The Klamath-Trinity Joint Unified School District may have approved its latest 2019-2020 budget—also known as the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP)—but the struggles for more community engagement and district transparency with the funding remain. On Wednesday, tribal communities, parents with children in the district, and the ACLU plan to meet in Hoopa to discuss more options toward fixing major problems within the district.
This comes amid the recent resignation of K-T’s superintendent Jon Ray—who served the district for five years.
Ray issued a statement to KHSU via email:
"It is with a mixture of sadness and excitement that I inform you of my decision to leave the Klamath-Trinity Joint Unified School District effective June 30, 2019.
While it was a difficult decision to leave the district, I know it was the right one. It has truly been an incredible journey to work with the communties that create the Klamath-Trinity Joint Unified School District and the various challenges we have overcome together. From all of the abatement, demolition, to the construction and realization what we can become, it really has been a pleasure.
Thank you for a rich and rewarding experience at K-T. I look forward to the next step in my career and wish you all the best."
With the superintendent leaving, Tedde Simon, with the ACLU Northern California, says this public meeting presents a pivotal point in the district and is even more essential for parents and the tribal communities. Native students account for 85 percent of the district. The schools are located in many hard to reach rural communities, such as the Hoopa and Yurok Reservations and parts of the Karuk and Tsungwe ancestral territory.
“Superintendent John Ray’s resignation can be an opportunity for meaningful, lasting change,” Simon says. “Progress and equity justice for these students will be served when there’s an administration and leadership in place that will listen to and respond to the unique needs of this community.”
In a previous meeting with Erica Tracy, the executive director of the Hoopa Tribal Educational Association, she said that the LCAP’s lack of transparency highlighted more ongoing problems with the district.
"There just really seems to be a feeling right now of not having the ability to provide feedback, to engage with the plans, to even access," she says. "Whether it be resources or even just accessing a school board."
That uneasiness is echoed by parents with children in the K-T system who often felt their voices were not always acknowledged. But with more community engagement, parents like Meagan Baldy—who has five children in the district, are more confident in finding solutions.
“I’m really happy to see what’s going on, even though it doesn't look as good. It kind of looks messy at the moment, but I feel like it's a good turning point to the direction that we've been going," Baldy says.
The Family and Community Engagement Strategy and Listening Session for the Klamath-Trinity Joint Unified School District takes place today from 5:30 to 7:30 at the Hoopa Tribal Wildland Fire Training Facility. The meeting is open to the public and will discuss ongoing LCAP issues, facts and updates about the complaints filed jointly by the Hoopa Valley Tribe, the Yurok Tribe and the ACLU, as well as concerns about district transparency, accountability and quality education.