DOWNEY-The four male Downey Unified School District board members who ran unopposed in last November's district elections were sworn into office Tuesday by superintendent Dr. Wendy Doty.Taking their oaths of office for another four years were multi-termers Tod M. Corrin, Trustee for Area 2; William A. Gutierrez, Trustee for Area 3; Donald E. LaPlante, Trustee for Area 4; and D. Mark Morris, Trustee for Area 6. Morris was sworn in earlier in the day, also by Doty, and was not present in the swearing-in ceremony at the beginning of the regular Tuesday board meeting because of a prior commitment. As is the custom, the election of officers, who are to serve for one year (2011-12), followed. Installed as president was Nancy Swenson (Trustee for Area 5), a Raytheon executive who is in her penultimate year of a second 4-year term on the 7-member DUSD board. She succeeds Martha Sodetani (Trustee for Area l), who was praised by her colleagues for a "very successful year" during her tenure. Sodetani for her part offered her unstinting support in any number of ways to her successor (she first said Swenson could call her any time of the day or night, but then, in the same breath, soliloquized, "I'll be asleep then, won't I?" She explained she wanted to extend the same courtesy and offer of assistance just as her predecessor Barbara Samperi (Trustee Area 7) offered to help her when she assumed the duties of president last year. Gracing the occasion was the supportive presence of Mayor Roger Brossmer, Mayor Pro Tem Dave Gafin, and councilmembers Mario Guerra, and, to a limited degree, immediate past mayor Luis Marquez, and Fernando Vaquez. Elected vice-president was LaPlante, while Gutierrez assumed the duties of board clerk. In the meantime, the new president's recommendations on the distribution of committee responsibilities for the year were approved: assigned to the audit committee were Corrin, Morris, and Sodetani, while the budget committee will comprise Gutierrez, La Plante, and Samperi. LaPlante was re-assigned to act as representative for electing members to the County Committee on School District Organization, as well as the board representative to LACSTA. The task of representing the district on the School/City Coordinating Committee fell on Corrin and Swenson. . Meanwhile, asst. superintendent/business services Kevin Condon briefly outlined the impact on the district's operations of state revenue falling $2.2 billion short of the budgeted forecast of $88.4 billion. "The effect on DUSD operations," he said, "as far as the current year is concerned, is not so severe. We budgeted for about a possible cut of some $330 per pupil, but based on figures just released, our unrestricted budget will suffer only a $260 per pupil cut. So we can breathe a lot easier, at least for this year, as we have reserves to cover this." The department has just come out with its first interim financial report, which covers the district's financial flows for the first four months of the school year, i.e., only until Oct. 31, 2011. "We'll have a better read on how state revenues will behave vs. expenditures by January, and this will be reflected in our second financial report which comes out in March," Condon said. "What is important now," he said, "is that, based on our performance and conservative estimates, the board has issued a positive certification that Downey Unified School District can meet its financial obligations for the remainder of the 2011-12 fiscal year, as well as for the next couple of years. It will be tough, but we'll keep tracking our financial operations closely." Christmas break for the district starts on Monday, Dec. 19, and school re-opens on Jan. 2, 2012. The next meeting of the board is on Tuesday, Jan. 17, at 5 p.m.
********** Published: December 15, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 35