Last week, the Hemet Unified School District trustees held their board organizational meeting for 2016 and elected Jim Smith of Hemet as president and Vic Scavarda of Idyllwild as vice president.
“I am absolutely looking forward to working with Jim Smith as president. He has a long history with Hemet Unified (he was West Valley High School’s first principal) and also brings a lot of alternate education experience to the board,” Scavarda wrote in an email. “I don’t know if we can look for dramatic changes, but I know we are interested in maintaining positive relationships with the [Hemet Teachers Association] and CSEA, and we’ve laid some groundwork in that direction this year.”
When asked how he feels about assuming the role of president the following year, Scavarda said, “After a couple of years on the board, I feel that I am ready to take on this role on the board. I want to continue to look out for the interests of the kids, parents and staff here on the Hill.”
During the regular board meeting, Pamela Buckhout, director of Fiscal Services, reported on the district’s budget status for the first several months of the fiscal year, which began July 1.
Her office estimates HUSD will finish the fiscal year with a $6.1-million surplus compared to the ending balance for 2014-15 of a $7.4-million deficit.
Increasing state revenues, including funds for teachers’ retirement, have more than doubled the originally estimated $2.7-million surplus for 2015-16. Buckhout also projected that salary costs will be about $1.8 million less than original projections.
Initial plans for the 2016-17 budget include more teachers for grades kindergarten through third grade, and re-opening Hemet Elementary School, which was closed in 2009 and torn down earlier this year to make way for a new and more stable structure.
The preliminary forecast is that the 2016-17 budget will end the year with a $1.7-million deficit.