Sacramento City Unified School District
On January 19th, 2017, Jose Banda announced his resignation as Superintendent of the Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) in June of this year.
A town hall meeting was conducted at John F. Kennedy High School on Wednesday, March 1st, where parents and students were encouraged to give their input on what kind of superintendent they would like to see replace Banda.
Many of the concerns revolved around a lack of community outreach and involvement on the part of the superintendent.
“I would like to see the superintendent develop a […] strategic plan for broader and [more] insightful community involvement,” said community member Caroline Cabias.
This concern was stressed throughout the meeting by participating students and parents.
“I’ve been a student of this district for 12 years now and I only recall seeing the superintendent once,” said SCUSD student Christopher Wong. “I’d like to see a stronger connection between the students and the district.”
“I think there needs to be a better connection between the parents and the district,” said an attending parent.
Concerns were also expressed over the lack of community involvement in the process of selecting the superintendent. The possibility of creating a community panel to interview candidates for the replacement superintendent was raised, to which Special Assistant to the Board Nathaniel Browning responded:
“It’s confidentiality purposes. We cannot have three potential, five potential superintendents come because we’re only going to end up hiring one. That means others are going to have to go back to their districts.”
“You can have a written agreement that talks about ensuring confidentiality,” replied an attendant. “Our message to you, and to the board, and some of the staff is that we want to see community stakeholder involvement in the selection process.”
The comments and concerns of meeting attendants were written down as they were raised at the meeting. These notes are posted on the SCUSD website, where notes from other town hall meetings are available as well.
The meetings following the John F. Kennedy town hall are as follows:
Rosemont High School – March 7th, 2017 – 6pm to 8pm
Will C. Wood Middle School – March 8th, 2017 – 6pm to 8pm
Luther Burbank High School – March 9th, 2017 – 6pm to 8pm
American Legion High School – March 14th, 2017 – 6pm to 8pm
In 2015, California’s high school dropout rate was at 10.7 percent while graduation rates went up. As encouraging as that is, with more than one out of every ten students dropping out, a long term solution to get that number even lower could be getting students help in school from a young age.
Sacramento Area Congregations Together, otherwise known as ACT, is looking for help from the community to pass Measure G, which aims to help those who are falling behind or at risk of dropping out.
“Measure G asks voters who live in the Sacramento City Unified School District area (which includes areas of the City of Sacramento and non-City neighborhoods) to approve a $75 parcel tax on properties in order to fund the expansion of successful programs, including art and music enrichment, services for struggling learners, and vital initiatives that make schools more positive learning environments for staff, families and children,” said Jason Weiner, a parent volunteer and organizer whose children are in the SCUSD. “The tax would end after six years, senior citizens would be exempted, and the measure will also create a Citizens Oversight Committee to ensure all funds benefit children most in need. It was placed on the ballot by a unanimous vote of the SCUSD Board of Education.”
The measure is essential to help kids who are behind and shows the importance of early education. It also helps to reduce suspension and expulsion rates of minorities while offering an abundance of support from staff in areas other than school.
To provide light on the measure and get the community involved, volunteers and organizers for ACT are holding meetings and phone banks to get the word out. Their next meeting will be held later next month.
The community will have a huge impact on this measure, given that they are the voters. ACT needs all the help and support it can get to help struggling students get the assistance every child deserves.
“The most important thing is to share information about Measure G with your friends and colleagues who live within SCUSD boundaries,” Weiner said. “Measure G is likely to be at the bottom of a long ballot, and many people won’t know ahead of time what it is and why it is important for our students’ future.”
Community members or anybody who would like to get involved, call Sacramento ACT at (916) 389-8990 or email email@example.com for more information.