School’s preschool to add class

Written by Jessica Cejnar, The Triplicate April 29, 2014 04:14 pm

Bess Maxwell Elementary School will get an additional preschool class next fall, allowing the district to serve an additional 32 students.

The Del Norte County Unified School District Board of Trustees on Thursday unanimously approved the additional preschool class, which included hiring three classified employees. Funding for the new preschool class will come from additional money the district expects to receive from the state’s new Local Control Funding Formula, according to Superintendent Don Olson.

With the new class comes a new full-time preschool teacher and two part-time early childhood education assistants. The preschool teacher will cost the district $45,730, according to the district’s staff report. The two early childhood education assistant positions will cost $11,352 each. The total cost will be $68,434.

The Local Control Funding Formula, which was signed into law on July 1, 2013, allocates education dollars to school districts based on their percentage of low-income students, English language learners and foster children.

Del Norte stands to receive roughly $10 million in extra funding when the formula is fully implemented in 2020–2021. In the meantime, district staff, with input from parents, teachers, students, staff and community members, are developing Del Norte’s Local Control Accountability Plan, or LCAP. 

The LCAP will address the greatest needs of the district, develop goals and lay out three-year spending plans.

“As you know, we have an over-70 percent low income rate in Del Norte County,” Olson told Board members on Thursday. “One of the best things we can do with our money is to intervene with students earlier.”

Bess Maxwell’s preschool had a peak enrollment of 120 students but was cut several years ago, Olson said. The preschool classes can only serve 74 students currently.

According to Brooke Davis, the district’s preschool administrator and principal at Mary Peacock Elementary School, Del Norte County Unified School District used one-time funding of $94,000 to bring pre-school enrollment to 74 students. At the beginning of the year, there was only enough room in the preschool for 64 students, she said.

“All the early childhood organizations met and gave input for the Local Control Funding (Formula), and it was unanimous,” Davis said. “They really truly believe that if we put our efforts and our moneys toward educating students from the earliest point that the payoff in the long run is going to be huge.”

The Board of Trustees will have to develop and submit its Local Control Accountability Plan to the California Office of Education by July, according to Olson. For more information, on the Local Control Funding Formula and the Local Control Accountability Plan, visit www.delnorte.k12.ca.us.

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