by Pat Lynch
Only two board trustees of the Conejo Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) attended last Saturday’s event entitled Conference on Public and Private School Options, held at Godspeak Calvary Chapel in Newbury Park. The trustees in attendance were Sandee Everett and Jenny Fitzgerald, with Mrs. Everett actually participating in the conference with a presentation, as well as part of a panel discussion.
Kudos to these two trustees for being the only board members willing to engage with the home school and private school community. The other three trustees (Connolly, Goldberg and Gorback) did not attend. With the current district budget crisis brought on by a decade-long enrollment decline, it is surprising that participation in events like this is not more of a priority for board members and district leadership.
According to event organizers, CVUSD Superintendent Mark McLaughlin RSVP’d that he would be there, but did not ultimately attend.
It is estimated that approximately 7,000 children that currently live within CVUSD boundaries do NOT attend our district schools. That is a significant blow to the CVUSD budget, since the majority of school funding comes from the State and is based on attendance. Those 7,000 children either attend private school, home school, or enroll in neighboring districts.
“If we are serious about increasing enrollment, then we need to do a better job at reaching out to the private school and home school families,” says trustee Sandee Everett. “We need to connect with these families and address their concerns if we are ever going to fix our enrollment problem. The first step is to engage with them and build bridges at every opportunity.”
Mrs. Fitzgerald was also contacted for comment but did not respond. Here is a link to her comments on social media about the conference and here is a link to my fact-checking article about those comments.
Further declining enrollment will inevitably result in school closures and teacher layoffs. The loss of any neighborhood schools is very harmful to our community, as well as to our real estate values.