The Redlands Unified Board of Education announced the district is expanding its Golden Bell award-winning eAcademy during its meeting on Tuesday, June 15.

“We are planning for double the number of seats,” said Superintendent Mauricio Arellano. “The elementary eAcademy will stay at 820 W. Stuart Ave., and we are in the process of establishing middle and high school eAcademies in the S-wing portables at Redlands East Valley High School. We have plans to outfit the classrooms and create a parking lot where the orange groves are behind the buildings. By December, we hope to have drive-up access so it doesn’t interfere with the daily operations of REV.

“We will serve our internal students first and then reach out to the community and others who are interested in an alternative form of learning,” continued Arellano.

Board Member Alex Vara said, “Alternative education is an important program, and I hope through the expansion, we will eliminate our waiting list.”

The Board of Education also adopted the annual proposed budget for the 2021-22 school year. Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Jason Hill said this particular budget is based on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s May revision.

“The final budget will be different,” said Hill. “Negotiations are still ongoing.”

Hill said Redlands Unified’s projected 20,476 student enrollment is a 365 increase from the previous year. The district is expected to begin the 2021-22 school year with a balance of $62 million. Revenues are expected to bring in $286 million, with expenditures costing $278 million. Eighty percent of expenditures are salaries and benefits,  12% is operating costs, 5% is instructional materials and 3% is equipment cost. The district is projected to end the 2021-22 school year with a balance of $70 million, which will increase the following two years. For 2022-23, the district is projected to end with $81 million, and in 2023-24 end with $94 million.

The board of education also celebrated multiple Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) award winners throughout the district. Most notably, the Redlands High Academic Decathlon team that placed second in the county competition. The team finished 9th overall at the state competition, cracking the Top 10 for the first time in 25 years. Team member Maximilian Floridia finished No. 1  in California and No. 2 in the nation.

The board also announced the appointment of Carli Norris, who is taking over as principal of Orangewood High School for Carol Ruhm. Norris was formerly an assistant principal at Redlands High.