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January 20, 2023 update from Dr. Flores: PD day, upcoming orientations and vaccine clinics, weather prep, state budget release and Silicon Valley Reads
GUSD Communications

Happy New Year GUSD staff and families:

We have jumped into 2023 with rain boots and umbrellas!  I hope you all enjoyed the winter break, and are staying warm and dry in the season of weather we have been experiencing.    Our next break from school is February 20-24, 2023, in just a few weeks.

Professional Development Sessions for GUSD staff
Today, our staff members participated in day-long professional development sessions, while students were off from school.  I am very proud of and grateful to our Educational  Services team for putting together a diverse, relevant schedule of offerings for our certificated staff members.  I am also very proud of our classified management team for offering relevant trainings for our paraeducators, bus drivers, campus supervisors and other staff members.

Retirement Announcement
At the January 12, 2023 Board Meeting, I publicly announced that I will be retiring as Superintendent at the end of this academic year after serving the Gilroy Unified School District in this role for the past 16 years.  In total, my career in public education has spanned 48 years. I am really looking forward to the next chapter in my life. 

Prior to my announcement at the January 12 board meeting, I provided early notification to the GUSD Governing Board’s Executive Committee, which enabled them to very quickly take the first steps in the search process.  The entire Board met in Closed Session on January 19 to discuss the executive search firm they will use to find the district’s next Superintendent, and at the January 26, 2023 Board meeting, they will take action to approve a contract with the search firm they selected. 

During the search process, the Board and the staff from the search firm will seek input in various ways from the school community regarding the next superintendent.  You can expect regular communication regarding the process and updates, as appropriate.  I have full confidence in the Board that they will select the best person for the job.

Upcoming Freshmen Orientations
Preparations are underway for the 2023-24 school year (already!), and there are some upcoming events that some of our families should note for their calendars.

Gilroy High School will host the Mustang Expo for incoming freshmen and their parents or guardians on Wednesday, February 1, at 6 pm.  The Expo will be held in the Main Gym.  Visit the GHS Freshman Hub for more information.

Christopher High School will also host the Cougarpalooza for incoming freshmen and their parents or guardians on Wednesday, February 1, at 6 pm.  The Cougarpalooza will be held in the Main Gym.  Visit the CHS Freshman Hub for more information.

Upcoming Dual Immersion Orientations
The Gilroy Unified School District is one of only 19 school districts in California to offer a dual immersion (DI) program for students in grades K-12, and applications are currently being accepted for incoming kindergarteners (the class of 2035!).  Elementary students in the DI program attend either Rod Kelley or Las Animas.

For an incoming kindergarten student to be eligible to enroll in the DI program, a parent or guardian must attend an orientation meeting.  Four dates are available: Tuesday, January 24, at 6:30 pm via Zoom or Tuesday, February 7, at 3:30 pm via Zoom.  Pre-registration is required to attend the Zoom orientations.  Parents or guardians can also attend an in-person orientation on Wednesday, March 1 at 3:30 pm at Rod Kelley Elementary or on Tuesday, March 14, at 6:30 pm at Las Animas Elementary.  No registration is necessary to attend an in-person meeting, but attendance will be verified.

For more information about DI orientations or the program, visit our website.

Inclement Weather Preparation and Mitigation
Thanks to advanced planning and ongoing collaboration, district staff were prepared for the recent storms.  Our custodial and Maintenance and Operations staff reported to sites and district buildings at 5:00 a.m. each day to assess the status of all schools and departments and to address problem areas including flooding caused by clogged drains, leaks, and fallen branches.    Members of our leadership team, including our new Maintenance and Operations Director, Matt Woolman, were deployed to sites within the district, and were in regular communication throughout the day, starting with the reports first thing each morning.  Overall, the district did well during over two weeks of steady rain, wind and storms, and I want to thank the staff members who were so critical in keeping our campuses weatherproofed to the greatest extent possible, which ensured that the regular instructional day could proceed as usual.  

State budget release on January 10, 2023


On January 10, 2023, Governor Newsom kicked off the state budget development process by unveiling his proposal for the 2023-24 budget.  The budget proposal acknowledges significant reductions to state revenues, with an estimated $22.5 billion shortfall for the 2022-23 school ($29.5 billion over three years). 

The education budget for public schools is approximately 38% of the state budget, because of Proposition 98, and the fate of public-school funding in California is tied to the state’s economy.  With weakening revenues, the budget proposal introduces a combination of proposed mid-year reductions to one-time allocations (Arts, Music and Instructional Materials Block Grant), funding shifts, and other adjustments to address the budget gap.  Luckily, the reduction to Prop 98 funding is proposed to be $1.5 billion into next year, and the state’s assumption is that it will be able to fund a Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) of 8.13% for the 2023-24 fiscal year.  The funding of the COLA reflects the higher cost of doing business for the District.

While the Governor’s Budget Proposal accounts for weaker-than-expected revenues, it does not assume a recession.  The Gilroy Unified School District will continue to monitor the economic signals and follow the state budget development process. 

The next key update to the state budget will be the May Revise, when the Governor revises his Budget Proposal, updating state revenues through the critical month of April (tax collections).

Upcoming COVID-19/ Flu Shot Clinics at GUSD Schools
There are two upcoming COVID-19 vaccination clinics at our schools this month.  On Monday, January 23, Glen View Elementary will host a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in the MPR from 3-6 pm.  Appointments are recommended, but walk-ins are welcome.  Register for an appointment in English or Spanish.

On Monday, January 30, El Roble Elementary will host a joint COVID-19 vaccine and flu shot clinic from 3-6 pm in the MPR.  Appointments are recommended, but walk-ins are welcome.  Register for an appointment in English or Spanish.

Future clinics at El Roble will be held on February 21 and March 20, and at Glen View on February 28 and March 27.  That information will be sent to you as soon as it is available.

LCAP Survey closes January 20
A reminder to you that the LCAP survey closes tonight, so if you haven’t yet provided your input, please do so now!  The survey is short, and should take no more than five minutes for you to complete.  Your input is invaluable and greatly appreciated.  Our staff members and students in grades 5-12 have also taken a version of the LCAP survey and the information will be presented to the Board of Education at a future Board meeting.  Survey responses help guide the District’s spending for educational programs in three-year cycles.

Silicon Valley Reads, February and March 2023
Silicon Valley Reads is a community engagement program that features books and an annual theme to bring people together by providing more than 100 free, public events each year in February and March. Events for all ages include author talks, book clubs, art/music events, community activities, arts and crafts, movies, and creative events or activities based on the theme each year.

The 2023 season is the 20th anniversary of Silicon Valley Reads! For 2023, Silicon Valley Reads will set off on a “Journey to New Beginnings.” 

I encourage you to visit the SVR website for more information about the free youth events being hosted at Santa Clara County libraries.

There are plenty of fun events at our school sites in the upcoming weeks, and I’m looking forward to attending them.  I hope you are finding time to get out of the house, while the weather is nice, to do fun things as well.

Take care of each other,
Dr. Deborah A. Flores, Ph.D.
Gilroy Unified School District