Letter to OVSD Families Sent March 26, 2017

  • RE:          Measure R Modernization and School Consolidation

    Dear OVSD Families,

    The Ocean View School District has resolved many significant challenges over the past two years by collaborating with families and staff, and keeping everyone informed about important decisions. With the leadership of our Board of Trustees and Superintendent’s Executive Cabinet, we have successfully modernized and reopened Hope, Lake, and Oak View Elementary Schools, passed a $169M school general obligation bond last November, created a comprehensive online Facilities Master Plan, and made a commitment to you to responsibly manage future facilities and fiscal endeavors. The same approach guides us as we begin to discuss the important decisions we face between now and the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year regarding bond modernization projects, school consolidation, and fiscal stability.

    I am sending this letter to all families to inform you about these discussions and hopefully address any concerns you may have. Please keep in mind that our Board, with the support of District staff, is now in the process of gathering information and stakeholder input as we move forward.

    Background Information

    The topics of Measure R projects, fiscal stability and school consolidation are interrelated, and much of the work will overlap as we address each one. Here are some facts about the District:

    • Our overall student enrollment has declined from 9,600 students in 2009 to a current enrollment of approximately 8,700 students. This significant decline impacts everything we do, from District income, staffing, facility usage, categorical funding, and class configurations in our schools.

    • Our District received positive certification from the county for its 2016-2017 budget and must project the same solvency for the upcoming two fiscal years, despite continued enrollment declines that negatively impact District income. We have implemented many budget cuts to maintain a balanced budget and to improve employee salaries, some of the lowest in the county. Upcoming changes in District income will now impact other practices, such as maintaining very small school sizes.
       
    • The need for fiscal solvency, coupled with projections of reduced income, require our District to analyze overall efficiency, staffing ratios, school enrollments, and school sizes.
       
    • Sun View Elementary School currently enrolls only 250 students; Westmont Elementary School enrolls 330 students; and Ocean View Preparatory Preschool (OVPP)/Pleasant View enrolls 240 students—very small enrollments for a typical elementary school. However, these schools require the same level of teachers and support staffing that is often found at larger schools.

    • With that in mind and as part of Measure R and future bond-funded modernization projects in OVSD, the Board has directed staff to explore the option of utilizing the Sun View Elementary School site and the OVPP/Pleasant View sites to be utilized as temporary housing while other schools are being modernized. The modernization will not begin until the fall of 2018. With this option, students and staff would be temporarily relocated to Sun or OVPP/Pleasant View while their own schools are being modernized. This provides a safe, consistent environment for student learning.


    Solutions Require Strategic Planning

    The complexity of the above referenced issues requires a strategic solution that will be clearly understood by families and employees who are impacted by any upcoming changes. The following information affects such a comprehensive initiative:

    • Our Board is committed to modernizing all school sites in OVSD to the same level of quality found in the modernization projects at Hope, Lake, and Oak View Elementary Schools.

    • Changes of this scope may not be implemented quickly because they impact virtually everyone in the school community, and some aspects are governed by collective bargaining agreements with our employees.

    Staff and Community Engagement Processes

    Two School Consolidation Task Forces are being formed to provide a forum for questions and concerns of families, employees, and community members as our District moves forward with the exploration of temporary housing and school consolidation.  There will be one task force for the Sun View Elementary School consolidation and another for the OVPP/Pleasant View consolidation.

    I will work with parent and community leaders to form the two task force committees. It is anticipated that they will meet two or three times over the next few months, and will continue to advise our Board of Trustees and District administration on questions and concerns prior to any school consolidation in 2018.

    The two task force groups will participate in detailed presentations on finance, school usage, facilities, modernization, and on short- and long-term goals for these areas of District responsibility.  The presentations will prepare the two groups for their important work and will contribute to a comprehensive Board report prior to a public hearing on any formal action by the Board.

    A Districtwide communication plan will be created to inform interested employees and community members about the work of the task force groups, which will also include background information on the issues and dates of public hearings.

    Conclusion

    I will continue to provide regular communication to all families regarding our District, specifically updates on the modernization projects. Our recent District achievements reflect the support and collaborative work of our families, employees, and students throughout the District. I know I speak for our Board of Trustees, and the Ocean View community, when I thank each of you for all that you do on behalf of your children and our schools.

    Sincerely,

    Carol Hansen, Ed.D.
    Superintendent