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The Cloverdale Unified School District Board of Trustees is slated to have a busy meeting on Wednesday, June 17, as it reviews the district’s next budget and considers approving a new district superintendent, among other items. The meeting will take place over Zoom. To get the link, click here

After about a month of continuing discussions and interviews, the district has selected a new superintendent and will be voting on and announcing its choice at the meeting. The board will also be considering a revised superintendent salary. Current CUSD Superintendent Jeremy Decker is scheduled to leave the district at the end of June, since he’s taken a new position as the superintendent for the Windsor Unified School District. 

The last item on the meeting’s agenda, and perhaps the one that will take up the most time, is a discussion surrounding upcoming budget cuts, due to a decrease in funds as outlined from the governor’s preliminary budget. The trustees will be discussing a three-year projection of the budget. Since the governor’s budget won’t be finalized until after the district’s budget is due, the CUSD only has a partial view of what funding will look like. However, the agenda item for the budget states that, “it is anticipated that cuts may need to be discussed.”

This possible round of budget changes comes on the heels of other reductions that the district discussed shortly before the pandemic hit, resulting in numerous cuts, including the board voting to give notice that it intends to lay off the district’s Director of Curriculum, Steve Charbonneau. Charbonneau’s final dismissal is also listed as an agenda item for the meeting.

The trustees will also be receiving a presentation on the progress of the district’s Measure H construction projects, considering annexing the district’s undeveloped property into the city of Cloverdale (the property’s annexation will be part of an area-wide annexation along with the property owned by the Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians). 

To view the agenda for the meeting, click here.

(5) comments

Bumpa

You raise excellent points - each more than worthy of discussion. Thank you, Gibson...

Gibson

Fair enough - and there are plenty of sources to read and conversations to be had about how we fund schools. I guess what I’m wondering about is the need for armed officers from the police handling calls regarding issues of, for example, homelessness, addiction, domestic violence. There are many examples of communities who have taken those issues out of the purview of the police, who themselves complain that those issues shouldn’t belong to them in the first place. Can we at least look at how much time is spent on what so we can talk about what we want policing to look like? Saved funds might not go to schools, but they could go to Community Safety that isn’t police. I’m no expert but there are many at work on just this. Doesn’t Cloverdale deserve the best future we can imagine?

Bumpa

Let's be sure to realize that funding of municipal service - among those services, police protection - come from sources and pathways that are separate and distinct from sources of funding for schools. Also, know that the governing boards for cities (such as Cloverdale) are separate and distinct from those boards that govern school districts. So while one may wish to redirect funding from from this municipal service or that municipal service, that rejiggering of priorities will not necessarily account for more funding for schools.

Sources for school funding are primarily state dollars, local dollars and some grants from federal and other sources including fund raising by local foundations. Cities have their hands full; as entities themselves, cities do not (nor could they afford to) contribute to school district budgets.

That said, at the federal level, priorities could be shifted from such things as our bloated defense system and redirected to school districts. A small reduction in Pentagon spending, I suspect, could make a big difference for local-level schools - and their (I mean OUR) students.

Gibson

This is why it’s so puzzling that people are unwilling to discuss defunding the police. A quick check of the Cloverdale budget shows half going to the police. Let’s look seriously at what we spend and where - surely we can do better for our children than to prioritize policing them over educating them. Let’s have a transparent report on how every police dollar is spent, without emotion and recrimination, and then go from there.

Bumpa

Automobile manufacturers deliver automobiles. Farmers and ranchers deliver meat and produce. Utilities deliver water and power. Schools deliver curriculum. To jettison the individual central to the delivery of a school district's most critical "product," speaks to the sad state of affairs that is school funding in California. Having served as a district-level curriculum leader for five years, I know that Boards of Trustees have limited options during tough financial times. The curricular leadership void that will be left by this unfortunate circumstance may have long-term impacts on our community's children's education; but the fault lies deeper than a Broad decision. Rather, it speaks to our state's collective inability to rally around our school and view education as the portal to a better and more secure future for all of us.

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