The Rainbow Community Planning Group (RCPG) has recently made an effort to try and raise awareness of the Vallecitos School District’s financial deficit for the next year.
“Vallecitos School District is a very important part of Rainbow,” said Gary Drake, the chair of the RCPG. “Our children represent the future of our community. For many years, proceeds from the annual Rainbow Days Picnic Plant Sale have been raised in support of the Vallecitos District.”
According to Drake, the RCPG believes that that they can solicit additional fundraising ideas from its members and Rainbow residents by raising awareness of the District’s budget deficit.
Declining enrollment has resulted in the Vallecitos School District Board of Trustees voting to reduce or eliminate certain certificated services, including full time teaching positions and one half-time English language development position for the 2013-2014 school year.
“This is especially tragic, since Vallecitos Elementary school students have demonstrated phenomenal improvement in scores resulting from state mandated proficiency tests, since the hiring of David Jones as District Superintendent and Principal of Vallecitos Elementary School,” said Drake.
According to Jones, the budget deficit will be approximately $220,000 for the 2013-2014 school year.
“The biggest reason has been a drop in enrollment, but every school has experienced a lack of funding from the state,” said Jones. “In addition, every special education student must be taken to a different school district to be educated. That costs several thousand dollars. Every time a student walks out of the district, we suffer about $6,000 in less funding.”
The staff reduction will leave the school with less support staff, in addition to a reduction in problems.
“Basically, we would have less teachers, which impacts the students because it leads to combination classes,” said Jones. “The whole English Language Development program will be shut down, which is unfortunate because of the high percentage (approximately 70 percent) of English language learners (ELLs). One teacher instructs the ELLs, and she would lose her job.”
This not the first year the Vallecitos School District has been in financial crisis. In the 2011-2012, certificated and classified staff had to undergo reduced hours and layoffs.
“We are being fiscally responsible, and have gone over the budget, omitting as much as possible,” said Jones. “We have gone so far as to ask if we are ordering too much paper and supplies.”
Jones stated that the school has an opportunity to enroll more students throughout the Fallbrook and Rainbow community.
“We will have an open meet and greet (event) on May 23, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.,” said Jones. “We want to show the community members our new instructional model and try to increase enrollment.”
Drake stated the RCPG encourages its members to support the school district.
“We will be asking RCPG members to encourage their friends and neighbors with school age children to send their students to Vallecitos Schools,” said Drake. “There are currently a number of Rainbow residents who send their children to private schools or other public schools outside of our district.”
Jones also stated that individuals who have ideas for fundraising or help with the financial crisis are welcomed.
“If anyone has ideas, we really appreciate support,” he said. “We want to have the best education for the kids, but it’s been very difficult.”