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Communication from Superintendent Bruce Burns 5/26/20
Posted 5/26/20

 

Dear Parents and Guardians,

 

I hope this letter finds you and your family healthy and enjoying time together. 

 

As the 2019-2020 school year closes we are all facing continued uncertainty about the future. The uncertainty requires the Moraga School District to plan for different school reopening scenarios and to do so in an historic funding environment.  Throughout our planning, we have sought your feedback, and we will continue to do so to prepare for the 2020-2021 school year.

 

June 9, the District will present to the Governing Board an update on planning for the 2020-2021 school year.  The presentation will include information on school safety, reopening timelines, path to reopening, priorities, learning scenarios, technology and operations.  Plans currently under development to reopen school include potential scenarios for a full distance learning mode, a blended or modified format where students attend school for part of the week and complete assignments via distance learning for the remaining part of the week, and finally a scenario where schools reopen with no or limited restrictions.

 

The final decisions about school reopening in the fall will be made with many local considerations such as teacher and parent input, student health and safety, staffing requirements, budget considerations, and state educational and instructional mandates.

 

The Moraga School District continues to monitor state and local public health directives and I continue to meet weekly with Dr. Rohan Radhakrishna, Contra Costa County Department of Health Services, for guidance and updates regarding the reopening of schools.

 

The challenge of reopening schools in an era of uncertainty is compounded by Governor Newsom’s 2020-2021 CA State May Budget Revision which calls for a historic 10% decrease in the per-pupil base grant every school district receives.  While the MSD anticipates a decrease of approximately $700 for each student we serve, I anticipate the decrease in state funding will be partially mitigated by means of District reserves.  The MSD Governing Board has been exceptionally prudent over the years and while no district is 100% prepared for the massive May Budget Revision reduction in state funding, I anticipate MSD’s budget reductions will be less severe compared to many school districts across the state.  While less severe, any reduction is a reminder that school funding has yet to recover from the Great Recession.  

 

For more information about the CA May Budget Revision, please see a letter written by local superintendents to Assembly Member Bauer-Kahan and Senator Glazer.  Parents, guardians and community members are encouraged to send an email to state officials advocating for the prioritization of funding public education via the CA School Boards Association portal, a process that takes about two minutes. 

 

Approximately 24% of the MSD budget is generated from local funds.  We are incredibly grateful for your continued support of the Moraga Education Foundation and for Measure B, the recently approved parcel tax renewal that ensures MSD will continue to receive $1 million annually.  Your support has never meant more to our students’ education.  Thank you - and MEF is still accepting contributions!

 

Over the past few months, the District has surveyed parents twice.  Distance Learning plans were adjusted according to survey feedback.  We are seeking your input again as we continue to improve distance learning, and we are asking for input to understand your thoughts about starting the 2020-2021 school year and your children’s well-being.  The survey can be accessed HERE

 

Starting the school year with public safety power shutoffs and ending it with a pandemic has redefined an “extraordinary” school year.  Through it all, I wish to commend three sets of teachers.  First, and as all are aware, parents are a child’s first teacher.  To all MSD parents, thank you for leading the class the past few months.  Second, our students deserve thanks as many were thrust into the role of teachers, explaining to parents how Seesaw or Google Classroom worked.   Third, and certainly not last, our MSD teachers deserve high praise and thanks.  Within days, teachers completely converted lesson planning and teaching from inside the four walls of a classroom to the Internet learning clouds.  I am in awe of the incredible community of teachers that make up the MSD!

 

We truly miss our students, staff and families. We will continue to stay in touch. And, we wish you and your family a healthy and safe summer break.

 

Sincerely,

 

Bruce K. Burns

Superintendent