PIEDMONT -- The school board recently received positive news on two fronts.
The district could receive up to $5 million in state modernization funding which must be used for life and safety, modernization and accessibility improvements at the schools.
Some priorities for use include roof replacement at Wildwood and Beach elementaries, subject to leaking, and at Alan Harvey Theater, heating and air at Piedmont Middle School, and replacement of storm drains at PMS. Other priority projects include a Havens retaining wall, playground asphalt and other deferred work at Wildwood and installation of an Ada-accessible elevator at the middle school.
Superintendent Connie Hubbard stressed that the money cannot be used for teacher salaries or other noncapital improvement expenditures. Program manager David Burke noted that there is also $411,274 remaining in the seismic safety bond program, which is complete. All projects were on time and on budget. Burke said he has not worked with a finer group of people than Piedmont officials, who worked through the whole seismic safety program with aplomb.
The district is also optimistic about the governor's proposed budget, which must be approved by June 30, in light of the passage of Proposition 30, which increased sales taxes by a quarter-cent for four years and taxes those earning more than $250,000 per year by up to 3 percentage points for seven years. Proposition 30 is expected to boost state tax revenue by $6 billion annually through 2018-19 and bolster educational funding.
"There will not be a change in the basic numbers in our multiyear budget projections," Hubbard said at the Jan. 23 meeting. "The best news is we will not have to overreact. We are predicting stability for the next three or four years.
"The governor's proposal seems to be trending toward the optimistic, and Piedmont is hopeful we may see an increase in funds, enough so that we may be able to return to a full school year by eliminating five furlough days."
She added that if the school parcel tax Measure A does not pass in March, however, the district would be down $9 million per year.