Nick Kato

Question:

“What do you see as the three most important (long term or short term) issues facing public education, specifically in Coronado Unified School District?”

Answer:

The three most important issues facing CUSD are: first, addressing how CUSD will ensure the school is adequately funded until we switch to Basic Aid, second, proactively planning how CUSD wants to operate once it is on Basic Aid, and third, ensuring all children have a safe environment in which to learn.

As I noted last week, CUSD currently faces some major fiscal concerns, which need to be addressed in a timely manner to ensure that we are able to maintain adequate control over the quality of education we provide to our students. As I discussed last week, if we do not make a change or come up with creative solutions soon, it is projected that CUSD will be insolvent by 2025—just two years before we switch to Basic Aid funding. It is imperative that we work hard now to come up with creative and feasible solutions to ensure that we do not have to see any major disruptions in our children’s education or be forced to make even harder decisions in the future.

One item I did not discuss in my response last week was that I believe we must start planning today what kind of school district CUSD will become once it is on Basic Aid. Under CUSD’s current funding regime, Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), the more students CUSD has, the more funding CUSD receives. When CUSD is eligible for Basic Aid, it will be allocated a lump sum of money annually that is forecasted to be $10M higher than what CUSD is currently receiving. That money is not contingent on the number of children enrolled, and no additional money will be received for inter-district transfers. With this interesting dynamic, CUSD will have to answer a number of important questions that will shape the size and demographic of the student population; the number of teachers, staff and administrators and their corresponding compensation; and the programs and resources available at CUSD going forward. We must start planning for these changes today to make sure we are ready to efficiently implement any such changes when the time comes.

I also believe that we must ensure that students at CUSD feel safe from all forms of discrimination and bullying. Diversity and inclusion initiatives are imperative to the success of our students. We need to continue to find ways to make forward progress on these issues in a balanced fashion with input from the entire community.

While there are a number of other issues facing CUSD, I view these as the most pressing. With my experience and leadership, I can work with the other members of the School Board at CUSD to address these issues in an efficient, balanced, and fair manner. I appreciate your consideration of my candidacy—and hope to earn your vote! If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at 619-403-2923.

Thanks,

Nick

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