As Spring approaches we are well into the school year. During the course of my duties I have had the opportunity to visit many classrooms. I have observed that within Sunnyvale School District there is a climate of high expectations and intense support of student learning every day in our ten schools.
I believe educating our next generation is a most honorable profession; However I also believe that in today's society teachers are often overlooked and play somewhat of an understated role in our communities, state and country. This should not be so! Our Sunnyvale School District teachers are professional, hard-working and masterful in what they do and they deserve to be honored, supported and respected. Teaching, in my view, is truly a noble profession. I want to thank the Sunnyvale Chamber of Commerce for publicly recognizing one of our finest teachers. San Miguel 5 th grade teacher Elizabeth (Liz) Hernandez received the Educator of the Year award at the annual 2012 Murphy Awards dinner. Congratulations Liz Hernandez for the well-deserved recognition!
As we head into spring we continue to monitor issues around state funding to school. We remain in what I believe to be the longest period of instability and uncertainty making it ever so challenging to plan well for the coming years. Fortunately, we have been proactive with our financial management. In the past three years, the district has cut about $2 million from its budget in response to the state budget crisis. This was a result in cuts in staffing, primarily through a hiring freeze, attrition, reconfiguration of management staff, adjusting sizes and scheduling of classes. In spring 2011 we successfully passed a parcel tax that produces about $1 million annually to protect district programs that support student learning. All of this is a lot and we thank our community and employees for supporting these efforts.
The question currently under consideration is have we done enough? As I stated above we are monitoring all potential funding sources for 2012-2013. We know that we will not be laying off employees, but will likely need to continue to draw upon reserves, and continue to work with our community and employees on agreeable solutions going forward. I can assure you that we will do our best to be deliberate, collaborative and wise in our planning of any budgetary actions. I will also do my best to keep all stakeholders informed on funding developments as they occur.
In the meantime, we must continue our work to fulfill our district's mission to prepare all of our students with the skills and knowledge to succeed in their educational pursuits.
Benjamin H. Picard, Ed. D.
Superintendent of Schools