March 2009

From the Superintendent

I think the rain the last couple of days qualifies as “coming in like a lion," which proves that March is definitely here. March can mean many things to different people, ranging from Irish celebrations to college basketball madness, but I know that in our schools and classrooms it is a time for focusing on state standards while paying special attention to students who need reinforcement in specific areas.  While some might criticize this focus as “teaching to the test”, I have yet to find anyone who significantly disagrees that these core skills are needed, while fully acknowledging that they are not the whole picture as we prepare students for a rapidly changing world.

March is also the time we are forced to put forward a budget plan which will trigger some preliminary layoff notices.  I appreciate the many notes and suggestions we have received from parents, community members and staff members. Every suggestion has been considered, and indeed many were incorporated into the proposal going before the Board of Education. At the risk of over simplifying our challenge, it really comes down to just not having enough revenue to maintain programs, let alone to expand needed services and opportunities our students deserve. By many estimates, the financial crisis in Sacramento will result in public education being funded at the lowest level of any state in the nation! This problem is compounded here in San Ramon, given the prospect of the parcel tax not being renewed, which would result in the loss of another $4,000,000 per year.

I can assure all of you that we have attempted to be as thoughtful and creative as possible in proposing the plan that the Board will consider tonight. While we had no choice but to plan for the worst (parcel tax failure), we did take advantage of the flexibility provided in the state budget to utilize previously restricted funds to minimize damage as best we can. In some cases we have delayed some cuts for a year or more, or reduced the scope of the cut from what was first proposed before the State introduced flexibility and the Federal Stimulus funds became known to us. With this said, it is still a very disturbing budget proposal which reflects the reality of huge state funding reductions, lower than average funding of basic revenue to our district, and the prospect of the loss of revenue from the parcel tax.

The actual proposal that the Board will be considering is now posted on our district website and reflects the most current information. The Board meeting will be at 6:00 p.m. in the Commons at San Ramon Valley High School.

I know that this community cares deeply about the quality of their schools and I suspect that on May 6th (the day after the parcel tax election results are known), we will be able to review and restore some of what is being cut, and perhaps even start to fund some initiatives that move our classrooms and schools more into the 21st Century. In the meantime, it saddens me to have so many employee lives and potential programs for students in disarray as preliminary plans for a worst-case scenario must be acted on at this time.

Thank you for your consideration, your understanding and your continued commitment to the San Ramon Valley Unified School District

Steven Enoch
Superintendent of Schools

 

Budget Update


On Friday, February 20th, the Governor approved and signed a 17-month budget for California. In order to address California’s $41 billion deficit, the budget “solution” included $15 billion in cuts (approximately $8 billion of the reductions pertain to K-12 Education), approximately $13 billion in temporary revenues, and $11 billion of borrowing. For the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, this equates to a combined budget deficit for 2008-09 and 2009-10 of approximately $12.5 million. To put this current crisis into perspective, State budget woes forced the district to cut nearly $17 million over a ten-year period (1999-2008), with none of those programs being restored.
 
The Board of Education has begun a process to tackle the district’s structural deficit. At the February 24th Board meeting, staff had prepared a recommendation for an initial program reduction of $13 million which translates into an anticipated release of 256 temporary, categorically (restricted funds) and externally funded certificated employees, and layoff notices to 187 FTE (Full-Time Equivalent) tenured and probationary employees. According to State law, certificated employees (those with a California Teaching Credential) at risk of reduction must receive a layoff notice by March 15th of the prior year.
 
Superintendent Enoch asked the board for time to bring a more comprehensive proposal which may include more information (if it is available) regarding SRVUSD’s share of the Federal Stimulus Package, State-approved flexibility over the use of categorical (restricted) funds, and an extended view of potential program reductions including possible classified employee layoffs.
 
Staff will present this new budget reduction proposal to the Board on Tuesday, March 3rd, 6:00 PM at the San Ramon Valley High School Commons Building. Visit the district website at www.srvusd.net for more details regarding current and future deficit projections as well as a list of considerations for budget reductions. We will continue to keep this list current, and keep our community informed as the State provides more clarity into its budget crisis and as our local Board of Education makes budget decisions that affect local education.
 
 
Budget Timeline
 
• Tuesday, March 3, 6:00 PM - Budget Reduction/Initial Employee Layoff Notices
• Tuesday, March 10, 7:00 PM - Certificated Layoff Resolution
• Tuesday, March 24, 7:00 PM - Possible Revised Budget Reduction Plan Presented
 

School Board Invites Community Members to Apply for District Facilities Advisory Committee

Deadline to submit applications is March 5th! 

The Board of Education is seeking new members for the District’s Facilities Oversight and Advisory Committee. Through this committee, the community as a whole is able to participate in the process of reviewing school facilities and of planning for the future. A key priority for the committee will be providing oversight of Measure A expenditures and informing the public about these expenditures. The committee will include representatives from the diverse sectors of the San Ramon Valley.

