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Piedmont Unified School District Newsletter - Week 7 Update

September 18, 2023

Dear Piedmont USD Families,

Welcome to week 7! Here we are closing in on the end of September. Below you will find information on the following topics:

  • Strategic Plan - Community Engagement Sessions
  • The Rising Cost of Education
  • Title IX Update
  • Gratitude for PEF
  • Future Topics
  • News & Notes

In Partnership,

Jennifer Hawn, Ed.D.


Strategic Plan: Community Engagement Sessions

Thanks to our parents who have participated in our strategic plan community engagement sessions at Havens and PMS last week. Upcoming sessions include:

  • Wildwood tonight, 9/18 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Beach, 10/10 at 6:30 p.m.
  • MHS, 10/12 at 7:00 p.m. (virtual)
  • PHS, 10/13 at 9 a.m.

If you cannot attend your school's session, please join us at any of the other sessions. We look forward to seeing you there!

Rising Costs for Schools

One budget fact that I have been digging into is our rising costs in PUSD. This is a challenge for most school districts, including PUSD. Here are several rising costs for PUSD:

  • $120,000 - Increased cost of power last year

  • $1,531,979 - Increased cost of special education from 2021-22 to 2022-23, a 15.5% increase

  • $733,970 - Increased cost of retirement benefits for staff

  • $211,137 - Increased contribution to health benefits last year

  • $104,000 - State "clawback" of arts funding that was originally offered and then taken back

I am not trying to alarm families or paint a "doom and gloom" picture of our budget; however, the reality is that our costs are going up, and state funding is just not keeping pace. Moreover, the future also presents challenges given our decline in enrollment this year and projected in the years ahead (currently a decline of about 35 students from last year to this year, at a loss of $380,000). Because state funding for schools occurs through enrollment and daily attendance, this concern is real for PUSD and for most districts, as noted in yesterday’s Santa Cruz Sentinel and noted in the Public Policy Institute of California report, Financing California’s Public Schools.

The State has provided a 8.22% COLA on state funding, but remember, only about 61% of the PUSD budget is made up of state funding. The other 39% is local funding that does not earn COLA. This fact combined with the increased costs above is why providing staff with an 8.22% raise is not possible at this time. At our last Board meeting, we shared the unaudited actuals, which show $422,300 left over in the budget for this year, which assumes no unanticipated costs. If we provide this full amount to staff, it comes to about 1.5% for a raise.

We are very interested in exploring every option for maximizing our budget to accommodate our rising costs, and we are committed to providing a competitive salary for our staff.

Title IX

We are holding our next Title IX meeting next Wednesday, 9/20 at 2:00 p.m. At the 8/23 Board meeting, several members of the task force presented an update regarding our launch of this year's continued effort to ensure gender equity and an equally great experience for our female and male athletes at PHS. We have organized into subcommittees, including students, parents and staff. Subcommittees have examined the budget, the benefits data, general experience, and communication. At the 9/20 task force meeting, the subcommittees will report out, which will drive our next steps. We also plan to bring an update to the Board at the 9/27 Board meeting where each subcommittee will present.

Gratitude for PEF

We are grateful to PEF for presenting a check to PUSD for $3,292.000.00 at our September 13th Board meeting. PEF also announced the launch of this year's annual giving campaign, starting Tuesday, September 19th. Stay tuned for more information about various fundraising events. We are so grateful for the efforts of Giving Campaign Co-Chairs, Kim Hunter and Catie Osborn, along with the entire PEF Board and staff for their efforts on behalf of our schools. Thank you to our community for your support!

Future Communication Topics

Future topics include an update on our school calendar survey results (still in progress...coming soon) and information on our budget. If you have topics you are particularly interested in, please reach out to me at jhawn@piedmont.k12.ca.us.

PUSD News & Notes

Latinx/National Hispanic Heritage Month - September 15th through October 15th is recognized by the PUSD and the CDE as Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month. We celebrate our LatinX students, staff and families this month and ALWAYS.

Witter Field Renovation Project Updates - For updates on the Witter Field Renovation Project, please go to our Facilities page on our PUSD website. The 9/1 update is available now.

Community Pool Construction Update - Safety measures around the Community Pool Project construction site on Magnolia Ave. across from PHS/MHS are currently in effect. Visit the City of Piedmont's website for details.

Work for PUSD - PUSD is seeking candidates for a variety of positions. Visit the District's Edjoin page for a complete list of jobs available and to apply online.

Substitutes Needed - Support students while earning up to $200/day. PUSD seeking substitute teachers for the 2023-24 school year. Visit the District's EdJoin page for more information and to apply.

Follow PUSD - Please read our school newsletters sent out weekly for update to date information. The District Facebook (@piedmontunified), Twitter (@piedmontunified), Instagram (@piedmontusd) and Threads (@piedmontusd@threads) pages are active.