Superintendent's Monthly Message for February 2017
I am not quite convinced it is already the 1st of February. But it’s true; the first semester is complete, and students at the high school level are moving quickly into the second semester, which for our seniors brings forward the reality that just four and a half months remain for their high school experience.
Each week as I visit school sites I am so impressed with the quality of our students’ academic performance and continued character development. There are incredible things taking place in our schools and classrooms. Our staff does an incredible job providing a top-tier education program, and our students regularly demonstrate courage, creativity, grit, and passion. I feel very blessed to be a part of a this team in Martinez Unified.
Our community is such an integral part of our schools. For example, this community has passed bond measures to help us build new school facilities and repair/renovate our aging facilities. Our community has supported parcel taxes to assist with funding certain aspects of our programs. These funds provided by our community are the funds that we can truly call “local” funds, and they are not subject to change based on how the state of California funds schools each year. I am so grateful for the community support we receive and for the amount of local funding provided by our community. This local money has specifically designated purposes, as it should be.
Recently the Martinez Education Foundation funded grants totaling $145,968 to teachers and staff throughout the Martinez Unified School District. Schools receiving grants include Alhambra High School, Martinez Junior High, Morello Park Elementary, Las Juntas Elementary, John Swett Elementary, John Muir Elementary and Vicente Martinez High School/Briones School. I am hopeful you will join me in thanking MEF for their continued support of our schools, our students, and our staff. This is another example of how we truly are better together!
I wish we could count on similar support from our state budget for our students. Unfortunately, some of the desires I have for our district are beyond any of our control. This year’s proposed budget from the governor, based on the governor’s view of slower revenue growth in the state, provides little to no increases in funding for Martinez Unified in the next year. Conversely, the state continues to require that unfunded state liabilities are placed squarely on the shoulders of school districts, employees, and essentially students. Many districts, including Martinez Unified, just finally returned to a funding level from the state that is close to what we received in 2008. As you all know from your personal budgets, the costs of most things in 2017 are not the same as they were in 2008. Despite our state falling close to the bottom of the nation in what it spends per student on education, our incredible staff, students and community find ways to keep MUSD a great place for teaching and learning. I have no doubt that will remain true in the years to come.
School districts are funded with public dollars are not designed to generate revenue. We are designed to provide a free public education. When we receive flat funding and yet are required to pay for unfunded mandates from the state, it is clear to see that maintaining the status quo is not a feasible reality. This is not unique to Martinez Unified; school districts across the state are beginning to find themselves in this position as they begin to plan for the upcoming school year.
Despite the challenges that we recognize related to state funding, we are committed to engaging our community stakeholders in the process of providing input and discussion for our Local Control Accountability Plan. The LCAP is the plan that helps identify how we will prioritize our financial resources provided by the state to best support our students. Your voice in this process is truly valuable, especially now in light of anticipated decreases of available dollars from the state. Please take just a few minutes and complete our LCAP Survey so we can have your input into our school programs, district performance, strengths, and areas of needed growth. The survey can be found here: English Survey: https://goo.gl/0JHh2G Spanish Survey: https://goo.gl/EHb1Cb
Despite the pending challenges related to funding from the state, we have much to be excited about locally thanks to our community. As you will see in the next week, the beams and roof for Building K are being installed since the foundation was completed in the past few days. Shortly thereafter you will see the building really start to take shape and move closer and closer to completion.
I hope to see you soon when I am out visiting our schools or out in the community. Please be sure to review the additional information below!
CJ Cammack, Superintendent
Martinez Unified School District
Parenting Classes Offered
February 16th we kick-off the first of three parenting classes facilitated by C.O.P.E. and hosted at Las Juntas. The three sessions will cover:
- Positive Parenting
Raising Confident and Competent Children
Raising Resilient Children
MUSD will support two 25 parent classes, one delivered in English and the second delivered entirely in Spanish. All TK-8th grade parents are invited, and spots will be filled on a first come first served basis. The meetings will be held on the following dates:
If you are interested, please contact Jessica Conkle at 335-5966. The classes are currently full, but we have started waiting list for potential openings.