One of my greatest privileges as Superintendent of Schools is visiting classrooms to observe student learning. Guided by dedicated staff and professionals, our students are encouraged to reach, try and aim for their best. Remembering my days as a classroom teacher, observing classrooms in our District and thinking about my own three children, I know that each and every child has their own unique potential and challenges, and it is our responsibility to meet their needs.
We know some children face greater challenges than others ̶ immigrants who must learn a second language in addition to math, science, social studies and art; socio-economically disadvantaged students who often do not have access to enriching extracurricular activities or technology when they leave school; and our foster youth who sometimes face personal situations that can make aggressive curriculum seem virtually impossible. In our District, we are dedicated to help every student achieve their best. From highly motivated students to those who require support to know success and acquire the skills and confidence to pursue the education necessary to succeed in life, it is our responsibility to meet the kids on their terms.
This is one reason I am pleased to share with you the new funding formula for our state's public schools. Beginning this year, the State of California has changed the way school districts are funded. It is providing to the 1,000+ school districts and school boards throughout the state more decision making authority over programming and budgeting. The goal is to allow the people closest to the community and familiar with their students’ needs the flexibility to build the programs that will work for your students, your schools, your community. Called the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), two key elements of this funding plan are new. Given that education is all about student success, it should come as no surprise that the two elements focus on students and parents – after all, our children's first and lifetime teachers are their parents.
First, you, our parents and community members, must clearly be added to the process. As part of our budgeting plan, we are asked to allow you to review our plan and provide their input. The Milpitas Unified School District (MUSD) plan is in development. Please mark the date of Wednesday, March 19, 2014, for a town hall meeting about our district plan. Second, students, the heart of our work, must be targeted for specific needs, as we must clearly outline a plan to help address students with specific needs to improve their chances of academic success, both in K-12 and to help assure they are ready for college and/or their post-high school career.
The LCFF budget provides increased funds for districts to target services for English language learners, children who are socio-economically disadvantaged and foster youth, to help bridge, statewide, persistent learning gaps. I understand and appreciate the Governor's and Legislature's intent with these funds because I see the wide range of challenges, gifts and opportunities that each child brings to school.
On behalf of the Board of Education and our many dedicated teachers, administrators, staff members and students, I hope that you will join us at our town hall meeting on Wednesday, March 19th, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m., in the Board Room of the District Office, Bldg. 500, 1331 East Calaveras Boulevard, Milpitas.