Letter: Change Needs to Come From The Top


The 2022 election results aren’t even in the rearview mirror, but micro-analyzing results is on every news and public opinion outlet nationally to the local level. Locally, it’s time to spotlight our schools that did not see a school board race. Three seats, three candidates, no election.

Personally, I ran in 2020 to expose the truth. The 2022 political spotlights needed to stay off local education until post-election, when we can focus on questioning the real issues. The vitrol and bullying in the City Council race is alive and well amongst our schools, with 2020 donors being bullied and harassed, parents pulling their kids from the district in large numbers and those seen as challengers to transparency, targets of fabricated truths used to create false narratives.

Laguna Beach community voters and Stakeholders should be concerned with declining student test scores, declining enrollment losing 256 students between July 2020 to January 2021, another drop in enrollment at the high school and how this bad news aligns with the tenure of the current board and administration leadership and rise in administration salaries.

Spring 2022 test scores released last month by the California Department of Education (CDE) measuring Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) show LBUSD students meeting or exceeding standards in Math decreased by 10.46 percent and 5.41 percent in English since 2019. LBHS alone saw Math drop 18 percent. Irvine saw decreases of 4.68 percent Math and 1.64 percent in English. Capo Unified, hailed for excelling in mitigating learning loss, a 3.56 percent drop in Math and 0.74 percent drop in English, third lowest in OC. Capo leadership attributes success to in-person learning early during Covid.

This isn’t “I told you so.” It’s adding to the list of issues parents have protested, vocalized and fought for, but despite efforts, Board and District administration continue to ignore data. District and Board leadership has failed our students and community, this community needs to demand change.

Since 2016, LBUSD students meeting or exceeding standards in Math and English has dropped 10.5 percent overall, our enrollment is declining. However, Superintendent’s salary has risen from $232K to now $331K with perpetual extensions. Current School Board leadership attributes declining enrollment to increased property prices. Is that really the reason? In 2016 upon hire Dr. Viloria was quoted as saying, “we need to always ask are we meeting the needs of the students and if not, what changes do we need to make to do it better?'” We’ve changed new learning models, staff, bell schedules, and curriculum a lot, yet the data speaks for itself. Declining test scores coincide with the tenure of the current Board majority and current Administration leadership. Perhaps change needs to come from the top.

Sheri Morgan, Laguna Beach

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