Kitchen employees

Kitchen employees of Galt Joint Union Elementary School District hand out five days’ worth of breakfasts and lunches at Lake Canyon Elementary on Monday, May 4. The five-day meal package will help reduce the number of trips for homeschooling parents. The meals will be provided at all elementary and middle school locations from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Even without students in the classrooms, Galt Joint Union Elementary School District (GJUESD) is making the best out of bad situations. Like all California school districts, there’s the good news and then the bad.

The good news is the district landed a grant award of $26,000 to help pre-kindergarten English learning families by offering classes to help them help their young students.

Superintendent Karen Schauer said the grant is linked to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our district received notification from the James B. McClatchy Foundation COVID-19 that we are receiving an Early Education Grant Award,” Schauer said. “Donna Mayo-Whitlock, educational services director, provided an update on the funded proposal (at the last video board meeting). Galt Learning Equity and Excellence (GLEE) is a grant award providing $26,000.85 through grant funding to support more equitable distance learning and training for our pre-kindergarten English learner families. The grant is augmented with other Pre-K funding resources through First 5 Sacramento, State Preschool and LCFF supplemental and concentration funding.”

Schauer said that Mayo-Whitlock was invited by the McClatchy Foundation to submit another proposal to expand the funding for English learner families education.

“Final notifications of the grant award status are projected to be made [soon],” Schauer said. “This potential grant sustains 11 employee positions and creates two new jobs.”

Marengo Ranch Elementary School is also in the “good news” category with their modernization now complete. The Galt Herald will have more on the renovations in coming issues.

The district is also planning some alternate events for McCaffrey Middle School’s graduating 8th graders. The “unique and safe” event is tentatively scheduled for the morning of June 3. More information will be communicated to 8th grade students and families next week.

Starting this week, the district began handing out breakfast and lunches for five days on Mondays, reducing the number of trips for homeschooling parents. A five-day meal package will be provided at all elementary and middle school locations from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Fairsite School Readiness Center will not distribute meal packages, and families can pick up meal packages at any other GJUESD school location.

The district has also expanded its tech support for both English and Spanish speaking parents. For English, Ryan Newman will be available to answer parent phone calls from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., Monday-Friday. Parents can call 209-744-4545, ext. 337 or email technology@galt.k12.ca.us.

For Spanish, Vanessa Torres will be available to answer parent phone calls in Spanish from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., Monday-Friday. Parents can call 209-745-1546, ext. 308 or email vtorres@galt.k12.ca.us.

For parents needing to register a new student, registration packets are available online or may be picked up on Mondays and Wednesdays at the district office, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., according to Schauer.

“Registration packets may also be dropped off at the district office during this same time,” explained Schauer. “We understand that some packet information may need to be turned in at a later date due to the pandemic emergency, so we will accept partially completed packets. For additional information, please contact your child’s school or the district office at 209-744-4545 ext. 338.”

The bad news actually began before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Schauer.

“With COVID-19’s growing state economic impact, our district may be facing even more staffing reductions beyond April 2020,” Schauer said. “This is the third year of significant cuts. In 2018-19, we reduced $369,620 in general funding. In 2019-20, we reduced $287,308. We have terrific employees that are skilled, caring and highly committed to serve our community’s children, as we continue to witness every day during the pandemic emergency school closure period.”

At the April 22 board meeting, members voted unanimously to reduce and restructure teaching positions and other staff positions. Five math technicians will be let go. One ASES instructor and one food service worker will also be eliminated. Five special education instructional assistant (three of the positions were temporary positions due to class sizes and two positions are no longer needed due to students leaving the district) will also be eliminated. One bilingual community outreach assistant will go as the position was changed through a grant proposal from part-time to full-time, so it is still needed to be included as a reduction.

At the February board meeting, it was decided that three assistant principals and up to eight temporary teaching positions would be reduced. The reduced assistant principals will serve as a classroom teacher or teacher on special assignment. Two elementary assistant principals will be shared between four elementary schools. The middle school was reduced from two assistant principals to one.