Weekly newspaper of Three Rivers, California, and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks

RULE THE SCHOOL: Three Rivers Union School board president Sue Winters (right) administers the oath of office to newly appointed board members Peter Mestaz (left) and Anne Pfaff at the December 12 meeting.

TRUS board reviews bond, budget

John Elliott


Highlighting the Wednesday evening, Dec. 12, busy agenda at the Three Rivers Union School board of trustees meeting was thanking outgoing members Scott Sherwood (12 years) and George Kulick (8 years) for their service on the local board. 
Sue Winters, who also completed eight years of service this month, will continue for another term. Winters was sworn in by Sue Sherwood, TRUS superintendent, and then elected to serve another year as board president. 
In her role as president, Winters performed the swearing-in honors for newly appointed trustees Anne Pfaff and Peter Mestaz. At the conclusion of the formalities, the election of the other board’s official positions was held: Jason Hawes (not present) continues as board clerk and Anne
Pfaff will serve as the designated member from TRUS on the county Office of Education's committee. 
Sue Sherwood, who also serves as board secretary, designated Katie Warner (not a board member) to assist her in that position by taking minutes at meetings. Board members also approved an authorization to sign district orders and designated their meeting schedule for 2019.
With housekeeping tasks completed, there were brief updates regarding the Eagle Booster Club, TRUS Foundation, and hours for and a biannual payment for technology services for teachers Megan Thorn and Liz Harrelson. 
Under new business, the Board reviewed a 90-page interim report that outlines the District’s budgetary status. Pursuant to the Education Code, the superintendent must submit these reports twice yearly for the period ending October 31 and January 31. The board of trustees have 45 days after the close of each reporting period to review, approve, and certify in writing that the school district is able to meet its financial obligation for the remainder of the fiscal year and two subsequent years. 
Newly appointed members Pfaff and Mestaz asked questions during the board’s review of the document and acknowledged that there is a learning curve to understanding the budget process. Sherwood explained as each review is completed the board must certify that the budgetary status is positive (okay for another three years or more); qualified (okay this year with some future uncertainty); or negative (spending reserves and no solvency is apparent down the road). 
Following Sherwood’s presentation, the board approved a positive certification for the first interim report. In summary, the district expects to be able to meet all its obligations for at least the next three years. 
Of course, passing Measure E, the bond issue on the November 6 ballot, helps contribute to a positive outlook for the district. 
Sherwood explained how that process will work. Series A bonds will be issued in 2019 and make $2 million available to fund building improvements, she reported. 
Before the bond money can be allocated, a citizens' oversight committee must be appointed. Intent to form the committee will be officially noticed in the Commonwealth and applications will be reviewed prior to a special board meeting in mid-January 2019.            
Winters also discussed an item that the board is considering to define the status of all employees. For example, when does a probationary employee become permanent though the intent is not to grant tenure?
Sherwood said status would become an issue if layoffs become necessary. The issue was tabled until the next meeting. 
The next regular meeting will be Wednesday, Jan. 9, 6 p.m., in the TRUS library.