October 10 Education Town Hall Recap
Superintendent Brent Stephens Executive Director of Facilities John Calise, BUSD Board members, parents, staff and Berkeley community leaders came together for an Education Town Hall on Thursday, October 10, at Longfellow Middle School.
Participants learned about three important measures in support of Berkeley public schools that are planned for the March 2020 ballot. After a general overview, participants broke into two groups to learn more details and engage in thoughtful discussion regarding the measures.
Superintendent Stephens explained more about a Berkeley Educator Recruitment and Retention Measure, and led participants in an engaging discussion. This new measure would provide local funding to improve Berkeley public school teacher and other educator salaries in order to recruit and retain qualified teachers, prevent shortages of essential school staff, and address hard-to-staff positions such as Special Education staff, bilingual staff, and STEM teachers.
Facilities Director John Calise discussed the Facilities General Obligation Bond and the Maintenance Special Tax. Facilities bonds provide for new construction, modernization and remodels, sustainability projects, safety improvements and improved learning environments for Berkeley public schools. Berkeley USD has passed Facility bonds in 1992, 2000, and most recently in 2010 with 77.1% of the vote. (Bond measures require 55% voter approval for passage.)
The maintenance tax protects the investment in public school facilities by providing funds to repair and maintain school facilities. This fund, which fully supports the Maintenance Department was first passed in 2000, and renewed by voters in 2010 with 80.9% of the vote. (School district tax measures require ⅔ vote for passage.).
Here are some upcoming opportunities to learn more about these measures in support of Berkeley schools:
- October 17 – Committee Orientation Meeting, 6:00 p.m. at Longfellow Middle School. A workshop providing a detailed look at the BUSD budget will be presented at this meeting.
- November 6 – Board Meeting – 7:30 p.m at the Board Room, 1231 Addison St. The first reading of the measures will be held at this meeting.