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1980 - Saugus Train Station relocated to Heritage Junction [story]


State of the District Series

Dr. Colleen HawkinsWelcome All to the Saugus Union School District State of the District Series.

In 2007, the world experienced a recession that has altered everything from how we do business, to how we run our personal finances, to how we plan for the future. Like the Great Depression did for our grandparents and great grandparents, the Great Recession changed forever how we think about the future and how we operate in the present.

Education has tried to climb out of the devastation left by the Great Recession, but the effects of it are still part of our daily lives and they influence the decisions we must make for the future. The State of California changed its funding model to allow for more local control and to help schools better address their individual needs. In 2013, Governor Brown proposed a new school funding model that would allow great flexibility for local education agencies (LEA) that he called Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). This complex multi-tired formula credited districts with basic funds and with supplemental funds to best serve their unduplicated students (English Learners, Foster Youth, and socio-economically disadvantaged). This formula allowed all districts to “determine their own adventures” by working with their local stakeholders to budget the funds they received.

The Local Control Accountability Plan or LCAP was the next tool California used to address its climb out of the devastation experienced during the Great Recession. The idea behind local control was that stakeholders (parents, students, associations, community members, etc.) would have more input into the kinds of programs and services their local school districts offered to students and families. To that end, SUSD has participated in the LCAP development process since 2013. We continue to refine and develop that plan to address the 8 State Priorities and the various required metrics that create the California Dashboard. While we have seen some success there is much work to do.

We are, still, in a constant state of challenge. School Districts are being fully funded for LCFF, but only at the same level as they received in 2007. As a result of the lay-offs, young people decided not to go into the teaching profession and hence we have a great shortage of teachers. We also have our current educators who are reaching a mature age where retirements are eminent. Employers and employees are faced with rising retirement contributions (e.g. Employer contributions for 2013 and 2019: STRS – 8.3%/18.1%; PERS – 11.4%/20%). Housing prices are again on the rise, and families are moving to areas where housing is more desired and more affordable. This creates declining enrollment in many long standing school districts across the state. Saugus Union is a district that is experiencing all of these things. Each of them alone is a challenge, but together create complex issues that the District will need to face over the next few months, and find solutions for over the next few years.

To help all members of the Saugus Union family (parents, community members, and staff) understand what the challenges are and how the District will work to address them, I am creating our State of the District Series. This series is designed to provide information on a range of topics, ask questions of people, provide forums for discussion, and communicate how we will both meet and overcome these challenges together. The following topics will be address during the month of March, 2019:

Session 1: School Employees Early Retirement Program (SERP), the Budget, and Class Sizes

Session 2: Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment – the future in SUSD and Science Instruction (NGSS)

Session 3: Facilities, Safety and Security

Session 4: Mental Health, Social Emotional Learning (SEL), and Positive Behavior Supports Intervention (PBIS)

Session 5: New Programs – the future of SUSD school sites

I hope you will take the time to review these posts each week, I hope you will arrange the time to participate in the community forum events we are planning for this spring, and I hope that you will participate in the District’s LCAP development process.

Remember that Together WE Achieve More!

Dr. Colleen Hawkins is superintendent of the Saugus Union School District.

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