Manhattan Beach Unified School District

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Recent Facts vs. Rumors

Posted June 1, 2021

 

Rumor: MBUSD has adopted a controversial approach to teaching about racism.

 

Fact: The MBUSD Board of Trustees is committed to being community where each student, employee, family, and visitor, regardless of their ethnicity, ancestry, national origin, citizenship status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, language, religion, medical history, ability, economic status, family model, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, or age, is welcome and safe. The Board of Trustees has not adopted any curriculum approach at this point, but is looking into this topic. For a more full explanation, click here.

                                                                                                        

Posted February 16, 2021

 

Rumor: We heard that private schools in the area are bringing back all of their TK-2 students full-time. Why aren't we?

 

Fact: A local private school announced this week that they are ending cohorting and bringing back all students in grades TK-2 to spend most of their day together. We know this because we received a large number of emails asking MBUSD to do the same thing. Every school is different, so we will not comment on any schools other than our own. We have communicated with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the Los Angeles County Office of Education, and we have reviewed our own classrooms. 

The bottom line is that we cannot bring our TK-2 classes back without cohorting. Here are some details that may help to understand:

  • The County guidance remains that six feet of separation between students is the best way to safely run a classroom.
  • There is a provision that allows schools to space students less than six feet apart, if no other options are available. This guidance is outlined in COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Instruction Framework & Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California, 2020-2021 School Year, where it states on p. 21, “Distance student chairs at least 6 feet away from one another, except where 6 feet of distance is not possible after a good-faith effort has been made. Upon request by the local health department and/or State Safe Schools Team, the superintendent should be prepared to demonstrate that good-faith effort, including an effort to consider all outdoor/indoor space options and hybrid learning models.”
  • While the cohort limit for many programs is 14 students, TK-2 classrooms are allowed to have more students, if, per the regulations above, they can maintain six feet of distance between students.
  • This spacing language is helpful to us in grades four and five, where larger class sizes make six feet of distance between all desks challenging.
  • We have studied our rooms using computer programs and confirmed by manual measurement. Even if we wanted to use the four feet of distancing, with the exception of a few large kindergarten rooms, or a few rooms with a small number of students, we could not fit enough desks in the rooms to accommodate a full class of students without cohorting in most of our TK-2 classrooms.

In summary, we will need to maintain six feet of distance between students, and, until County guidance and requirements change, we need to continue with our hybrid program. We are asking the County to let us know if and when these requirements may be relaxed, and we will be prepared to bring students back for longer periods of time and in larger groups as soon as we are able.

                                                                                                        

Posted October 16, 2020

 

Rumor: MBUSD has lost enrollment due to the COVID crisis and that will impact funding for this year and beyond.

 

Fact: Elementary schools around the country and around the area have lost enrollment during this COVID pandemic, and MBUSD has not escaped this trend. We have had students move out of the state, and we have had students withdraw to be a part of other learning environments. Here are the data for elementary, middle, and high school enrollment:

 

Projected 2020-21

Actual 2020-21

 

TK-5

2393

2203

-7.9%

6-8

1377

1330

-3.4%

9-12

2502

2465

-1.5%

Total

6272

5998

-4.4%

 

Many parents who have left have told their principals that they will come back next year, and we believe this to be true.

 

As for state funding, there is no impact on funding for this year, as the state has “held harmless” the funding that we receive based on enrollment and attendance. Our funding this year is based on our enrollment and attendance in 2019-20 prior to March, 2020. The formula for funding for the 2021-22 school year has not yet been determined. MBUSD is joining districts across the state in requesting that the state continue to fund schools based on attendance and enrollment prior to March, 2020. When the Governor releases his budget in January, 2021, we will learn his intent with funding for next year, and we will include that information in our planned budgets for 2021-22 and beyond.  

 

For more information about the nationwide trends with enrollment drops, you can read Enrollment Is Dropping In Public Schools Around the Country.

                                                                                                        

 

Posted October 15, 2020

 

Rumor: Some of our schools are not re-opening because construction is not yet complete.

 

Fact: While it is true that some of our construction work continued after the school year began, all of our sites are available for use. Our construction phasing and schedules are carefully planned to ensure that construction does not interfere with normal school operations. There are a few “punch list” items still being taken care of from this summer’s modernization work, with careful timing and coordination with site staff to ensure that teaching is not affected, and Grand View’s new classroom and multi-purpose buildings will be under construction through Winter 2022-23, but none of this interferes with our ability to re-open for students.

