There is a lot going on in Menlo Park schools

by Francesca Segre on September 10, 2021

What happens when your kids go to school?

As a board member, especially on Zoom, I sometimes feel removed from the reality in classrooms. Last week, I got to visit campuses in person! It was such a relief and an inspiration to see what’s happening in real life. I saw happy children playing, learning, eating and enjoying one another. I saw really expressive, dedicated and enthusiastic teachers who are “on” and engaging all day everyday with everything they’ve got. I saw masks on and HEPA filters humming and tables distanced.

I saw innovation – like teachers expediting hand-washing using spray water bottles and soap pumps at the door, then rinsing at the sink. I understood that staggered schedules are helping children have smaller groups for lunch and play. I saw teachers using microphones to amplify their voices behind the masks. And I saw disposable masks decorated by children for an art project. Here are some snap shots of what’s happening when kids go to school.

Teacher & staff vax rate – almost 100%!

At the recent MPCSD board meeting, Superintendent Burmeister reported that 393 of our 404 teachers and staff have been vaccinated. Of the 11 who haven’t gotten the shot, five have medical exemptions.

Budget highlights

Chief Business Officer Marites Fermin presented an annual statement of all receipts and expenditures of the district for the year ending June 30, 2021 (Unaudited Actuals).

Some highlights:

· Our actual operating deficit (168K) for the 2020-21 school year was less than estimated.

· Federal and State funding increased by $2.8 M from the prior year mainly due to one-time COVID-19 stimulus funding.

· Salaries & benefits grew by 6.63% or $3.6M over prior year.

· Local funds continue to be our primary revenue source, accounting for 88% of the total revenues.

Enrollment down

Enrollment was down more than expected as people left the area, but Superintendent Burmeister anticipates it will increase again with new housing development in Menlo Park. Only Encinal had a static enrollment; Oak Knoll, Laurel (LC+UC), and Hillview were all down.

Author Francesca Segre is a member of the Meno Park City School Board; to subscribe to her newsletter, from which this content was taken, click here.


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