Despite budget cuts, layoffs, OUSD maintains hopeful tone
By Cole Bettles
Buy some clothes; fill your car with gas; purchase all those books; temporarily stimulate our economy with avaricious spending, because ladies and gentlemen, it is back to school.
Parents, you may remember the butterflies that rapidly filled your stomach as you entered your first day of school. Will somebody say something about my new outfit? Will I get a bunch of homework on my first day? Did mom pack me a good lunch?
Despite a declining enrollment, a tight budget from the state and a recession, the first day of school was characterized by optimism and excitement. Ojai’s new superintendent, Henry S. Bangser, has set this convivial tone for principals, administrators and teachers.
Bangser said, “My highest priority is meeting people. By the end of the school year, I will know the name of every faculty member in the School District.”
Bangser shared a few funny moments with students yesterday morning, when he made his first visit to every school. To see Bangser in action and get an idea of what is going on in Ojai’s school, attend the fist board meeting of the school year on Sept. 1 at 5:30 p.m.
“The students were here on time and eager to get started. We anticipate a great school year,” said Sue Arce, vice principal at Nordhoff High School. Nordhoff seemed especially vibrant on this first morning, and many students were surprised to see how colorful the school was.
The producers of “Easy A,” a movie filmed at Nordhoff during the summer, decorated the buildings at Nordhoff with blue and gold. Dan Musick, principal of Nordhoff, thought the chromatic buildings animated the campus and agreed to keep Hollywood’s vision of high school. This year, Nordhoff will be celebrating its 100th year.
There is much to look forward to in the 2009-2010 school year, administrators said. Considering the fiscal hardships the School District is enduring, it is imperative that parents and community members stay involved and attend school fund-raising events. If schools can keep expanding on the already successful fund raising, programs will not be cut and teachers are less likely to lose their jobs.
Ojai and the Ojai Unified School District also welcome new teachers, Kevin Blaine and Peter Hickock.
The district passed its $23.87 million budget recently, which included a cut of five days from the school year.