June 29, 2020
Dear Families and Community Members:
I hope this letter finds you and your family safe and healthy throughout the summer months. Thank you again for working together with BCPS as we navigate new procedures and experiences. With your support, we can work together and create the best possible environment for all students.
This week Governor Whitmer plans to address the school community regarding her Return to Learn initiative for the 2020-2021school year. As you know, we sent out a survey gathering your thoughts about returning to school. Parents were overwhelmingly supportive of getting back to school to start the new year. As a leadership team and staff, we are preparing for multiple scenarios. Our main goal is for students to return to in-person instruction in the safest way possible. In the event we need to limit our capacity, we are also preparing for more robust online learning and a hybrid model of in-person and online learning. We are confident that the announcement from the Governor will provide a clear direction that will allow precise planning for the upcoming year. We will then refine our plans to make sure they meet the guidelines. We will keep you informed.
As we continue to watch the unrest within our nation and the world regarding racial injustices, BCPS continues to commit to learning how to ensure a safe, inclusive, and culturally responsive environment for all students. In collaboration with the Kent ISD, BCPS developed an equity statement as we strive to accept our individual and collective roles in creating change. This statement includes resources for talking with children about these important issues. We have a special learning opportunity for elementary students regarding diversity. Through the Summer Brain Gain, our BC staff members will have a diversity book club focused on conversations around diverse cultures, abilities, beliefs, and skin colors. This is a start to educating our students and beginning to create change around racial equity.
Due to the pandemic, there continues to be much uncertainty when it comes to school funding for the fall. The State of Michigan is projecting a shortfall of $1.2 billion for public education in the 2019-2020 school year, with more drastic cuts possible for future years. The deficit would equate to a loss of $650 per student in Byron Center or just over $2.7 million to our schools. We have begun a grassroots campaign to protect funding for our kids. Through the Our Kids, Our Future initiative, we are petitioning Congress to keep kids at the forefront when they are talking about drastic reductions to public education. Please visit their website to gather more information on how to protect the funding of our schools.
As always, I want to thank you for your support as we continue to work together during these unprecedented times. It is because of our partnership that we have been able to continue to succeed as a school community. Seeing Room to Bloom and Bulldog Power back in session these last two weeks have brought so much hope for the future. Your belief in BCPS is evident, and we continue to work hard on behalf of all kids. There will be more to come over the next few weeks, and please feel free to reach out if you have any questions.
Kevin Macina, Ph.D.