Dear Bonsall School Community

It is that time of year again when we are all preparing for the California Standards Test (CST) to gain a summative view of student learning in Bonsall during the 2012-13 school year. This helps the District make strategic decisions that maintain our momentum of continuous improvement toward academic excellence and support for all students.  We should only be using the CST one more year while we transition to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and then we will shift to another assessment to see how well our District is doing in preparing our students in gaining the skills and knowledge required for competing successfully in the 21st century. The following link will take you to the K-8 California Common Core State Standards Parent Handbook:

http://www.ccsesa.org/sysadmin/documents/CCSParentHandbook_020411.doc

At the last Board Meeting on April 18. 2013, it was decided to postpone the placement of portable classrooms at Bonsall West to deal with the increased number of students.  A number of factors contributed to that decision; the most notable being the Department of School Architects recently changing the construction process, thereby increasing the cost considerably while making it more difficult to have the project completed by next fall. Also, interdistrict transfers into Bonsall West are a substantial part of the growth in numbers stressing capacity there, so we might be able to address the problem by limiting those numbers.

Another factor is the Governor’s proposed change to school funding that is still being worked out in the legislature.  His decision to replace revenue limits with what is called the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) leaves us even more uninformed as to what our funding for next year will be.  California is almost at the bottom of spending per student in the USA, and Bonsall Union School District is in the bottom fifteen percent of funding per student in California.  We have to be very careful with our budget!  It seemed prudent to postpone the decision to spend much more than was anticipated until we have a better understanding of how the LCFF will impact our future funding.

This Governor’s proposed shift in funding California schools also creates unknowns for our unification funding because the laws related to district reorganization need to be changed to shift from revenue limit to the LCFF.  This is another unknown as we negotiate with Fallbrook High Union School District regarding the split of assets of approximately 18% of their assessed value.

It’s that time of year when we survey the students to determine what is working to help them learn, what is hampering their learning, and what ideas they have to improve their learning.  Reviewing the responses is an interesting experience; the responses for improving student learning range from the amusing, “ponies!” and “ice cream”, to thoughtful consideration of mobile technology use and varied instructional strategies.  The data the student voice provides is important to District decision-making.  The parent, and teacher surveys will be coming toward the end of this month.

Thank you so much for reading this blog, it is an important link in the chain of communication required in a high performing school district.  Being able to explain why the District is moving in a particular direction eases uncertainty and generates a more agile and adaptable school community.  Misinformation, whether through media or rumors can hamper the effectiveness and waste time in damage control caused by exaggerated speculation.  I’m not sure why, but some people love the emotional response they cause when spreading rumors. School communities are complex and sometimes the misinformation can damage their positive direction.

Thank you again.

Yours,

Justin Cunningham Ed D

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