the flexibility of morning, afternoon and evening sessions on campus to catch up on her coursework.
“I think the school is great, I love it,” said Marquez. “Everybody is friendly there, everybody is welcoming ... I love the school, it's helped me a lot.”
Of the 150 students at Vista Alternative High School, 85 are enrolled in the Strategies for Success program. Visit www.vista.yumaunion.org for more information about programs and opportunities at Vista campuses.
Sarah Womer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6858. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSSarahWomer or on Twitter at @YSSarahWomer.