Morgan Hill Today 2014 12 Winter - Page 40

Local Control For Schools By John Horner, President /CEO, Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce Manufacturing Did you know that manufacturing is Morgan Hill’s #1 employment sector? There are over 3,000 manufacturing jobs within Morgan Hill, far outweighing our other industries. Most of our manufacturing is “high-tech” manufacturing, utilizing high-end technologies to create products to fit precise needs. These are good, stable all-American jobs. Recently Morgan Hill joined communities throughout the country in celebrating “Manufacturing Day. Here in Morgan Hill, we had four manufacturers participate, Anritsu, Aerotron, Lin Engineering and Del Monaco Foods. Each let in members of the public to learn about this oft-ignored industry. The Morgan Hill Chamber was able to send a representative to each of these open houses to learn about some of our most important local job providers. Recently we had the opportunity to join Morgan Hill’s delegation to the California State Board of Education meeting to advocate for “Local Control Funding”, a new system which allows local communities to set their own spending priorities based on the needs of the students in their area. Nothing is more important to the health of a community than is the quality of our schools, and the Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce is delighted to be part of the effort to improve how we serve all of our students. Morgan Hill’s delegation included the district Superintendent, district staff, union representatives, a school principle, and school Board of Trustees members, community advocates, the Mayor, the Chief of Police and your Chamber of Commerce. Morgan Hill had the largest and most diverse representation at this critical meeting. Recent changes in California state law are radically revamping how money is allocated to local school districts and charter schools. Under the laws in place for the past 40+ years, local schools received a goodly portion of the money to run their operations based on special earmarks covering over 50 different “categorical aid” definitions. The amount of administration required at the local, county and state levels to manage this complexity is almost impossible to calculate. Governor Brown and the California legislature recently enacted sweeping systematic changes which reverse decades of legislated complexity and put the vast majority of educational spending decisions back into the hands of local communities. Implementation of these changes require detailed regulations from the State Board of Education, and many advocates for particular earmarked funding priorities converged on that Board to try and preserve as much preference for their areas of concern as possible. Morgan Hill was one of the many districts there to advocate for the maximum possible local control of how the money gets spent. After over 300 people made their public comments, the Board voted unanimously to move forward with the first set of regulations designed to let local communities like ours allocate the available money as best as possible to meet the diverse needs of our students. This is an important first step, and now the real work begins. How do we put these grand ideas into action in a way which improves the educational opportunities and outcomes for the young people entrusted to our schools? This is the work of our entire community, and the Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce is delighted to represent the business community in this effort. Lin Engineering Del Monaco Specialty Foods 40 M O R G A N H I L L T O D A Y W I N T E R 2 0 1 4 Anritsu