On Friday, March 2, 2012, I had the privilege of reading “Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!” to hundreds of students at Pomeroy Elementary as part of the national Dr. Seuss Reading Day. It’s been many decades since I read a Dr. Seuss book to my boys – what a treat to see the joy and wonder on the faces of so many kids. There is something magical about telling a story to your children. It’s more than literacy – it’s about inviting our children into the world of story, of knowledge, and equipping them with the ability to make sense of the information around them. As the 21st Century accelerates our lives, do pass on the tradition to the next generation of sitting down with a good book and getting lost in a great story.
I wish the story of our budget had a happy ending, but we continue to navigate the difficult middle chapters of a long saga. The state of California is an unreliable partner when it comes to education funding, and we absorbed a mid-year cut to our general fund and transportation budget. The vocabulary of “trigger cuts” is becoming familiar language and the governor has set up next year’s budget with a potential cut of $370/student to our district. This would amount to a potential mid-year cut in January 2013 of $3.7M - five months into our school year. As of this date, we are facing a $4.4M deficit for the 2012-13 school year.
As I have mentioned in past letters to the community, your school board and the district have prepared for these difficult financial times. The Board of Trustees continues to be proactive when it comes to conserving cash, and we have the financial reserves to weather next year without any cuts to staffing or programs. We are making a commitment to maintain all current staffing and programs into next school year – no program reductions and no furlough days. We are working hard to live within our means without impacting the educational experience of our current students. The community support through the parcel tax passed in June 2010 continues to play an essential part in helping us maintain our quality programs.
In a recent voter opinion survey conducted on behalf of the district, we learned that 65% of the residents in Milpitas felt like things were headed in the right direction in our local community. Among the parents of MUSD students, 70% felt that our local school district is doing an excellent or good job of educating the children of Milpitas. These data show the mutual support, teamwork, and collaboration between the community and our school district, which I feel greatly benefits our children and their education. Regardless of whether you have students in our schools, we appreciate the support you give to the next generation of kids.