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Values We Teach in Our Classrooms + Updates
Posted 6/2/20

Dear CUSD Community,

As our school year ends, I want to personally bring you up to date on a number of issues that affect our community school children, as well as teachers and staff.

 

I will be reporting on plans for reopening school during the next term, as well as give you a brief update on the state budget.

 

On a personal note, I first want to deeply thank you for all the hard work assisting our amazing students, teachers, and staff during our first experience with distance learning. I personally experienced joy and shared the struggles that each of you faced during this unprecedented school year as I worked from home and assisted my six-year-old daughter with her lessons.

 

I also share your concern about the national events of the last week. In public schools, we value diversity and inclusion and we share these values with students. We teach students that racism and discrimination are antithetical to a free society, and equally we teach that peaceful protest is an integral part of democracy. We also teach that violence is not an appropriate response, even to overt injustice. These are conversations we would normally have in our classrooms. Being physically separated doesn’t lessen their importance.  I urge everyone to share these teachings at home.

 

These are valuable lessons and conversations for each of us and I look forward to the day that we can once again teach them in our classrooms.

 

1.  Plan for Reopening our District's Schools

Our school board is committed to safely reopening schools and my staff have been working on detailed plans to do so. Our objective is to open on schedule, if conditions and resources allow us to do so.

To ensure your input, the Distance Learning and Reopening Plan survey was sent to parents across our district. Over 24,000 responses were received, providing us with valuable insight into childcare needs and families' desire for in-class and online models for learning. Families also want flexibility as we return to school in the fall.

 

 

CUSD is also required by state law to meet and confer with unions representing our teachers and other staff before we make changes to employee working conditions. We are now engaged in discussion with employees’ union leadership (a partnership and collaboration we deeply appreciate) to support reopening flexibility. We are prohibited by law from negotiating directly with rank-and-file teachers and classified staff.

 

This is all to say that in reopening our schools, there are many stakeholders and we are committed to respecting them all as we develop and implement our reopening plan.

 

The initial plan will be posted online on June 12, 2020 and discussed publicly at the June 17, 2020 school board meeting. Until this occurs, CUSD has no approved reopening plan and information you may see online is merely speculation.

 

 2.  2020-21 Budget Update

The CUSD annual budget is $516  million dollars of which roughly 88% pays for personnel who directly or indirectly serve students.  Unlike many government entities, most of our funding comes from the state, while the federal government provides about four percent.

The Governor's proposed 2020-21 budget requires us to cut over $59 million from our budget for the period beginning July 1. While some reductions can be delayed a short time, most will occur immediately in the coming school year. State law requires CUSD to have balanced budget projections for each school year as well as the subsequent two years. As we incur additional costs for protection measures arising from COVID-19, we also need to find reductions to meet the balanced budget requirement, and honor labor contracts that are already in place.

 

We as District advocate on behalf of our students and families and work closely with our PTA legislative teams to advocate in Sacramento and Washington DC for the needs of our students.  While we believe that our combined advocacy efforts may bear fruit, we have nothing until the state and federal governments act. The partnership we have with our PTA leaders is invaluable and we appreciate their support of local schools.

 

State law requires the legislature to pass and the Governor to sign a state budget by June 15th.  Assuming our state's leaders meet this deadline, we should know more about CUSD’s immediate funding within three weeks.

 

We will keep you informed throughout the summer, and on that note, have a wonderful summer!

 

Sincerely,

 

Kirsten Vital
Superintendent