Saturday workshop targets fiscal health of Ramona school district

School officials interview potential bond consultants

By Maureen Robertson

What a difference a year makes, Ramona Unified School District Assistant Superintendent David Ostermann said at the start of his report on the governor’s budget proposal for 2014-15.

“Fourteen months ago I was standing here and we were talking about Proposition 30 and what would happen to schools if it did not pass, the devastating cuts that we could be facing,” Ostermann said.

Voters in November 2012 approved Proposition 30, the temporary sales and income tax increase, “and now the governor is proposing the biggest increase to school funding since 2000-01,” Ostermann told trustees at their Jan. 16 meeting.

Despite that, Ramona Unified School District faces a projected deficit of $7.2 million in two years, he said.

The school board has scheduled a community workshop for Saturday, Jan. 25, to discuss a long-term fiscal plan for the district. A bond measure in November 2014 will be among topics.

Superintendent Robert Graeff discusses the school district’s community workshop set for Saturday. At left is Dawn Perfect, school board president. Sentinel photo/Maureen Robertson

The workshop will be from 9 to 10:30 a.m. in the performing arts center at Olive Peirce Middle School, 1521 Hanson Lane. It will start with a brief presentation from the district and will be followed with public comments, questions and suggestions.

While the formal part of the workshop will be 90 minutes, “I don’t think we’re going to be running for the door after 90 minutes,” school board president Dawn Perfect said, responding to a question at the board’s Jan. 16 meeting. As occurred after the board’s first community workshop in August, some people had to leave right away and others stayed and talked, she said.

“By having 90 minutes of formal time, then it leaves it open for some less formal conversations to take place,” she said.

Perfect called the workshop “a huge opportunity for community members to help us develop whatever that plan will be moving forward, and there is some urgency involved if we’re considering some of the solutions, like a potential bond.”

Trustees have made the district’s long-term fiscal health a key priority. While a bond may be part of the solution, “there’s many parts of that package, so we’ve been simultaneously working on several pieces, which we intend to lay out completely before the community” at the workshop, Superintendent Robert Graeff, Ed.D., said.

A panel of school officials has been interviewing bond consultants, said Graeff, who received permission from trustees to bring a

Trustees Kim Lasley and John Rajcic listen as Assistant Superintendent David Ostermann presents his report on the governor’s proposed budget. Sentinel photo/Maureen Robertson

recommended consultant to their Feb. 13 meeting. A bond consultant would work with a team that would include a strategist, financial adviser, attorney and bond underwriter, said Graeff.

“We’d certainly want to survey the community and see what the community thinks — informally and extremely formally and scientifically,” said Graeff.

Those interviewing possible bond consultants include Graeff, Ostermann, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Tony Newman, Senior Director of Education Services Theresa Grace, school board president Dawn Perfect, board vice president, Kim Lasley, teachers union president Cori McDonald and Kristina Krohne, Sun Valley Council PTA president.

Related posts:

  1. Ramona school trustees schedule community workshop to discuss district’s long-term fiscal plan
  2. School finances topic of community workshop
  3. School district heads toward fiscal precipice, county warns
  4. Budget woes continue for Ramona school district
  5. Ramona trustees may try again for a school bond

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Posted by Maureen Robertson on Jan 24 2014. Filed under Featured Story, Local Spotlight, News, Ramona, Schools. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

3 Comments for “Saturday workshop targets fiscal health of Ramona school district”

  1. Unhappy Taxpayer

    I’m concerned the school board is being run like the Ramona Soccer Board. Please investigate how Ms. Perfect (oxymoron) is running the soccer board and school board. I would like to see the financials posted on the RSL website (Ms. Perfect is the Treasurer) and the board meeting minutes, which both are rules in RSL bylaw that are not being followed.

    • Ramona Resident

      I have known Dawn Perfect through sports and scouts for well over ten years and she has been honest and caring in every interaction. She is the one Board member I trust. Through her leadership and her unwillingness to accept the status quo the district is now looking at ways other than taxation to address their fiscal crisis.
      Two warring factions of disillusioned soccer mommies and daddies are of no consequence to the other 99% of us and have no bearing on the School Board. Nobody, other than the few of you fighting over RSL or Arsenal or whatever it is, cares. Your kids aren't going to become professional soccer players or even get a scholarship to play soccer in college, so why don't you just let them enjoy playing and stop the stupid infighting and politics and let them enjoy it while it lasts. Most importantly, keep your fight out of the RUSD discussion – there is enough to deal with there already without your baseless allegations.

  2. Jane Tanaka MD

    I am confident that Dawn Perfect will be a great school president. Soon after taking office in 2008, she caught on to the financial problems coming down the pike, and alerted other members. She is well known for her frugality, her compassion, her responsiveness to the public. She is able to discuss issues as issues, and doesnt mudsling. Her years of working in the volunteer sector shows in her ability to lead today's community meeting . As for posting details on the RUSD website…. they are getting better at it, as the public is demanding more tranparency.

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