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Message from Superintendent Brian McDonald

February 25, 2018

Dear PUSD Community,

During these tough times of budget reductions, I want to keep you informed about the steps we’re taking to make sure that our schools have the resources they need to continue delivering excellent educational opportunities for all our students.

Thanks to the talent and dedication of teachers, administrators, staff, and families, our district today has strong academic programs that are preparing students to excel in college and the workplace. We’ve made great progress in the last few years, and I am deeply grateful for the contributions each one of you has made.

Like school districts and cities across California, our District is seeing big increases in pension and health care costs,  historic underfunding of Special Education needs amidst rising operating costs, and a continued decline in enrollment. Factoring in  flat or reduced federal and state funding, our District is facing fiscal challenges.  In February, the Board of Education approved a Fiscal Stabilization Plan that has been submitted to the Los Angeles County Office of Education this month.  The plan calls for $6.9 million in mid-year reductions and savings, and more than $12 million in 2018-2019. 

Moving forward, we have to be simultaneously more effective and efficient with the resources and funding we have in the next year. My team and I are meeting with school teams to carefully examine student data on the LCAP (Local Control Accountability Plan) Dashboard and the effectiveness of current strategies. A larger team will work to identify recurring issues and determine the resources, funding, and additional support we can provide to each school. We are aligning our work to the LCAP so that we emerge stronger, more accountable, and better equipped to serve our students.

Families and staff have expressed concerns about the recommendations of the School Consolidation & School Boundaries Committee for schools in 2019-2020.  The recommendations are serving as a starting point for review and discussions by the Board of Education. We are a long way off from any decision about school closures, and stakeholders will have opportunities to weigh in before decisions are made.

We are a community of talented, determined, and dedicated people, and I am confident that we will get through these current fiscal challenges. We will continue building the vibrant academic programs that are having a positive impact on our students and families, and will continue to serve our students well.

Sincerely,

Brian McDonald
Superintendent