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Message from the Superintendent

Rick Letterhead.png

 

Dear SRVUSD Parents and Staff,

 

As you know, we are already planning for the 2018-2019 school year. This is the time of year when we begin to pour over our projected student enrollment numbers for next year to better understand school capacity, staffing and the related budget impacts.

After years of student enrollment growth, we are entering a new era in the San Ramon Valley. Beginning next school year, we anticipate a decline in enrollment that will continue for the foreseeable future. This is not a surprise, because for many years, SRVUSD has anticipated new housing construction to slow down. Less anticipated has been the substantial decrease in the number of families with elementary age children moving into the District. Our projections indicate that, increasingly, new residents in the San Ramon Valley either have teenagers or don’t have children. These factors all contribute to a decline in the number of students enrolling in our schools, especially at the elementary level.  It is important to note that when looking at projected numbers, we have already accounted for all remaining new construction planned in our borders. Those students are part of our enrollment projection counts.

 

The good news is that declining enrollment means more space in our schools. In the past, some of our students have not been able to attend their neighborhood school due to capacity issues. For the 2018-2019 school year, we anticipate that all our schools will have enough room to accommodate all resident students.

The other side of declining enrollment, however, is that it equates to a loss of millions of dollars in state revenue over the coming years. The school district receives money from the state based on the number of students attending our schools. Fewer students means less money. In order to lessen the effect on our students, staff and programs, the District is proactively looking at creative options to address this revenue loss. The following topics provide an overview of some of the steps SRVUSD is taking to address these concerns:

 

Family Options: Intradistrict and Interdistrict Transfers

State law gives families the option to transfer to a different school when there is space available. When schools have space, families can choose to transfer to another school within a district (intradistrict transfers) or to transfer to a school in another district (interdistrict transfers).

SRVUSD’s intradistrict open enrollment window is now open for all grade levels. The window for incoming middle and high school students will close on March 15. We have also moved up the timeline for open enrollment for elementary families starting today through April 6. You can find more information about our open enrollment/intradistrict transfer process at www.srvusd.net/transfers.

SRVUSD students will continue to have placement priority in our schools. However, after we place our resident students at their school of choice, because we now have space available, California law requires that we allow students from outside the district to apply to attend our schools (interdistrict transfers). Interdistrict transfers will only be accepted if there is space available. Students from outside the district must maintain acceptable academic performance, attendance and behavior.

 

Explore: Saturday Enrichment Opportunities

School districts in California may make up for lost attendance revenue by providing students the chance to take a four-hour Saturday program. Starting this month, SRVUSD will be taking advantage of this opportunity with a pilot program at some schools. If the pilot is successful, we plan to fully implement the Saturday program in the 2018-2019 school year. The Saturday classes will be stress-free, social and creative classes focused on the joy of learning. We are calling this program “Explore: Saturday Enrichment Opportunities.” These Saturday programs will be offered as age-appropriate opportunities at all grade levels.

The Saturday course offerings will provide some fun and exciting possibilities that will enrich our students’ Monday through Friday educational experiences, and in some cases are already happening. Ideas include Advanced Placement study sessions, SAT/ACT/college application preparation seminars, speech/debate/academic decathlon sessions, plus sports and physical education activities, robotics, science, creative writing, public speaking and arts. These classes will not count towards a grade and will be free and completely voluntary.

Many of these offerings are already in place through the voluntary efforts of our amazing teachers. Through this new program, teachers will now be paid for their time, more students will have access to the offerings, and the District could be reimbursed millions of dollars by the State. Live Oak Elementary, Iron Horse Middle, California High, Dougherty Valley High and Monte Vista High schools will pilot this Saturday program starting this month. The pilot programs will be limited to students who attend the pilot schools. Additional details will be shared by the participating schools in the coming days. We anticipate that next school year all students will be able to attend a program at any school and that all SRVUSD schools will offer Saturday enrichment opportunities.

 

Attendance Awareness Campaign

Another important area we are working on to mitigate the declining enrollment revenue loss involves an awareness campaign about the importance of school attendance. Students who attend school regularly are more engaged in their learning and their school community. Their attendance also has a positive impact on the budget. Every time a student misses school, SRVUSD loses funding from the state. Even parent-excused absences result in a loss of funding. If the student is not at school, regardless of the reason, the district does not get paid.  SRVUSD has been fortunate in having a very high attendance rate over the years, with the 2016-2017 rate being 96 percent. While that is a great number, when faced with declining enrollment, it would benefit everyone in the District, including students, teachers, staff and parents, to improve our attendance.

Of course, we never want students to come to school if they are ill. But there are many other reasons why families choose to not send children to school, including family vacations, youth sports or personal reasons. While it cannot be helped that a student misses school due to illness, we ask our families to consider what their healthy children miss when they are absent from school. It is nearly impossible for a student to make up an entire day of instruction while out of school. We will be working on an attendance campaign to raise awareness among our families. If you have ideas, please contact Communications@SRVUSD.net.

 

We are being creative with our approach to funding resolutions to help with the decline in revenue. We hope you take advantage of our Saturday programs when it is available at your school, as well as being mindful about students missing school unless they are ill. We will continue to look at other ideas to ensure that we can maintain the excellent offerings that our community has come to expect.

 

Regards,

 

Rick Schmitt

Non-Discrimination Statement

San Ramon Valley Unified School District programs, activities, and practices shall be free from unlawful discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying based on actual or perceived race, color, ancestry, national origin, ethnic group identification, age, religion, marital or parental status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or gender expression; or on the basis of a person’s association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics.

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