Brentwood Union School District Superintendent, Dana Eaton, issued the follow information to families in his district regarding the current status for reopening schools, and the anticipated state budget shortfall for the 2020-2021 school year.
Below is the statement in its entirety:
Dear Brentwood Union School District Community,
May 26, 2020
Last week, California State Superintendent of Instruction Tony Thurmond shared that school districts will be making independent decisions about opening schools in the fall. "There will not be a common opening," Thurmond said in a press conference Wednesday. “Instead, school districts will make their own decisions about when, and how, to reopen.” We are hopeful at the news that the California Department of Education is set to release reopening guidelines this week. Those guidelines are critical for our district to make determinations about the start of school.
The Contra Costa County superintendents continue to meet regularly to discuss issues that impact all of our communities. We have weekly conferences with the Contra Costa County Health Department and will take their guidance seriously in eventually determining when and how to reopen our schools. Any decision about when and how school will reopen will be made by our Board of Education with student and staff safety at the forefront, based on guidance from public health professionals.
When the state guidelines are published, we will work together with our community stakeholders to sort through the many obstacles and challenges that exist. I have seen many versions of “school reopening requirements” that have been floating around social media in the past week. Certainly, some of what I have seen would make it very difficult to reasonably reopen a school. However, we are waiting until the official California guidelines are released to start our reopening planning process. It is critical that we make our decisions based on the official guidelines, with input from our County Health Department and with the perspectives of family and staff stakeholders.
In addition, Governor Newsom released his 2020-21 May Budget Revision predicting more than a $41 billion dollar drop in state revenues. The global pandemic has hit our local, state, and national economies dramatically. Less tax revenue coming into the state means that schools are projected to receive $18 billion dollars less in the state K-12 education funding. Reduced funding of this magnitude will have a historic impact on public schools within California, including our district. State fiscal experts project the impact on education in
2020-21 will be significantly worse than the worst year of the Great Recession. While the state budget process will continue well into the summer and beyond, the potential impact of this unprecedented budget shortfall will have a large impact on our planning and programs.
I sincerely regret that I cannot share more concrete plans with all of you at this time, but I wanted you to update you as to what is taking place. We are hopeful that the state guidelines will soon be published as promised,
and that we will be able to quickly work together to make a recommendation to our Board of Education. I will continue to send information out as it becomes available.
Dana Eaton, Ed.D
Superintendent, Brentwood Union School District