Superintendent's Monthly Message
Superintendent's Monthly Message
Every spring, I like to assess our school district’s progress and think proactively about the remaining few months of the school year. I’m extremely proud of our teachers and students, who have been diligently preparing for the new, rigorous Common Core state standards. Always ahead of the curve, Union School District has been an early-adopter of the new state standards, and we will be administering the first of the new statewide exams this spring. Although I’m confident that our students are academically well prepared, the Common Core state standards and assessments are internationally benchmarked and require deep conceptual understanding – a radical shift from the bubble tests we have been administering for the past decade. Additionally, because the assessments are computer based and adaptive, to be successful students will need to not only have access to computers but also to be skilled in using devices to keyboard and format answers.
I believe the challenge that the Common Core standards presents to educators and students alike requires our school district to prepare for the world of 21st-century education. We need to provide classrooms that will support innovative, state-of-the-art teaching and learning in order to ensure student success both now and in the future. We have made great strides in adapting the curriculum to meet the challenging Common Core standards, but it is critical that we provide our students and staff the resources and facilities that will support the highest levels of teaching and learning both now and for years to come. To ensure that our students will be prepared for a world that is increasingly more dynamic and complex, the Board of Education has placed a bond measure on the June 3, 2014 ballot which will fund technology, classroom and facilities needs, and student safety.
As a result of a thorough facilities assessment, critical needs to repair and upgrade classrooms for student safety and modern teaching and learning were identified. We visited each school site to understand the unique needs that vary from one school to another, and we solicited valuable input from our parents, teachers and staff in a variety of meetings. Through this process, we developed a Facilities Improvement Plan. To fund the critical projects identified in the Facilities Improvement Plan, the Board voted to place a $125 million bond measure ballot on the June 2014 ballot. The bond would cost local property owners no more than $30 per $100,000 of assessed value annually for as long as the bonds are outstanding.
The bond would complete basic repairs in our schools, including replacing or repairing leaking roofs, replacing outdated fire, safety and security systems, and upgrading classrooms to keep our schools clean and well maintained. As our student enrollment continues to grow, the bond would provide the funds necessary to avoid school overcrowding by adding classrooms and school facilities. To teach our students the skills they need for our competitive 21st century economy, the bond would upgrade classroom technology and science labs, in addition to providing teacher training for new technology.
With a commitment to fiscal responsibility, the bond requires strict accountability measures. A Citizen Oversight Committee and annual, independent audits would ensure all funds are used for voter-approved purposes. No funds could be used for administrators’ salaries. Most importantly, the bond would provide our schools with locally controlled funding, which cannot be taken away by the state.
For more information about the bond measure, please visit our district website at www.unionsd.org, where you can find a copy of the Facilities Improvement Plan, Frequently Asked Questions and an informational Fact Sheet. You may also contact me at (408) 377-8010 Ext. 44201, or firstname.lastname@example.org. I value your feedback and questions as we continue our work to provide an outstanding education to all of our students.
Dr. Jacqueline M. Horejs