My address to the governing board on April 14th, 2009

Thank you for the recent improvements to your website. Communicating with parents is critical to their involvement. The changes you've implemented have already made it easier for me to get the information I need.

I'd like to make two more suggestions:

First...

I think you need a written, district level, parent involvement program developed jointly with parents. I'm not sure if one exists now. All I can find on your site is a board policy and a parent helpful hints type of document. If the board policy BP6020 is the district's Parent Involvement Program, then it doesn't meet what I feels is the most important requirement of being "jointly developed with parents". The board policy seems to be the CSBAs sample policy. There is no language specific to Beaumont Schools which indicates to me very little parent involvement in the development of the program.

Secondly...

Individual schools also need written organized Parent Involvement programs. Only having programs for parents such as Site Council, PTA, and Latino Family Literacy Project and spending the required 1% of the Title I funds does not make an effective program. There needs to be planning and coordination for the program to be successful. The district's program should support the school's program and help the school recruit parent volunteers and provide resources to support increasing the number of involved parents.

At Brookside we recognize how important volunteers will be in our children's educations over the next few years. We also realize there are a lot of parents now aware of the budget crisis and they want to know how and where to go to volunteer. Many parents don't think they have anything to offer but they want to help. It is important to organize this volunteer sentiment now.

Yesterday our SSC voted to authorize $300 of Title I funds for a parent involvement tool kit to help us build and manage our volunteer pool. We authorized the purchase as long as we could adjust our plan and as long as the Title I funds were not frozen. Mrs. Elliot contacted the district office and learned we could re-organize our plan but that all funds are still frozen.

I would like an explanation of your spending freeze.

You will be authorizing tonight:

  • $5,000 for new computer equipment

  • $3,000 from Title 1 funds to the Town & Country Hotel for the San Gorgonio Conference

  • $1250 for sending a student ($500) and a the History Day Coordinator ($750) to attend the History Day in California 2009 State Finals in Sacramento

    • I understand the importance of celebrating achievement and I think reimbursing a student's family so they can share in the celebration is something the district should try to fund. I'm not sure I would reimburse the History Day Coordinator's trip during a budget crisis, especially since the family will be driving the student, but that is your decision.




I am sure you can back up your support for each one of these decisions with valid reasons; but I want to know why $300 from Title I funds to start a much needed parent involvement program at our school isn't as important as the other decisions you are making tonight.

Finally...

Priority must be given for funding a Parent Involvement Program even during spending freezes.

Brookside parents are working to develop an organized, written parent involvement program, a program that should have already existed. We are willing to develop the program jointly with the district or on our own.

This is also your decision.