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January 10, 2020 Friday Letter Volume 1, No. 18
Posted 1/10/20

#TogetherWeGrow. . . #JuntosAprendemos…#TogetherWeLead. . .




Welcome to 2020!

     It is absolutely wonderful to have the Mt. Diablo Unified School District be back in session as we start the year 2020! While I am sure that many of our students and their families enjoyed time with friends and family member over the winter recess, there is something to be said about getting back to the routine of a new year, re-connecting with school friends and teachers, and coming to school in a new year. It is a time that is for refreshing and renewing personal commitments for our students. I’ve heard from many of our principals and teachers that they were excited to see students return to our campuses, and they have been looking forward to the positive energy that returns to a campus after the winter recess. While the excitement of the holidays often consumes much of December, as our students return in January, our schools are focusing on helping our students plan the remainder of their school years, focus on personal commitments to excel academically, and even look towards the future for opportunities and access to experiences that will propel them each forward to the success they so richly deserve.


Reviewing our District Budget and Implications for the Future

     The District budget is always in flux, and every few months during a school year there exists a formal level of review of our budget to ensure that we are focused on meeting the needs of our students with the dollars that we have to meet their needs. The District receives most of our revenue from the state in the form of, “Average Daily Attendance,” (ADA). We also receive some dollars form the Federal Government to support us in our endeavors, however, the bulk of our revenue is from the state. The District receives designated amounts of dollars for the students that actually are attending school each day. We use these dollars to pay for personnel costs, materials and supplies, pension costs, operating expenses, and a host of specific costs that continue to rise yearly. There are limited changes to our revenues during a school year, and each of our schools receives limited dollars from the District to support the specific programs that occur at each of our school sites. While we do receive some additional supplemental and concentration dollars to support the needs of students at our particular school sites, again, the bulk of dollars comes through the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) that is provided to the District, and distributed to the schools, and various District programs.


     As with many Districts in the state the funding levels provided to the District are not increasing at the same rate as the rising costs of expenses. In addition, each year, the Governor proposes a budget for the coming fiscal year in January of that year. Today, January 10, 2020, Governor Newsom has released the initial projection of his budget for the fiscal year, 2020-2021. While there are funds included for a Cost of Living Allowance (COLA), these dollars are already designated toward our increases to expenses for pension and standard step and column increases for employees. This does not account for additional increases to standard operating expenses district-wide.


     Next week, several of our Executive Cabinet Members will be attending a workshop in Sacramento, titled, Governor’s Budget Workshop, hosted by School Services of California. This workshop will provide a detailed analysis of the proposed Governor’s budget, discuss many of the intricacies of the proposed budget, and assist us as a District with our Budget Development Process.  At the state level there will be much conversation about the proposed Governor’s Budget, and in May of 2020, the Governor will provide us with a, “May Revision,” to his Budget. This means that even though he has offered a proposed budget, he can change things for next year in his, “May Revision.”


     The next step in the process following the, “May Revision,” is for the legislature to work on the budget and provide an approved budget, coming we hope before June 30, 2020. Then, if there is agreement, the Governor could sign the budget for the fiscal year 2020-2021, or modify an adjusted budget to be implemented. As this process is unfolding at the state level, our District has the responsibility of demonstrating that we can meet our financial obligations for this school year, and the next two subsequent school years, even though we do not know what the state budget has to offer for the next two fiscal years.


     Hence, our District will be working through a Budget Development Process over the next couple of months with the best information we can gather from the state. As a District we will also be working to share information to all of our constituents about the limiting factors that impact Mt. Diablo Unified School District students, namely receiving appropriate funding for the education they deserve. One such movement that is occurring at the grassroots level that is focused on sharing the message for the call for increased funding to education across the state is called, Fund Education Now Week, which is being slated for the week of February 3-7, 2020. More information about this group can be found on twitter @CCCFundEd.


     The future of education for the students of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District, while not solely incumbent on funding, is propelled forward based on the opportunities and access that we can provide to students, and this is directly attributable to the District receiving the dollars needed to support the personnel, materials, supplies, and curriculum, technology, and school sites that are able to meet the needs of our students. As the District Budget Development process unfolds, I ask that you take the time to be involved at your school site, at our community activities meetings, and participate in helping us align our services directly to opening up opportunities and access for students.



Adult School Program Highlight

     Our, “On Track Program,” is one of three programs that serves our district’s adults with disabilities; its functional success is noteworthy and due in part to a high level of activity and community engagement. Highlights from the program’s fall and winter season from the Director of Adult Education, Vittoria Abbate, are in the On Track newsletter here.


Upcoming Family Resource Navigators Conference

     You or someone you know may be interested—Family Resource Navigators in the bay area is hosting a regional conference entitled, “Family, Community Strengthening, and Education.” Find out more here.


Several Activities in My Calendar This Week


Monday, January 6, 2019

  • Met with Wendi Aghily, Director of Special Education
  • Held a Cabinet meeting to facilitate board agenda planning

Tuesday, January 07, 2019

  • Met with Board Member Linda Mayo.
  • Met with Board President Brian Lawrence.
  • Held a meeting with Executive Cabinet.
  • Attended a Special Education Community Advisory Committee meeting.


Wednesday, January 08, 2019

  • Budget Review and Development Work
  • Met with MDEA and CTA leadership
  • Attended the PTA District Council meeting


Thursday, January 09, 2019

  • Presented at the all-Principal’s Meeting
  • Met with DMA leadership
  • Met with District Legal Representative, John Yeh., and Executive Cabinet


Friday, January 10, 2019

  • Met with Tom Torlakson, Regarding Low-Cost Internet Services to the Community
  • Met with Cesar Alvarado, Associate General Counsel.
  • Met with Executive Cabinet Members, Budget Review and Development Work



-Superintendent Dr. Robert Martinez-