The first regular meeting of 2020 for the Riverbank Unified School District (RUSD) took place last week on Tuesday where many items were discussed including the recognition of a couple retirees, a farewell, annual audit presentation, approval of acquisition of real property, and renewal of Riverbank Language Academy (RLA). There were also a variety of reports and time for public comment, making for a very full agenda as the district enters into the new year.
The board along with RUSD Superintendent Christine Facella thanked Marcus Wirowek for his seven years of service to the district as the Senior Director of Human Resources. He has taken on another position with an education consulting company. Beginning on Jan. 27, William Brown, previously with West Contra Costa Unified, will begin with RUSD as the Chief Human Resources Officer.
In addition, the board honored two staff members who are retiring from the district. Joseph Barney has been with the district for 17-and-a-half years, while Mary Overton has served for 23 years.
Another show of appreciation was for Board President Suzanne Dean who served in that role from December 2018 through December 2019. The Board of Trustees for 2020 is as follows: Elizabeth Meza, Board President; Susan Taylor, Board Clerk; Suzanne Dean, Board Member; Ernest Velasco, Board Member; Ana Vigil, Board Member; as well as Student Board Member, Jose Facio.
There was an Annual Audit Presentation given during the meeting to review the District’s annual financial audit report for fiscal year 2018-2019. Crowe Horwath LLP is the District’s independent auditor that presented and assessed the financial condition and internal controls.
“The Riverbank Unified School District’s financial status is positive, which means it can meet its financial obligations in the current and two subsequent years,” stated Roberto Perez, Chief Business Official. “Similar to all districts in the state, the District’s first interim budget is facing pressures from pensions, special education, cost of living adjustments and enrollment.”
The board approved the acquisition of real property on Claus Road for the purchase price of $600,000 in addition to escrow holder’s fees and title insurance policy costs not to exceed $10,000. There are no plans as of yet for the property.
RLA has been approved for a charter renewal for 2020 through 2025. RLA is a public charter school in Riverbank that operates as a school within the RUSD that has an Advisory Board for daily operations.
“The board voted to approve the RLA Petition and we look forward to collaborating with them in the coming years,” said Facella.
The petition presented contained all elements required for the renewal of RLA as a district dependent charter school. It noted that the RLA has experienced continuous growth and improvement since its inception in 2006 and is looking forward to continued progress under the district.
According to information provided on the petition, the RLA educates over 500 students in kindergarten through eighth grades and expects to add a Transitional Kindergarten class as well.
The next board meeting will be held at the District office, 6715 Seventh St., on Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 5:30 p.m.
News Correspondent Ric McGinnis contributed to this story.