Meeting Notes - 12/6/17

Notes provided by FFST member Ethan Smith, Horace Mann School K-8 Music Teacher, BHEA Middle School Director:
We started tonight by being asked to fill out a form to list five key "influencers" in Beverly Hills. Basically The Cabinet is looking for people to help the FFST get its message out using people who are already influential in the community.

After this we were given copies of all the emails that have been sent into the FFST so far via the BHUSD website. There have only been five emails. I did not get the chance to give them a detailed read yet, but a preliminary going over shows that they seem to be parents voicing fears about what they think is going to happen.

Dr. Bregy talked about "Head and Heart" decisions and acknowledged that there is fear of change in the community. He encouraged the members of the FFST to "stay strong" and told us he saw the work that we are doing as important and that he feels he has the right people on the team to do the work.

After this we were presented with a Decision Matrix. This matrix took all of our time this evening and will be posted on the FFST website, complete with our notes, when some remaining information from the Team - and the requested financial information from the Cabinet - is added. The matrix has an X axis with seven possible options to present to the board. They are: Current State (4, K-8 schools), Three K-8 schools and repurpose a property, Three K-5 schools and one 6-8 middle school, Two K-6 schools and one 7-8 school and repurpose a building, Three K-6 schools and one 7-12 school, Two K-5 schools and 1 6-8 school and repurpose a property and One TK-2, 1 3-5, 1 6-8 school and repurpose. The team also added another option: Three K-6, and one 7-8. The Y axis had squares we filled out over the course of the evening: Benefits to students, Operational Budget Costs FTE, Estimated Cost Savings, HR Considerations, Facilities Consideration, Attainable by Fall 2018 Y/N, and Notes. 

The team had many questions and we debated quite a bit.  We asked several questions of Assistant Superintendent of Business Operations LaTanya Kirk-Carter. Why are things so desperate now? Why do we need to do this now? She responded that we've kicked the can down the road as far as we can. In 2009 we were an ADA district and we took in permits because we got money for each student we had. When we became a basic aid district in 10/11 we eliminated permits because we no longer needed them and a base line budget was created. After this the recession took hold and teachers did not get a raise until the 14/15 school year. Although LaTanya said the salary formula is not our problem she said we do have a money problem and we will be out in 2020 in our current configuration.

After we had filled out most of the Decision Matrix, Dr. Bregy told us it would take The Cabinet a while to put together the financial columns, because in order to know what kind of staffing would be needed to implement each plan, they would have to build master schedules for each option. At this point one of the members of the team asked if we would all feel comfortable narrowing down the eight options down to three. We agreed took a vote for our favorites and got the number down to three. The Cabinet said that three options would still take them a while to put together and we ultimately asked them to look at two: Leave things exactly as they are and the 3, K-5 and 1, 6-8 middle school options.

After we made this decision we talked about what we've heard from the community thus far and how they are likely to respond, considering the concerns they've expressed thus far. We decided that we need to be very transparent about the fact that people are likely to say that we had this decision made all along and that we are only just now revealing it. We agreed that continuing to talk to the community as much as possible and presenting facts will be key to helping people feel like we are not working to force anything.