Guest Opinion: South Coast ROP Funding Focuses on Students

For the past 45 years, the South Coast Regional Occupation Program has served as a model of successful collaboration between the Capistrano Unified School District and Laguna Beach Unified School District.  In 1970 these two school districts came together to create the Joint Powers Authority that became the South Coast ROP. As the current president of the South Coast ROP Board of Trustees, I recognize that CUSD and LBUSD trustees all want to ensure the continued growth and success of the South Coast ROP.

[John Alpay]
John Alpay

For those not familiar with the Regional Occupational Program concept, the South Coast ROP is our regional entity that provides career training and technical skills for lifelong learning and success in the workplace. In short, the South Coast ROP seeks to help each student develop a plan subsequent to their graduation, which may include enrollment in a four-year university, a two-year community college program, a technology school or beginning a sustainable long-term career in a profession of their choosing.

Due to changes in education funding at the state level, the way CUSD and LBUSD support the South Coast ROP will change on June 30, 2015. This deadline provides us an opportunity to evaluate all aspects of the South Coast ROP’s structure, educational offerings and business model, to identify opportunities for improvements, efficiencies and other enhancements, to make sure that each dollar has a meaningful impact in the classroom environment. To the extent we have redundancies in administrative staff or other areas of the bureaucracy, we owe it to students and taxpayers to streamline operations.

At a recent CUSD Board meeting and at an ROP Board meeting, all trustees spoke in harmony regarding the need to expand opportunities for students while creating efficiencies in administrative areas, including the simple idea of not spending funds on a new South Coast ROP computerized attendance system that duplicates expenses and services already offered by both CUSD and LBUSD.  Our goal is to reinvest the cost savings in K-12 counselors and academic advisors to help students navigate and be prepared for college and their future workforce environment.

Given its large student population as compared to LBUSD, CUSD provides more than 97 percent of the South Coast ROP’s funding. That said, the policy direction has been a collaborative effort in partnership with LBUSD, and I know I speak for the CUSD community when I say that it is our intent to continue in that spirit.

As president of the South Coast ROP Board, I am pleased to see that we are using this change in state funding as a means to streamline operations and plow the savings back into tangible benefits for our students. CUSD and LBUSD have been terrific partners over the past four-and-a-half decades and we look forward to these changes keeping the partnership strong as we serve our students and taxpayers for the next 45 years and beyond.

John Alpay is on the Capistrano Unified School District Board of Trustees and also serves as the president of the South Coast ROP Board of Trustees.

via San Clemente Times.