By Brittany Hanson/Garden Grove Journal
Although school is only in session for nine months out of the year, it takes a full 12 to keep the system running. This year has been a very busy one for the Garden Grove Unified School District.
A teetering state budget with education cuts, an in-district budget crisis, a big anniversary, high-scoring schools and a bond issue topped the list of happenings for GGUSD’s year.
The statewide budget issue this year left a gap of $26.3 billion that would be met by shortening jail time, cutting from education, hiking college fees and digging into health care.
Educators at GGUSD felt the pinch at the tune of about $6 billion in cuts to education, leaving the business department, with Dr. Sue McCann as its assistant superintendent, to find ways to fill in the blanks.
“There won’t be enough to operate if we keep going at this rate,” said McCann.
Every option was put on the table to try to find solutions to save money and keep programs and services in place for students.
In order to get significant change to help meet the needs of the district, there would have to be salary cuts, jobs left unfilled and a weeding out of what the district wanted versus what it needed.
Seats remained empty and wages shrunk. Some adult education programs closed in order to keep funds for the district.
Even with preparation for this kind of a budget issue starting two years ago, the sting was still painful.
On a lighter note, Bolsa Grande High School welcomed its 50-year anniversary. The high school, located on land once an airfield, now boasts a massive student population that is highly involved with each other in person and online. This is a far cry from the by-gone years of students trucking into the mildly remote location to watch raucous games of donkey basketball.
Now, students are much more likely to be involved in music or dancing clubs, as opposed to days of yore when the most popular club was the aircraft stunt pilots club.
GGUSD also trotted out to the winner’s circle this year when the U.S. News and World Report listed six of its seven high schools in the top 100 for the nation.
Although none of the schools were listed in the gold medal category, Bolsa Grande, Garden Grove, La Quinta, Los Amigos and Santiago High Schools were given the silver medal.
Rancho Alamitos and Western High Schools were given the bronze medal.
The classifications are based on college readiness achievements, which is the number of students who take and pass the Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses which give college credit.
The most recent item of news for the end of the year in GGUSD is the possibility of a school bond, which is a bond trust between the school district and the community.
In order to meet facilities modernization needs across the district, the district requires financial backing for infrastructure projects. Considering the budget crisis in the state that dips directly into education funding coffers, GGSUD came up with this idea as a possible answer to keep the educational ball rolling.
Over the next few months, a poll will be taken of the community to see if the people of Garden Grove would support buying a bond to help fund the schools.
Data will be collected and analyzed in order to best determine what to do and how or if to act.
Even though this potential bond is the last big move for 2009, it very well may be thefirst big step in 2010.