The committee will be appointed by the Board on March 10, 2009 and will begin its work at the March 19, 2009 meeting of the Facilities Oversight and Advisory Committee. Regular meetings will be held on Thursday evenings on a monthly basis. Committee members are expected to have regular attendance at meetings. Subcommittee meetings will be determined by the members. Daytime visitations to the school sites will be required.

For more information or to download application, visit the district website (www.sruvsd.net) or stop by the School District Facilities Office, 2430 Camino Ramon, Suite 240, San Ramon.

Deadline to submit applications is March 5, 2009. For more information, please contact Renee Kanalakis at 925-552-2960 / rkanala@srvusd.net

 

15th Annual Middle School Youth to  Youth Conference

Saturday, March 14, 2009; 8:00 am – 10:00 pm
Gale Ranch Middle School
Open to ALL sixth through eighth grade students

Cost: $35.00 through February 28, 2009; $45 after 2/28 or at door
Registration Forms: Can be obtained at any middle school or online @ www.srvcasa.org

San Ramon Valley Community Against Substance Abuse (SRV CASA) has proudly been celebrating drug free youth in our valley since 1995. The nationwide Youth to Youth program was established in 1982 as a community-based drug prevention & youth leadership program focusing on middle and high school students. The conference is an entire day where the kids get together, have fun, and talk about some really important issues. Teens with Y2Y training have been working enthusiastically for several months to prepare for the big day. More than 80 of our local high school students will work at the conference, guiding their younger peers through skits, games, panel discussions and small group activities. More than 20 workshops will be offered throughout the day, such as building self esteem, dance, what to expect in high school, drug & alcohol information and communication skills. The conference will end with a dance.

Youth to Youth creates opportunities for teens to support each other in decisions to be drug free and focuses on topics that youth face today. The learning and fun continues from morning till night during a Y2Y conference. If your kids like hanging out with their friends, meeting new friends, having fun, dancing and good food – then this is the conference for them.

Registration forms can be found in your school office, or can be downloaded at www.srvcasa.org

 

Student Recognition Project OPEN HOUSE and DISPLAY

Thursday, March 19, 2008 and Friday, March 20, 2008
4:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Bishop Ranch 15
12677 Alcosta Blvd., Suite 120, San Ramon

All community members are welcome and encouraged to attend the annual Student Recognition Project Open House and Project Display. The event is an opportunity to view and acknowledge hundreds of projects created by high school students in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District. The students compete in any of 21 categories that showcase their skills both within and outside the curriculum. Project judging is done by professional business people with extensive expertise in the various categories. Student winners are honored at a gala breakfast on April 3rd.

The program is coordinated by the San Ramon Valley Business and Education Roundtable. The purpose of the program is to create collaboration among students, educators and the business community in the San Ramon Valley, to promote educational excellence and to prepare students for the business world of the 21s century.

Categories include: Acting, Applied Design, Architecture, Computer Aided Drafting, Community Service, Creative Writing, Culinary Arts, Dance, Entrepreneur, Fashion, Financial Planning/Investment, Journalism, Instrumental Music, Vocal Music, Photography (digital and film), Robotics, Science and Technology, Video Production, Visual Arts and Web Design.

 

Call for Middle School Filmmakers!

Middle school students in the San Ramon Valley are encouraged to participate in the 4th Annual Street Smarts “Be Reel!” Video Contest this Fall.  For the valley-wide competition, students may work individually or in teams of up to four students to produce 60-second public service announcement (PSA) videos on the topic of walking safely to school.

Videos will be judged based on content, creativity and clarity.  Finalist videos from the contest will be screened at the Danville International Children’s Film Festival in May 2009. Videos will be accepted through March 31, 2009.  Complete rules and additional information about the contest is available online at www.streetsmarts-srv.com or by contacting Nat Rojanasathira, Street Smarts Coordinator at 314-3382 or nrojanasathira@ci.danville.ca.us

 

Parent Education Corner

At a recent parent Brown Bag Luncheon, the question came up “What do we do if there is something important we need to share with another parent?” The answer may seem Nike simple: “just do it!”  But what if the subject regards a teen that is involved in drug use or selling substances?  What if a student has a Facebook account with inappropriate personal or revealing content?  What if a young person is afraid to go to school because of bullying? These are the kinds of situations in which our teens can and do find themselves and the examples share one thing in common: each subject is very difficult for one parent to bring to the attention of another, and a parent who tries is often resented or rejected by the one to whom the information is delivered.

To access the entire article, click here.

Important Dates

  • June 7-10: Final Exam Week
  • June 8: Board of Education Meeting, 7PM, SRVUSD Education Center
  • June 10: Last Day of School (Minimum Day)
  • June 11: High School Graduation/Teacher Work Day
  • June 18: First Day of Summer School (check district website)
  • June 29: Board of Education Meeting, 7PM, SRVUSD Education Center
  • August 23: First Day of School for 2010-11
  • For more information, visit www.srvusd.net