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Board Meeting Summary - 12/13/2023: Furries, The Growing Budget Deficit; and an Enrollment Reality Check

New Board Officer Elections

Each December the Board elects new officers by moving the Vice President to the President, the Clerk to Vice President, and electing a new Clerk. In keeping with the Board's tradition, Kathy Rallings was elected as Board President, Gretchen Vurbeff was elected as Board Vice President, and Michele Ward was elected as Board Clerk.

Budget Update: The Not-So-Surprising $15,000,000 Deficit

The Staff presented an update indicating that the previously projected budget deficit of $7.2M has now grown to $15M. Assistant Superintendent Dill explained that the increase was primarily due to the additional expenses of the agreements with employee unions and the hiring of elementary intervention teachers, which were not reflected in the approval of the 2023-24 budget in June.


The Staff also explained that due to the state budget deficit, the expected state funding for schools is expected to only increase a small amount next year, and that this likely means that CUSD will switch to a local property tax-based funding model known as "Basic Aid," as opposed to receiving funding from the State.

Since the amount of funding from local property taxes is unknown, most Districts behave very conservatively. Will this mean CUSD sticks to its guns and refuses to provide yet another raise to the teachers' union? We already know the answer to that!

The Enrollment Picture is Finally Revealed

As part of the budget update, the Staff finally provided an updated enrollment picture. The current 2023-24 enrollment was officially listed at 10,822, but the future projections are still listed as "flat growth." No, "flat" isn't "growth," and in all likelihood we will continue to see declines. It is unfortunate the the Board and Staff have simply accepted that parents and students are leaving CUSD or coming up with fake excuses like "low birth rates."

The Furries

During public comment, a parent shared a story about a student identifying as a "furry" at school and creating disruptions in class and throughout the school day. I also received anonymous reports from another parent who did not want to publicly share how some furries are causing incidents with other students, and the other students are being disciplined by school administrators.

At the end of the meeting, Trustee Vurbeff made a formal governance request to ask that the Superintendent look into the reports, but the Superintendent became very uncomfortable and suggested that he could look into this without needing a formal request. Clearly someone didn't want to acknowledge that the staff is not only tolerating but supporting these furries and their behavior. Will the Superintendent finally put a stop to it? We shall see!

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