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School superintendents: Support our schools, our students and our future

Other Voices
Nevada County school superintendents

It was 10 weeks ago that all Nevada County school districts and charter schools were forced to close their schools to in-person instruction.  The rapid onset and related effects of the global pandemic have tested our county’s public education system to its core. 

However, in the midst of overwhelming challenges, our districts, charter schools, and community have come together to support our students and families. We are humbled and very proud of the commitment our classified staff, certificated teachers, and administrators have demonstrated during this very difficult time.

Since March 13, our county’s educators have been working overtime to meet the needs of our students and families. We launched our distance learning programs in under two weeks of planning, distributed thousands of meals to families in need, wired our buses so families could have more reliable internet connections, conducted countless online support sessions for students and parents, and mobilized our facilities to partner with other local government agencies and nonprofits.

While we have been strong, nimble, and resilient, there are some challenges we cannot readily solve as we confront the broader social and economic effects of the global pandemic. However, we can certainly ensure a future for our youth and their vital role as we begin to rebuild our economy.

We hope that you will join us in standing up for Nevada County’s public schools by communicating to our state and federal representatives to prioritize schools …

Distance learning has not and cannot replace on-campus, in-class, teacher-to-student instruction and the overall education experience students deserve. We will have academic holes to fill when on-campus classes resume. Our school districts and charter schools have been diligently preparing to meet these challenges.

The swift and sweeping fiscal and economic challenges associated with the pandemic, however, are not within our purview or control.

California schools are now being directed to sustain an unprecedented reduction in per student funding with very little help or direction from state and federal policymakers. With bottom lines already strained in response to the pandemic, where can school districts find further draconian cuts?

When the pandemic hit, our districts and charter schools were better prepared than many in California. Nevada County education leaders have been steadfast in our collective mission to set the table for great learning, instruction, and service to our students and families. We remain steadfast to this mission, and will continue to advocate that our students receive the educational services they deserve.

We take our jobs as education leaders seriously. We admire the fortitude of our parents and guardians who have had to step up and be their children’s teachers and coaches these past 10 weeks. Those parents and guardians, more than anyone, recognize firsthand our schools’ challenges as we prepare to reopen our campuses under new rules and paradigms.

There are real-world obstacles we must overcome in the wake of the coronavirus, including increased cleaning and sanitation, rotating class schedules to reduce the number of students on campus at the same time, reduced student activities and sports, and ongoing efforts to address the emotional trauma and escalating anxiety of students.

The challenges are great and we do not have much time to address them.

Gov. Newsom outlined his May Budget Revise last week. If the federal government does not provide additional assistance to our state governments, California education funding can expect more than 10% less funding starting July 1. For most of our agencies, that calculates to a more than $1,000 per student cut. At the same time, our schools are being asked to do more and spend more to do it.

As we plan for the worst, we will continue to advocate at the state and federal levels for increased support for public schools during this difficult financial time. We hope that you will join us in standing up for Nevada County’s public schools by communicating to our state and federal representatives to prioritize schools in the coming state budget and federal COVID-19 response legislation.  

There is much anxiety and uncertainty locally, nationally, and throughout the world. As we enter a new phase in our collective response to the pandemic, we ask that you join us and our community in support of our children’s right to a rewarding and effective public education. Please support Nevada County’s public schools, our students, and our future.

Realistically: is there any other choice?

Brett W. McFadden

Superintendent

Nevada Joint Union High School District

Scott Lay

Superintendent of Schools

Nevada County Office of Education

David B. Curry

Superintendent

Union Hill School District

Erik Fredrickson

Superintendent

Grass Valley School District

Torie Gibson, Ed.D.

Superintendent

Penn Valley Union Elementary School District

Marshall Goldberg

Director

Nevada County Charter Services Authority

Katie Kohler

Superintendent / Principal

Chicago Park Elementary School District

Monica Dougherty

Superintendent

Nevada City Elementary School District

Melissa Madigan

Superintendent / Principal

Twin Ridges Elementary School District

Rusty S. Clark

Superintendent

Pleasant Ridge Union School District

Carolyn Cramer

Superintendent / Principal

Clear Creek School District

Jonathan Molnar

Director

Pitney Prep Charter High School

Erica Crane

Principal / Superintendent

Sierra Academy of Expeditionary Learning

Peter Sagebiel

Director

Forest Charter School

Holly Pettitt

School Director

Nevada City School of the Arts


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