February 15, 2019
Dear San Carlos Parents and Staff,
Presidents’ Day holiday break is coming next week; I hope you have plans to enjoy the recent snow or just relax and curl up with a good book around the house. As we prepare for the break, I want to update you on our budget stabilization process, which has been underway since October. I am grateful for the hard work of the Superintendent’s Budget Advisory Committee -- -- their input and recommendations are helping us develop a budget that maintains the high quality education we offer students in San Carlos School District by “right-sizing” our expenses without eliminating any programs. I encourage you to read the details below, and also invite you to share your input by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Budget Advisory Committee (BAC): The BAC, consisting of parents, teachers, staff, administrators, trustees, SCEF and community members, has been meeting since October to study the budget, learn about how school finance impacts our district, and recommend areas to reduce and areas where we can generate more revenue.
- Community Engagement: Earlier this week on Monday and Tuesday evenings at Central and Heather schools, I presented information about our school budget and the areas being considered for reductions. Both meetings were well attended with over 250 people present and over 450 views of the Facebook Live recording on our Facebook page. You can watch and listen to the Monday night presentation on our Facebook page here.
- Board Study Session: The Board of Trustees met last night to learn more about the proposed Budget Stabilization Plan and will vote on the Plan at the February 28 board meeting, and will vote on the final budget in June. The Board studied options to cut about $2.5 million from our $38 million budget over the next two years, which represents about 6% of our total budget. As you know, these cuts are necessary primarily due to enrollment decline and increasing costs in a variety of areas.
RECOMMENDED BUDGET TRIMS
The proposed Budget Stabilization Plan reduces operational costs and trims staffing and program costs, but does not eliminate any programs. These recommendations were reviewed by the Board last night. District staff will take feedback from that discussion into account, revise the Budget Stabilization Plan, and the Board will vote on the revised Plan on Feb 28th. Some key areas under consideration include:
- Adjust/reduce the Music for Minors services due to declining enrollment
- Adjust/reduce PE services due to declining enrollment or;
- Eliminate PE services and teachers will teach PE and lose prep time
- Reduce teacher professional development
- Reduce library hours at elementary schools to 4 days/week, 4 hours/day
- Reduce technology assistant support
- Reallocate/reduce counseling program; elementary schools share counselors
- Reduce assistant principal support at the middle schools
- Increase class sizes by 2 students in 4th – 8th
After the Presidents’ Day holiday break, we will begin to engage teachers, parents and staff in the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) and the full budget development process.
HOW CAN YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Parent engagement is critical in ensuring that we make the right decisions in “right-sizing” and in advocating to our local legislators for adequate funding. Below are some important ways that you can make a difference:
- Provide Your Input
Due to the complex nature of budget development, we are not planning to do a multiple choice survey, however we highly value your input and are providing the following ways for you to provide input:
1. Complete the SCSD Family Survey
The SCSD Family Survey window is open now, and we are hoping for a high level of participation. Input from parents and staff about the effectiveness of programs that are supporting student learning and well being is important because it will also inform the budget development process We have included an open-ended question in the survey where you can share your thoughts with us as well.
2. Email us at email@example.com
In addition to the other ways we are gathering input, we would like to invite you to share your thoughts about the budget now through May 1st by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Budget Advisory Committee will use this input as it continues to make recommendations to staff as we develop our budget for the 2019-2020 school year.
3. Participate in developing the LCAP:
We will also engage parents and staff in the LCAP and budget development process in the coming months during staff, PTA, site council, and the district LCAP advisory meetings.
- Advocate: Please continue to advocate for increased K-12 funding with our local representatives State Senator Jerry Hill, State Assemblymember Kevin Mullin, and U.S Congresswoman Representative Jackie Speier through emails and letters. Also, please continue to demonstrate support for our teachers, staff and principals who are dedicating their careers to provide the best possible educational experience for our students every day.
- Donate: The San Carlos Education Foundation (SCEF) currently provides 6% contribution to our general fund. Any increased contributions during this year’s fundraising campaign will decrease the reductions we will need to make by May 1st. I thank you in advance if you have made a contribution and if you have not yet had the chance, I encourage you to do what you can to pitch in to maintain the high level of quality programs we offer our San Carlos students.
I want to reassure you that we are doing everything we can to make decisions that are in the best interest of our students. Budget trimming is always painful, but I am confident that in the end, the scrutiny and stabilizing of our budget will increase our efficiency and enable us to offer stronger programs. Thank you again for supporting SCSD,
Michelle Harmeier, Ed.D.