Dear Bonsall School Community,

The Governor’s budget was released last week and it is full of optimism.  For the first time in many years, California is not facing a massive budget deficit.  In fact there is a possibility that public schools might receive a bit more money.   Governor Brown did, however, preface his optimistic presentation with what he called “budget risks” from federal influence on the fiscal recovery, such as the debt ceiling, and sequestration, to court challenges that could derail his intentions to pay down California’s “wall of debt” while increasing funding for public education.  Also, the Governor’s budget must be approved by the legislators, so all the positive outlook might not become reality; we must remember that to get to this point the Governor had to go around the legislators and straight to the people with Proposition 30.  Not having our budgets cut for the fifth year in a row will allow for some stability as we enter some considerable transitions over the next couple years.

Unification of the Bonsall District will follow three periods: interim, design, and implementation; currently we are in the interim phase where we will be technically and legally closing out the current Bonsall Union School District, and beginning the Bonsall Unified School District.  The design phase will begin in the next few months, and this is when community input will be sought.  The implementation period where the Unified District begins for all purposes is scheduled for July 1, 2014. The 2014-15 school year will be when Bonsall will offer 9th grade classes.

The Common Core State Standards will replace California State Standards in two years, so the California Standards Test (CST) will be replaced as well.  The new state assessment currently referred to as the “Smarter Balance” will require much more application of knowledge rather than just recall.  We have been preparing for this, so the transition wont be as tough for Bonsall as many other districts, but it is still a formidable transition toward more critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.

Currently the District is considering the usual alignment of the school calendar with the Fallbrook Union High School District.  Fallbrook will be moving back their start date of August 12, 2013, with the last day being May 29, 2014.  As many of you know, a survey was done to gather input into this alignment decision.  With 226 returns there was a 66% “no” response.  With our own high school coming on and a preference to be on vacation during August rather than June, it appears many in the school community prefer not to align with Fallbrook.   The calendar will be on the Agenda of the Board Meeting of February 13, 2013.

Bonsall enjoys such a tremendous school community.  Just one example was today, when the Bonsall Education Foundation, with the Fallbrook Music Society, brought violin virtuoso Caroline Goulding to give an amazing performance for our elementary students.  Our vision/mission of  “ Academic Excellence and Support FOR (Focus On Results) All Students is unchanged by these transitions, but with the help of the school community we will be looking at new strategies to ensure our continuous improvement into the future.