By CLAUDIA BRETADO BAUTISTA and MARIANA LOPEZ
At the Dos Palos Oro Loma Joint Unified School District Board of Trustees meeting on Jan. 18, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Melissa Kielpinski gave an update on January’s fiscal status.
“There is a state budget service shortfall, but Governor Newsom is protecting the education budget,” said Kielpinski. The $37.9 billion state shortfall is the result of 2022 tax collections which were well below the projections.
“The district is also slightly declining in enrollment,” Kielpinski added. “We have fewer students, therefore fewer dollars coming in. The good news is that the governor will sustain the education budget. We have a rainy-day fund for the state and school budget.”
Kielpinski’s presentation also showed a remaining balance of $1,659,467 in COVID funds, which must be spent by Sept. 30.
Kielpinski also gave an update on existing projects beginning with the required upgrade of the stadium concession stand, which needs to be brought up to compliance standards for it to be operational. Flooring, shelving, plexiglass, and light fixtures must be brought up to standards and ADA compliance.
There are one-time dollars available for the upgrades, but adding additional items to the scope of the work will further delay the use of the concession stand.
Being able to use the stadium in the next football season is the goal, but alternative were discussed if that isn’t possible.
Trustee Moy Meraz asked about using outside food vendors. Trustee Jeremy O’Banion responded that bringing outside vendors like food trucks would take away a lot of money from the Dos Palos High Associated Student Body account.
Another suggested option would be to bring in temporary structures and get a one-day permit for the ASB and athletic boosters to manage the booths.
“Let’s think out of the box,” Meraz said.
Kielpinski said she will return to the board at its next regular meeting with an update.
The board approved shade structures for the tennis court, the pool and transitional kindergarten facility. The shade structures are expected to last 10 years.
The board also unanimously approved a contract for services with motivational youth speaker and youth advocate Jordan Toma with “I’m Just a Kid with an IEP, LLC,” for motivational speaking at Bryant Middle School.
Bryant Middle School Principal Daniel Perez addressed the board and voiced that having Jordan Toma speak to students would be a great ending to their “Kindness Week.”
The district is also looking into contracting with Precision Concrete Cutters to evaluate district sidewalks for repair and replacement. At its regular meeting on Jan. 15, the Dos Palos City Council approved moving forward with contracting with Precision Concrete Cutters to evaluate city streets.
Incoming superintendent Andrew Schwab was present and gave a brief statement during the board meeting.
“I am happy to be here, and I thank everyone for coming out and welcoming me earlier today.” Schab’s official meeting as superintendent will be later this spring.
The board also approved Jose Flores as soccer assistant coach at Bryant Middle School and Ruben Chavez and Kenneth Schulz as volunteer coaches.
The board was informed that the California School Employee Association salary schedule will be revised as a result of California’s minimum wage being increased in 2024 to $16 per hour.
It was noted during the meeting that the board’s current priorities are to maximize student achievement, engage students in rigorous and relevant learning, foster innovative parent and community involvement and ensure a safe and effective learning environment.
The next regular Dos Palos Oro Loma Joint Unified School District meeting will be held on Feb. 15. All regular board meetings are held on the third Thursday of each month.