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Update From Putting Students First Coalition

Yesterday, we learned that Karen Swett of Making Cents Work, who led Tuesday’s Community SCUSD Budget Forum at the Colonial Heights Library, had her long-standing access to the district’s on-line budget data cut-off last week.   The above letter was sent to Karen  by Interim Chief Business Officer, Richard Odegaard.

Karen has worked for years in cooperation with the district to train parents, teachers and community members to understand their school site budgets.   Certainly, this is troubling news on two fronts: first it sends a chilling message to community members seeking to understand and respond proactively to the district’s claims of ongoing budget deficits, which of course has been the justification for school closures; and second it represents a serious setback to the goal of truly empowering individual school communities in cooperative site-based decision-making.  Karen has written a response to both Mr. Odegaard and Superintendent Raymond.

Please write to school board trustees and the Superintendent to express your concern and disappointment over this development.  Email addresses follow at the end of this message.  We will keep you posted with any news on this matter.

Attached to this email is a copy of public comments before the SCUSD board presented by Putting Students First Community Coalition member, Larry Tagg.  Larry focused on the projected new monies coming into the school district beginning next year thanks to Prop 30 and the Governor’s proposed local school finance formula, specifically:

  • An increase in funding next year by $293/student, or an additional $12.1 million
  • An increase the following year by $450/student or an additional $18.7 million
  • By full implementation in 5-6, years, an increase of approximately 60% of where we are now.

Below, is a link to the Sacramento Bee story on the vote last night by the SCUSD board to pull both Tahoe and Mark Twain Elementary Schools off the closure list.

Finally, several members of the Putting Students First Community Coalition had a meeting last night with noted local civil rights attorney, Mark Merin.   Mr. Merin is studying the SCUSD elementary school closure issue and similar school closures occurring in several large cities around the nation.   As we contemplate trying to stop these closures and their negative impacts on our communities and neighborhoods through legal means, we must ask if there are any organizations/community groups in our network (or beyond) potentially willing to join as plaintiffs with “standing.”   If you are affiliated with such an organization or know others who may be, please let us know.  We have another meeting scheduled with Mr. Merin very soon.

Lori Jablonski

School board trustees/Superintendent Raymond’s contact info:
Jonathan Raymond
Board President Jeff Cuneo
Board Member  Patrick Kennedy
Board Member Diana Rodriguez
Board Member Darrell Woo
Board Member Gustavo Arroyo
Board Member  Jay Hansen
Board Member  Christina Pritchett
Student Board Member Katrina Ye

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