High-quality teachers top priority in Gilroy survey

District’s annual accountability survey reached out to 6,328

Seventy-one percent of 2,683 parents who participated in the 2019 Gilroy Unified School District Local Control Accountability Plan Survey said high-quality teachers was their highest priority.

The same percentage of 577 teachers, staff and district office staff surveyed put the top ranking on high-quality teachers.

Thirty-one percent of parents who took the survey also gave high priority (second overall) to support for teaching and learning. Rounding out the top five priorities for parents were technology and computer access for all students (25 percent), enrichment programs (24 percent) and programs and services to support a safe and healthy school climate (23 percent).

District staff analyzes the survey results, which assist them with reviewing progress toward LCAP goals and developing future actions, according to the report presented at the Jan. 17 school board meeting.

In total, the district received 6,328 individual responses, an increase of 1,591 from last year’s survey.

Forty-six percent of 3,098 students also ranked high-quality teachers as their top priority, with 35 percent marking technology and computer access for all students as second in their priority rankings.

“Current LCAP services closely mirror community preferences,” according to district staff. Approximately $9 million is allocated toward hiring and retaining high-quality teachers, according to the district’s presentation, with $1.5 million going toward support for teaching and learning.

Gilroy Teachers Association members worked without a contract for more than a year and were entangled in harsh negotiations before agreeing to a new three-year agreement. GTA members were close to striking prior to finalizing a deal with the district.

Also included in the district presentation was a breakdown of $729,476 in budget cuts for the 2018-19 school term that included nearly $300,000 in support services.

Additionally, staff gave a recap of the preliminary list of $4 million in budget cuts over the next two years. More than $3 million of those potential budget cuts will come in the 2019-20 year and include $1.2 million in staff reductions.

For the 2020-21 year, district staff is analyzing $750,000 in savings by closing one of its elementary schools. An Advisory Committee on School Closure was established to determine the possibility.

“GUSD and GTA read over 2,500 suggestions for budget reductions,” according to the report. “Budget reductions focused on reducing programs, materials and positions.”

Other takeaways from the LCAP survey were:

•90 percent of students agree that “most days they learn at school”;

•90 percent of students know school rules; and

•89 percent of students use technology at school.