                                                                                                        

 

Posted October 9, 2020

 

Rumor: MBUSD has the ability to decide when and how it is ready to return, but it is choosing not to.

 

Fact: MBUSD is required to work within the requirements and restrictions of state and county health officials. If the district defied those restrictions, it could risk losing critical state funding, and could be subject to legal action if staff or students became infected. MBUSD is committed to reopening safely according to state and county guidelines.

                                                                                                        

 

Posted October 9, 2020

 

Rumor: MBUSD missed its chance to apply early for the waiver to reopen TK-2 and will now be at the "back of the line."

 

Fact: The waiver process opened up this week. No schools were able to submit applications until this week. Every week the entirety of those schools that have submitted waivers will be considered. There are no "time stamps" on the waivers. There is no "back of the line." The District is collecting all of the required elements, and we meet with our unions next week. The county will approve 30 schools per week across Los Angeles County, or six schools per L.A. County Supervisor district per week. Schools with higher percentages of students eligible for free or reduced lunch will have priority.

                                                                                                        

 

Posted October 9, 2020

 

Rumor: MBUSD has prioritized student athletes over special needs students.

 

Fact: The District responds to new guidelines whenever they are given by state and local authorities. In the case of athletics and special education, those timelines were on very different tracks. The state released its school athletics training guidelines on August 6. This enabled the district to begin discussions and planning for a limited return to athletics training, which the district was able to begin on September 29. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced on September 2 that it would allow schools to begin offering in-person services to high-needs students on September 14. The district has been working on those plans and cohorts and will bring back the first group of students on the week of October 12.

                                                                                                        

 

Posted October 9, 2020

 

Rumor: The MBUSD's teachers' union (MBUTA) is holding back efforts to return to school.

 

Fact: On October 5, MBUSD and MBUTA agreed to a set of procedures for starting our high need hybrid. To date, only about 1/3 of the districts in LA county have reached such an agreement. In early August, MBUSD and MBUTA agreed on a set of expectations for high quality distance learning practices, which has led to a much more consistent delivery of high-quality distance learning. The District and MBUTA are continuing to work on agreements to bring our elementary students back to campus. Like MBUSD, MBUTA and CSEA (our classified union) prioritize the safety of students and staff. Our teachers and classified staff have provided invaluable input and suggestions to make teaching, learning, and as safe and effective as possible. Our District continues to work with union leaders to determine the best way to get our students back to school expeditiously and safely. We are confident we will continue to move forward.

                                                                                                        

 

Posted October 9, 2020

 

Rumor: UTLA is holding back efforts to get students to return to school in Manhattan Beach.

 

Fact: UTLA (United Teachers of Los Angeles) is the teachers' union for the Los Angeles Unified School District. It has no say or jurisdiction in Manhattan Beach. Manhattan Beach Unified School District is its own district, separate from LAUSD, and has its own union (MBUTA), which is independent of UTLA.

                                                                                                        

 

Posted October 9, 2020

 

Rumor: Since the union is holding us back from reopening, and since MBEF saved teachers' positions this year, we can "get back" at the union by withholding contributions to MBEF.

 

Fact: MBUSD disagrees with the first statement. MBUTA is not holding us back from reopening; to the contrary MBUTA has been collaborative and helpful in developing safe procedures to facilitate reopening. MBEF funding is dedicated to educational programs throughout the district, all of which benefit students. Given the structural budget deficit that the district faces each year due to state funding inequities, MBEF funds are essential to the success of our schools. Supporting MBEF means supporting our students with opportunities beyond what state funding allows.

                                                                                                        

 

Posted October 9, 2020

 

Rumor: MBUSD failed to open its preschool when other preschools were open.

 

Fact: Private preschools that remained open or opened early do not receive funding for and are not required to provide special services for children with special needs. Thus their programs fell entirely under the county's Early Childhood Education guidelines. Manhattan Beach and other school districts that operate public (as opposed to private) preschool programs needed to wait for a decision from Los Angeles County on whether special education students in this age group fell under Early Childhood Education guidelines, or under (stricter) TK-12 guidelines. While it awaited that clarification, the District gave its approval to extend EDP services to children ages 3 and 4 who might otherwise have gone to the preschool program.