Back To School Letter

Back To School Letter
Posted on 07/22/2021
Welcome BackCUSD Families,

I hope your Summer has been as positive as possible for you all and that your children have been able to enjoy a much-deserved break. As we look ahead to the start of the 2021/22 school year, with all of us very much looking forward and pleased to be able to open up our schools for 100% in-person learning and operations, let me share some district level information with you for awareness and preparation.

Welcoming Students Back---our staff will be demonstrating great care, sensitivity and positivity in helping our students to transition back to 100% in-person learning by providing available supports as needed (academically, social-emotionally). They understand this transition will be challenging for many students (especially those who did 100% Distance Learning since March, 2020) and will be ready to make connections, build relationships and also to identify and address student needs overall.

Social-Emotional Supports---using COVID-relief funding, we are able to add two counselors who will join forces with the two existing counselors to increase supports and services for our TK-8 and SHEC students. With a very strong counseling team already at CHS/GSHS, we have a fantastic structure in place to help support our students. Also, add to this mix established Wellness Centers at our elementary sites (staffed with county support staff to address social-emotional needs of students) and new social-emotional curriculum at our TK-8 sites to help facilitate opportunities to strengthen student supports in this area.

Academic Supports---using COVID-relief funding, as well as general funds, we were able to add 18 teaching positions (positively impacting every school site) and five paraprofessional positions (elementary sites), with an emphasis on targeted academic supports and smaller class sizes. Through strong direct first instruction, targeted academic interventions and other support opportunities we will meet the students where they are, assess and identify areas of need and work to address those learning gaps.

Food Service---we are very pleased that all children are eligible for free meals (breakfast and lunch) this year, due to funding provided through the State Budget. This is a very positive opportunity and service we are able to provide and our Food Service staff is highly motivated to expand their capacity to serve and feed all of our students.

Technology---through effective use of COVID-relief funding, we are able to make sure every student in the district has access to a chromebook at school. As we look to continue to expand our use of technology as a key component of our instructional program, applying the lessons learned and maximizing the distance learning experiences from last year, this is very important resource to be able to provide. We will also be upgrading technology access and use by our teachers though instructional devices, educational programs (software/apps) and professional development.

CUSD Budget---below is a snapshot of our current, and projected, budget figures. As you can see, our current status is very positive and this is due primarily to the significant amount of COVID-relief funding we have received (14.7 million dollars in total). However, as this is one-time funding, once we spend it, it is gone. This, as well as continued declining enrollment projections and increasing annual expenditures results in the downward trend in our revenue. Subsequently, our issues with deficit management will continue---and those issues will become more pronounced in 2022/23.

Multi Year Projections (MYP)…2021-2024
• Revenue (in millions)---33.4 to 31.9 to 32.7
• Expenditures (in millions)---30.7 to 31.7 to 33.1
• Surplus/(Deficit)--- +2,001,239 to (-195,468) to (-322,246) (new deficit target)
• Reserves---17.10% to 16.15% to 14.79%

COVID Funding---of the 14.7 million dollars we have received, we have been able to do some very positive things to strengthen programs and operations.
• 3 million spent out of first wave of state/federal funding (from March 2020)---operational response to COVID (Maintenance, Food Service, Transportation, Health Services, PPE), technology, etc
• 1.5 million to technology (devices, connectivity, instructional materials/equipment)
• 2.8 million to facilities (HVAC, roofing, flooring, deferred maintenance projects)
• 3.1 million in staffing for two years (3 counselors, 15 teachers, five paraprofessionals)
• 900,000 used to free up general funds for the CHS Track/Field
• 600,000 in staff compensation (two one-time agreements)
• Other---miscellaneous site materials already purchased (furniture, instructional, etc.)

An important reminder that this funding is one-time in nature. So any of the above expenses that are ongoing in nature (staff positions, primarily) will not be able to be funded after the 2022/23 school year and will be eliminated accordingly, unless additional funding is provided by the state or federal government.

Grade Changes (High School)---new legislation was approved that stipulates that students at CHS and GSHS will have the right to request letter grades earned last year be changed to a Pass or No Pass designation. Specific information on process and timelines will be communicated from the schools.

COVID Protocols---a reminder that all students and staff are required to wear face coverings when attending school and in indoor areas. Students who need a face covering will be provided one and students who refuse to wear one will be addressed as needed until resolution and compliance can be achieved. We will work with the students with sensitivity and respect to inform, educate, counsel and support this direction to start with. Informal and formal meetings with parents will follow and students who continue to demonstrate a willful disregard for the required health/safety protocol could face being excluded from some non-instructional events/activities (recess/breaks, school-based social events), and in extreme cases, students may be excluded from attending school on campus for failure to comply with the health and safety requirement (leading to a likely referral to SARB for additional support measures). A reminder that the “mask mandate” is a state directive for all schools/districts, as issued by the California Dept of Public Health---this is not unique to, or directed by, Calaveras Unified. Along with the mask mandate, we will continue to emphasize good hand hygiene (use of sanitizer, washing), follow updated quarantine and testing protocols when necessary and work to make sure students who are symptomatic stay home until they are cleared to return. Keeping our schools safe and fully open and operating for all is a team effort and we thank you all for working with us on this.

The start of any school year is a time of extremely positive energy and of a significant dedication of time and effort by staff to be ready to roll on Day One. After the challenges faced in 2020/21, and the tremendous work done by our dedicated staff to continue to create growth opportunities for students, our mindset to move forward together to make this year as strong and productive as possible is locked in. Our staff is highly motivated to welcome back all of our students to start the 2021/22 school year and we will do all we can, with the resources and capacity we have, to create opportunities every day for our students to learn, grow and prepare for life.

Thank you for your partnership in this collaborative effort.

Mark Campbell
Superintendent/Calaveras Unified School District

Make Every Moment and Every Day Matter for Every Student!

Back To School Packet