Water District Calls Special Meeting to Fund 4/5 Science Program

Tomorrow, Wednesday, May 4th 2011, the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District has called a special meeting with a single item on the agenda: consideration of funding to Las Virgenes Unified School District. The Water District currently uses part of its water and environmental education program funds (which are funds specifically set aside for this purpose), to fund a variety of programs including Water Awareness Library Books, contests, and educational outreach. According to the Water District, this amounts to a little over $100,000 per year of support through direct financial support and in kind resources.

While those involved consider the programs to date to be successful, the Las Virgenes Unified School District is now asking the Water District to refocus these funds towards more direct support of the Grades 4/5 Science Programs within LVUSD (which have been put in jeopardy due to further State budget cutbacks). These programs cost LVUSD approximately $300,000 per year. As with LVUSD in general, the primary costs go towards employee salaries.

LVUSD estimates that 60% of the curriculum for the 4/5 Science Programs support and are consistent with the goals of the Water District’s objective to support environmental and water conservation education. As such, LVUSD is asking the Water District to redirect it’s current support levels (over $100,000) and add to it to reach $180,000 which would sponsor these programs (60% of $300,000 for total costs of 4/5 Science Programs). Current programs within LVUSD supported by LVMWD would end in lieu of this support. In exchange, the Water District will be able to “brand the program with their name and create increased opportunities for LVMWD programs/speakers/topics to be delivered to students and parents.”

The special meeting is being held specifically to give the Water District a chance to consider and respond to this request in advance of the School District’s legal deadline for layoff notices (May 10th is the Board of Education meeting this will be addressed). If LVMWD were to take on a 60% sponsorship of 4/5 Science programs, LVUSD would “fund the balance and be able to make this a priority to be kept in place rather than a program we could no longer afford,” said Jill Gaines, President of LVUSD Board of Education.

For those interested in expressing their opinion on this, you are encouraged to contact the Water District or attend the meeting in person. Like all government meetings, anyone can submit a speaker card at the beginning of the meeting and make brief comments. See http://www.lvmwd.com/ or call (818) 251-2100. The special meeting will be held at 5pm, May 4 2011, at Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, 4232 Las Virgenes Road, Calabasas, California 91302