A Message From The Superintendent
By Dave LaRose
Culver City School District
We have remained busy during the past several weeks as we continue to focus on our current capital projects, long term facility needs, and enthusiastic preparations for a great start to the 2013-14 school year for students and staff.
Capital Needs: Clarification of Current Status/Intended Next Steps
Due to the volume of inquiries, concerns and a bit of misinformation, the following is designed to bring clarity to our current status and shift our community-wide focus on moving forward. I am hopeful that this message instills confidence and offers assurances that our commitment to addressing our capital needs remains our top priority.
As you know, throughout the past several months we have been very intentional in our analysis of our facility needs. We have developed a comprehensive capital needs assessment and have engaged in an aggressive consideration of a possible ballot measure as early as November 2013. We enlisted a full team to consider this process, including election consultants, bond counsel and financial advisors. We held work study sessions, a community prioritization exercise and conducted a highly structured telephone survey of likely voters within targeted demographic groups. In addition, we created an on-line survey and Q&A link for additional community engagement. We conducted this work as a team with full board support and understanding that we were considering a very important decision within an aggressive timeline.
Ultimately, the collective readiness to move forward with a November
2013 ballot measure was not realized. Understandably, there have been many concerns, questions and disappointment; however, much of this is based on a misunderstanding of what was/was not decided. Therefore, it is important to make very clear:
The Bond is not "dead." The full board has never wavered in their recognition that our capital needs are significant. The uncertainty and requests for additional information should not to be perceived as a lack of intent to pursue a future ballot measure.
I am working with the full support of the board to find a time to host a Work Study Session prior to our August 27th Board Meeting to specifically address our Capital Needs, Ballot Measure Options and shared commitments for Next Steps.
Our district team, with the direction and support of the full board continues to aggressively and more deeply articulate our needs and
o We are currently addressing capital needs projects throughout the
district - above and beyond the exciting work being done for Solar Power and our Athletic Complex. Our development of a comprehensive needs assessment was not solely focused on a bond measure - this is to guide a more strategic approach to addressing facility needs, establishing project priorities and dedicating resources for our areas of greatest need.
o We are working with our Capital Projects Management Team to:
breakdown our needs assessment into specific themes (i.e. Health and Safety, Teaching and Learning, Technology); create sample site-specific projects; and develop project scope/cost analysis.
o Clarifying Options - we are developing a factual analysis of funding
options, as the board recognizes we will need community investment to fund the work ahead. Therefore, we need to evaluate and communicate the options, differences, pros and cons to possible ballot measures (Parcel/Bond - terms, tax rates, fund use, passage rates, next available election dates, etc.)
o We will further analyze and develop sample scenarios to consider the
potential implications for tax payers.
As great as the community response has been - from support to disappointment - it is vital that we not lose sight of the ultimate outcome we share - an assertive plan of action to address our facility needs that is understood, trusted and supported by the entire CCUSD community.
As I reflected on the work that has led us to this point, I recalled a powerful scene from the movie Lincoln, where the President is responding to a challenge from a colleague who is displeased with his approach to pursuing a goal that they share - to abolish slavery.
President Lincoln's response compared their clear conviction for a common goal to that of a compass, pointing toward "true north."
A compass, I learned when I was surveying, it'll... it'll point you True North from where you're standing, but it's got no advice about the swamps and deserts and chasms that you'll encounter along the way. If in pursuit of your destination, you plunge ahead, heedless of obstacles, and achieve nothing more than to sink in a swamp... What's the use of knowing True North?
Our "true north" is clear; yet "plunging ahead" heedless of what we have learned will not lead us to our desired destination.
Many thanks to those of you who have been strong advocates of this important work for many months as well as those who have recently reached out to learn more. We will continue to need your support, participation and insight as we thoughtfully and collaboratively move ahead.
As always, please contact me directly at email@example.com if you have any questions.