PTA Update

Hi all– welcome back to school– I hope that everyone had a great holiday break.

Contrary to the January schedule that was distributed in the Blue Folders, there is no PTA meeting in January– our next meeting is on Monday, February 9th. (There IS a school site council meeting this month, though, as shown.)

Despite the break in meetings, the PTA still continues our activity to support our students and school community. We’re moving ahead with the funding decisions adopted at the December PTA meeting– umbrellas are being ordered, and increased funding for other program areas has been approved and, and the school will see the benefit of this soon.

There are two other major issues that our school and district continue to grapple with: school closures and the Portola Middle School relocation. Many Madera parents were at the December board meeting, and continue to be involved in these decisions that will impact our kid’s education, and the school landscape for future generations.

Our district must close schools to save money. If the district doesn’t take action, the state, which administers our budget, will do it for us. District-wide committees have been formed to gather input and make recommendations. Representing Madera are Mrs. Holland, and parent volunteer Lori Dair (thanks, Lori!). These committees will gather input and a decision will be made by February 11th regarding school closures in the district.

Related to this is the question of the closure of Portola Middle School, and it’s proposed relocation to the Castro Elementary school site. At the December board meeting, the school board approved the environmental impact report for this project, allowing the process to continue, but it is by no means confirmed or assured. Opponents who live near Castro school have proposed other alternatives– sending our middle schoolers to Adams, to DeJean, or enlarging elementary schools to K-8 or the High School to 6-12.

If you feel, as I do, that a separate middle school is a critical step in childhood development and adolescence, and that a campus with kids ranging in ages from 5 to 14, or from 11 to 18 doesn’t make sense for many, many reasons, and that El Cerrito, like very other east bay community, deserves its own middle school, and that the elementary through high school feeder programs are critical for pedagical and developmental reasons, then please make your voices heard!

Email or call our school board members and let them know how you feel.

Many thanks, and best wishes for a Happy New Year!

/david