Turlock Unified to weigh goals for school year as district grows

09/01/2014 6:32 PM

09/01/2014 6:34 PM

Turlock Unified trustees will be asked Tuesday to approve district goals for the coming school year, including scoping sites for a new central kitchen and a possible new elementary school in southeast Turlock, where a large subdivision is proposed.

The 69-point 2014-15 Action Plan calls for technology upgrades, clean-energy projects and Common Core implementation. Expanded programs in science and math and for gifted children and bilingual immersion are all goals.

After five years of steady decline, Turlock Unified reversed course in 2011-12 and reached a record high 14,009 students at this time last year. Local planners are discussing plans for a denser version of the Morgan Ranch development – originally proposed with 918 homes – , which could bring thousands more children into the district.

The district hopes to expand its preschool and Head Start programs, as well as a Set for Success 0-5 program. It plans to work closely with the city of Turlock and with area community colleges and universities to ease the transition of high school graduates into higher education.

Finding a way to live-stream school board meetings and expand community use of the district website are also planned. Greater collaboration with other districts, the Stanislaus County superintendent, the Turlock Education Foundation, Rotary Club and PTA Council also made the to-do list.

In a companion list of accomplishments, the district notes that the 2.5 percent salary cuts employees took during the recession were erased and a 1.5 percent raise given last year. Substitute pay also went up.

District administration reorganized, adding an assistant superintendent of educational services, a director of technology, a comptroller and a network systems supervisor. The district made ID badges mandatory for seventh-grade through high school, and conducted its first by-area trustee elections in 2013.

In other business, trustees will be asked to approve joining a Merced County contract to share lower rates on technology and related services. Network upgrades proposed for Osborn Elementary and Turlock Junior High are estimated at $185,000.

Osborn, the district’s largest elementary school, has had persistent problems with connections, according to agenda materials. Turlock Junior High upgrades will prepare the school for online state testing in the spring, a pilot of what will be needed for the district’s two comprehensive high schools.

The board will be asked to approve a $125,000 addition for the $8.4 million Turlock High School renovation to add a stand-alone home run barrier around the baseball field and a foul-line barrier around the softball field to protect students using the tennis courts or passing by.

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