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Public to weigh in on SDUSD’s vision for future

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SAN DIEGO — San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten and other district officials Tuesday urged parents, teachers, students and others to attend one of five public forums to voice their ideas on what the district should prioritize in the next few years.

Each of the board’s trustees will host a forum in his or her sub- district to gather input on the district’s “Vision 2020” school reform plan, in hopes of garnering information that could be used for long-term planning. Marten said in past meetings she attended, participants raised concerns in several areas including class size, arts programs, libraries and preschools.

Student in classroom

Photo: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Budget decisions for the 2014-15 academic year are being made at school sites this week, so the “Vision 2020 Forums: What Kind of Schools Do We Want” series will focus on priorities for students and schools from the 2015- 16 school year through 2017-18 and beyond to the full implementation of the local control funding formula in 2021, according to Marten.

“As funding begins to come back slowly over the next few years, we want to make sure we’re clear on our priorities — what kind of schools do we want for our students in San Diego Unified,” Marten said.

Marten said “Vision 2020” was about having a quality school in every neighborhood, and who better to ask what makes a quality school than parents, teachers and neighborhood residents. District leaders are facing several decisions in the future including those regarding budgeting and labor negotiations.

“We are committed to having clear, long-term priorities based on our `Vision 2020,”’ Board President Kevin Beiser said. “We believe that when our priorities are inspired and informed by our parents, students, employees and community members, we will have important information for long-range planning with students at the center.”

The first forum in the series is planned for 5 p.m. Friday at Memorial Preparatory Academy, 2850 Logan Ave. Following meetings will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 18 at Patrick Henry High School, 6702 Wandermere Drive; at 7 p.m. on Feb. 24 at Mission Bay High School, 2475 Grand Ave.; at 7 p.m. on March 3 at Mira Mesa High School, 10510 Reagan Road; and at 7 p.m. on March 10 at Crawford High School, 4191 Colts Way.

“We have really critical decisions to make over the next several years,” Marten said. “We want to invite the whole community to join us, sub- district by sub-district.”

Each meeting will begin with a panel discussion, then attendees will break into small groups. Marten said district officials hope to use input from the forums to create guiding documents, which when combined with suggestions from previous meetings, could help with the yearlong master planning process for each of the district’s 16 clusters, which are made up of a high school and its feeder elementary and middle schools.

During the board’s meeting tonight, the trustees unanimously adopted an updated resolution regarding the educational plan that included the dates, times and locations of the five forums, and voted 4-1 to approve a board policy on funding for charter school facilities that included a stipulation that the school must have been in operation for five years and approved for another term to be eligible for construction bond funds.

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