By Keri Luiz
On Thursday the Benicia Unified School District Governing Board of Trustees will meet for the final time in 2011, and the biggest items on the agenda, not unexpectedly, have to do with the budget.
Among them is the first interim report by Chief Business Official Tim Rahill.
The report is the first opportunity for the board to see where spending levels are in relation to the budget, said Janice Adams, superintendent of Benicia schools, on Monday.
“You do a budget, then you have the first interim to see where you are, and where your spending is compared to where you said it is going to be,” she said.
Rahill will also present Sacramento-based independent auditor James Marta & Company’s report for the fiscal year that ended June 30. The goal, Adams said, is to ensure fiscal responsibility while maintaining a priority-driven budgeting process that provides for frequent monitoring and communication.
“Every district has to hire an independent auditor that handles an audit, so it is not just the district’s word, but an independent auditing firm that checks all districts in California to make sure their books are in order and things and good,” she said.
But Thursday’s meeting won’t be focused on money issues alone. Adams will also ask the board to approve the district’s policies for student use of technology.
“I want to bring this forward and have this be a public discussion,” she said. “The board has an opportunity to review our current policy and see if it’s adequate and see if it is meeting the needs of our students.
“This fall we’ve had some problems with technology, and we’re working diligently to fix (them).”
She said the district’s policies aim to ensure that technological resources are used in a safe, responsible and proper manner — in other words, for the advancement of learning. They include guidelines on appropriate behavior while using the Internet for email and research, and the use of social media.
Currently, for a student to be authorized to use the district’s technological resources, a parent or guardian must sign and return an Acceptable Use Agreement specifying user obligations and responsibilities.
“It’s important that the board weigh in. We haven’t changed our policy, that is the same,” Adams said.
Also Thursday, Karen Dubrule, director of curriculum and instruction, will ask the board to approve a resolution to adopt the Common Core standards in English language arts and mathematics.
The resolution states that the district’s mission is for all Benicia students to graduate with the “skills, motivation, curiosity and resilience” to succeed in their choice of college and career, in order to “lead and participate in the society of tomorrow.”
The Common Core national standards were adopted by the California State Board of Education at its meeting in Sacramento in August 2010.
“We’re going to have a resolution to see if the board will formally adopt Common Core standards,” Adams said. Though Common Core policies will be mandatory throughout the state, “if (trustees vote to) adopt that, it is sort of an embrace of it,” she said.