Dear BUSD Community,
Public education is facing a crisis in this state, and every district is facing tremendous challenges. California continues to rank among the lowest 20% of states in per pupil funding, and as a result most districts in the state are having to make drastic cuts just to keep their budgets balanced. As you know, BUSD is not immune from these challenges. We cut our general fund budget by $1.8 million this year, and are finalizing another $2 million in cuts for next school year.
As a School Board, we must make painful and responsible budget decisions to keep our district fiscally sound, and at the same time we will continue to speak out and advocate with state policymakers to increase funding for public schools. The funding issues simply cannot be solved on a local level. We met last week and will be meeting again on March 12 with our representatives in Sacramento; we have written op-eds to draw further attention to the issue; and we have organized with union partners, school board colleagues in neighboring districts, and area superintendents to highlight the urgency of full and fair funding for education.
We also recently passed a School Board resolution calling for the Governor and Legislature to make full funding of public education a top priority, with an urgent call to fully fund special education, and to “support wages that address California’s high cost of living for all workers serving California students.”
How can you help?
We need support for increasing the base level of funding for all districts statewide. Please consider emailing your state representatives to let them know the painful reality of the cuts we have to make, and urge them to support our students by funding that would allow adequate compensation for our employees who work so hard every day to serve our students. This website has many great resources for understanding the funding crisis facing our California public schools: http://www.fullandfairfunding.
Here are our representatives’ email addresses:
Assemblymember Buffy Wicks: firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Nancy Skinner: Nancy.Skinner@sen.ca.gov
State Superintendent Tony Thurmond: Superintendent@cde.ca.gov
Governor Newsom can be emailed through a web form at: https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/
Thank you for reading this letter, and for working with us to ensure that public education is fully funded in California.
Vice-President, Board of Education
Berkeley Unified School District
On behalf of the Berkeley School Board