Message from WCA BoardPosted by Tara Seekins on 3/6/2019
Dear Willow Creek Community,
First off, I want to thank Ms. Seekins, the Willow Creek team, and the entire WCA community for keeping the focus on educating our children. Our team does an amazing job creating an inclusive and caring environment for learning, and everyone’s support makes it happen each and every day.
Next I want to provide you with an important update regarding our continued challenges with the Sausalito Marin City School District and its decisions about future resource allocation. Let me begin by providing a bit of context, followed by our plan to ensure all students are provided the resources they need and deserve to learn.
As our charter authorizer and the governing Board for Bayside MLK, the District has a responsibility to provide both of its public schools with fair and equal funding based on the needs of the students that attend those schools. Specific to Willow Creek, the District has the duty to fund its public charter school fairly and equally like any other public school for which it is responsible. For our part, Willow Creek has the duty to provide a quality educational choice with the funds it receives and share best practices with Bayside/MLK.
It seems like a no brainer: As partners, our dual job is to make both of these functions, funding fairly and educating effectively, happen in a way that we serve all public school students the best we can. We are trying to do just that. Everyday we educate 405 of our community’s kids, including the majority of Marin City and Sausalito students, and collaborate with Bayside MLK everywhere possible.
The problem is that, for a number of years, some District board members and superintendents have not been able to agree on the District’s basic job to provide fair and equal funding, nor that they need to act in the best interest of Willow Creek students and Bayside/MLK students alike. Instead, some people - contrary to the CA Education code - have expressly refused to act in the best interest of Willow Creek students they’ve been elected to represent. It appears, sadly, that they have utterly forgotten their responsibility to take care of ALL kids at both schools.
This fundamental division has resulted in a a paralyzed “push-me-pull-you” board that has not lived up to its promises to Willow Creek and the community it’s supposed to serve. The current 2019/2020 District budget as drafted would create a $700,000 deficit for WCA and a $700,000 surplus for the district while fully funding Bayside MLK. This is not fair and cannot be squared with the law.
In order to ensure that all students in the district are fairly funded, today Willow Creek filed a legal complaint in Marin County Superior Court seeking to hold the District and Marin County Superintendent Mary Jane Burke accountable to their legal duty to serve the best interests of every student in the District. Our goal is to receive judicial protection from the proposed draconian cuts and fees, then work with the District to develop a budget that supports all the students in our District. It’s not too late for our District Board to avoid this financial fiasco now by working with us to serve all our community’s kids. We hope that it will do so.
In the meantime, here is the good news. Willow Creek is here to stay. We have the reserves to weather the financial storm these unfortunate decisions have created for one year, so we will continue to serve our students in an inclusive and diverse environment. The other good news is we are here to partner. With $9 million in total revenues, both schools can be fully funded if we allocate fairly and spend wisely. The District has plenty of resources to make both schools work without taking from either school. Unfortunately, to date the District has refused to engage WCA in a dialogue about how to best allocate resources and costs to serve all students. We continue to hope this will change.
We will keep you updated on progress. Please feel free to contact me or send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.
On behalf of the entire board, I want to thank you for your continued support.
Willow Creek Academy Board President
The complaint can be viewed here.