Board members will consider approval of various consent agenda items affecting Sparks schools and potentially sign a document that would establish an agreement between the Nevada Department of Education and the school district concerning Race to the Top funds.
With a 6.9 percent cut to make, as directed by legislators from the recent special session, the district’s financial staff is anticipating $29 to $33 million to chop. In addition, the district is faced with a $4 million reduction for the current fiscal year that has yet to be addressed, according to staff reports. District CFO Gary Kraemer will give a brief presentation but the plan to determine where cuts will come from is still in the works.
The district is required by state law to submit a tentative budget for the upcoming fiscal year by April 15. The staff report states there will be a public hearing on the tentative budget on the third Wednesday in May. The final budget will be approved on or before June 8.
Today’s consent agenda items include items affecting two Sparks schools.
Sparks High School has been working with the district’s Educational Technology Department to obtain a $1.2 million grant to set up a learning laboratory that would encourage students to use role-playing exercises, activities and technology as they explore careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The project will teach students how to use mobile computing, virtual reality, gaming, social networks and put them in touch with mentors.
Trustees will also consider approving $28,700 in funding for Bud Beasley Elementary School. The amount would match a little more than $3,000 the school’s Parent Teacher Association raised for a Scholastic Reading Counts program. The reading program allows schools to purchase inventory site licenses to assist students with independent reading skills, reading comprehension and improve test scores. Included in the funding will be 11 Promethean ActivBoards with teacher laptops. Beasley currently has two smart boards.
Race to the Top
Now that Nevada is eligible to apply for the federal Race to the Top grant, money meant to entice schools to create reform in low-performing schools, the Nevada Department of Education must have school districts interested in getting a share of the grant sign a Memorandum of Understanding, a document that serves as an agreement and a description of responsibilities the district must undertake to implement a Race to the Top project.
If Nevada receives an award, the state could receive between $60 and $175 million. Staff reports state that half of the awarded amount will be distributed to school districts based on the Title I formula.
The Washoe County School District, in charge of the long application, must submit its paperwork by June to meet the federal grant’s second deadline. It was unable to meet the Jan. 19 deadline because of a former ban that prohibited the use of student test scores for the purpose of evaluating teachers. Gov. Jim Gibbons approved lifting that ban during Nevada’s February special session.
Today’s meeting takes place at 5 p.m. at the Academy of Arts, Careers and Technology at 380 Edison Way in Reno.