Here's your recap on the latest and greatest. Thanks to Mo Kashmiri for this report on the March 18TH & March 25th Board meeting!
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE MARCH 18TH MEETING? The main issue was school reopening. The District decided to implement a concurrent, hybrid model where students would go to school 2 days a week for 3 hours a day. Teachers would teach those at home and those at school at the same time using new technology. The schools would open up progressively - as early as April 8th for K-3 & K-6 Special Day Class students. Middle school would start around April 15th, and High Schoolers would return around April 21st.
Unfortunately, the District did not proactively work with the City to continue after-school programs through a city-funded 4th R program. Therefore, childcare may be an issue at many schools. The lack of childcare options is one more barrier for families and staff. In the future, we need the School Board & the City to work more cooperatively, and to ensure more access to pre-school.
The District will be receiving HUGE amounts of one-time money (easily over 100 million dollars) for COVID from the Federal & State Government. However, there is also still a gap in on-going funding, so staff recommended a negative certification of the budget. That vote failed, so the school board passed a qualified budget. In the future, the issue will be how they use this funding to support students.
Sadly, the Parent Preschool Participation Program teachers also received notice they would be laid off. This is a good program that has not been well-supported by the District. Long-term, the District needs to invest its one-time COVID funding with more community and stakeholder input. The District needs to be pushed to spend that money in ways that will be supportive.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE? Long-term, the District needs to invest its massive amount of one-time COVID funding with more community and stakeholder input. The District also needs to be pushed to support after-school programs such as 4th-R, as well as programs such as the Parent Participation Preschool Program. In addition, we will need more ongoing revenue to ensure the District is not running a deficit in the future. While we will be fine the next two years, painful cuts will result if the District is not granted more ongoing revenue from local, state, & Federal sources.
ONTO THE NEXT...
SO WHAT HAPPENED AT THE MARCH 25TH MEETING? The SCUSD school board unanimously approved the negotiated MOU for returning to school: - April 8 - Pre-K-3 and K-6 SDC, - April 15th - Grades 4-6, - April 22 - Grades 7-12. The District approved a concurrent hybrid model that will allow students back in-person 2 days a week. Teachers will teach children on Zoom at the same time as those in the classroom. There will continue to be a full-time distance learning option.
The parties will continue to meet and confer to discuss regarding the CDC change in guidance from 6-feet to 3-feet of distancing. The Board was hopeful that it could lead to additional days in school. The Board will get an update on that at the next meeting. The MOU contains health and safety protocols, adequate ventilation and filtration systems.
Some parents announced in public comment that a new 501c3 group (SCUSD Kids First) has been created to push for 5-day/week in-person learning during the last 8 weeks of school. It is led by a local white parent (John Meyers), and it appears to be mostly supported by white parents who don't appear to be trained in anti-racism. They threatened to pursue a legal temporary restraining order if the District did not adopt their view (which it didn't). Throughout the state, chapters of this organization have been pushing to reopen school as soon as possible - blaming the Governor and teachers unions for obstruction, and claiming the shutdown of schools is illegal.
Parents should let the School Board know how they feel about reopening schools. There are mixed feelings on this and advantages/disadvantages to every scenario. Currently, the voices of mostly white parents who want to reopen immediately for full-time 5 days a week are being heard.