Sacramento City Unified holds school spending forum

Sacramento-area school districts are soliciting ideas on how to spend new state money intended to aid disadvantaged students.

The Sacramento City Unified School District is inviting parents and community members to a public forum Wednesday at the Serna Center, 5735 47th Ave.

The meeting, which starts at 6 p.m., will include information on existing programs that satisfy new goals the state wants districts to achieve with the money. Those include implementation of Common Core State Standards, improving parental involvement and reducing absences.

Ken Forrest, the district’s chief business officer, will present information on the 2014-15 budget and the fiscal outlook, touching on rising costs, a decline in enrollment and the state’s new local control funding formula.

Trustee Diana Rodriguez said the district “needs the voice of the parents at every level,” especially in the categories specified for added funding – students in poverty, English learners and foster children.

“We need the voices of the parents and guardians of those children,” Rodriguez said. “We need to understand where we’re going to direct this money so it better helps the child.”

Spokeswoman Janet Weeks said today’s session is the district’s third public forum on funding. Tonight, staff members such as Forrest will provide details of the new school funding law and seek feedback. Later, the district will train individuals to become public education volunteers to “go into the community,” share information and ask residents to take an online survey about funding priorities. The district also wants to make principals a point of contact for people in the community.

In the Natomas Unified School District, meetings start in February. On Feb. 4, the district will host a meeting at Witter Ranch Elementary School, 3790 Poppy Hill Way; on Feb. 11, at Jefferson Elementary, 2001 Pebblewood Drive; and on Feb. 19, at Inderkum High School, 2500 New Market Drive. Meetings start at 6 p.m. To reserve a seat, visit the Web at

Under the new state funding formula, districts are required to work with community members to establish a local control and accountability plan that details how they will spend the money, and to adopt the document on or before July 1.

For more information, visit the district website at