Los Al School District focuses on top priorities

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The state’s top district superintendent for 2018 says the more than 9,000 students within the Los Alamitos Unified School District are off to a “fantastic” start and schools across the district are already “fully engaged in learning.”

“We look forward to another excellent year for our students and families,” said Dr. Sherry Kropp, Superintendent of Schools for the Los Alamitos Unified School District.

Kropp said elementary and middle schools opened flawlessly last week and that she expects the same this week as high school students return to classes. “Our first high school Friday night football game is Friday night,” she noted with a tinge of excitement.

Though the district educates more than 9,000 students, Kropp said she expects the final numbers to be a bit lower this year over last. The district is “purposely” reducing the number of inter-district students allowed into the system.

Kropp said inter-district students are those who live outside the district boundaries but seek to attend LAUSD schools.

“By reducing that number a bit, all of our programs get stronger,” she said, especially STEM labs and other innovations.

Kropp said the schools will serve all of the families within the district and she said there are more families with children living in the district than ever before.

“We have amazing, high results, but are reaching a critical juncture,” said Kropp, who added “we want the very best for our kids.”

Top priorities for the system remain student safety, academic excellence, overall communication, effective budgeting and facility management.

With an operating budget of $100 million, Kropp said the district must continually improve the infrastructure of the campus, giving McGaugh Elementary a complete makeover during this past summer.

She said the LAUSD board has voted to put a bond issue before voters in November that would give the district a final $97 million for needed structural improvements to Los Alamitos High, the only school in the system yet to get a modern facelift.

The state of California does not provide school districts funding for infrastructure, deferred maintenance and other safety measures, she said.

The Sun will have a more extensive look at the bond measure in a later article. If approved, however, Kropp said the board has resolved to never go back to the voters with a bond because all of the campuses will have been modernized.

Once the high school is modernized, “normal budgeting will facilitate” updates and other needed improvements across the system.

The LAUSD has modernized each of the other campuses and added security fencing at all of the system’s elementary and middle schools.

She said the district is also installing a pilot program at the high school that will utilize an ‘alert’ tower with wi-fi for instant messaging of pending emergency situations.

Kropp has scheduled a “State of the District” speech Sept. 14 to update the public on all things Los Al Unified Schools.

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