The Banning Unified School District Board of Trustees believes that the citizens of Banning have a right to attend Banning schools.

The present school district boundaries force a portion of our community, those in the Atwell development, to attend school in the neighboring city.

We believe that this is a grave injustice and as a result we have filed a petition to reorganize school district boundaries.

Our petition requests that the Atwell development become part of the Banning Unified School District where it properly belongs.

The development in question lies within the boundaries of the City of Banning.

Our town has a strong sense of community. We have a deeply rooted sense of community that stems from our schools and our school traditions.

Our schools are the heart of our town. Splitting of this development undermines our community.

Our city has the right to remain whole.

We have the right to build our community and not have it annexed by a neighbor.

In granting our petition to transfer this land back to its rightful home, the county will correct serious inequities that exist.

The current boundaries limit out district growth and places our students at a disadvantage.

School districts must grow.

Students have diverse interests and diverse needs. Larger districts have an advantage in providing for their students.

More students mean more opportunities and more meaningful programs.

That means more extracurriculars, more advanced classes, and more sports teams — more ways to educate the whole child.

Larger districts can spread the costs of these programs out across their whole student body.

Taking away our rightful growth, as the current boundaries do, artificially limits our ability to provide for our students.

When this land returns to Banning USD, this will bring in more students and allow us to grow naturally.

This will bring funding and opportunities that we do not have.

If on the other hand the land remains with the neighboring district — one is more than twice our size — it will place a stranglehold on us.

It will keep our district artificially small — not for the benefit of our community, but kept artificially small for the benefit of our neighbors across Highland Springs.

Our school district is better able to educate the students who will live in this recent development.

We have smaller class sizes.

We cap our high school classes at 33, while our neighbors have no such limit. Our classrooms and schools are not experiencing overcrowding.

We have space for growth and a budget of $65 Million to support it-a budget that projects fund balance increases in the coming years.

With our team of 550 employees to serve our 4500 students, we have a support system of one adult for every eight children.

We maintain enviable staffing rates, and we transport our students to and from school.

As it stands, the families in the Atwell development and their estimated 2,500 children will have to find their own way to school — and in the neighboring city at that.

We can provide for students here in our city and we can provide for them better than our neighbors. We can absorb the growth rather than cram kids into a high school unable to keep up with growth.

Our neighboring district cannot accommodate all the new students without construction, while we have space.

We have a school facility that we can reopen with minimal modernization efforts. We have a new career and technical education facilities, and a new fine arts complex.

We are instituting a new academic model supported by a first-rate executive cabinet.

Our Superintendent, Dr. Baker has experience at every level.

She has previously served as a teacher, a principal, a deputy superintendent, and the Michigan’s State School Reform Officer.

She knows the intricacies of effecting positive change be it in the classroom or in the state legislature.

Our Assistant Superintendent, Terrence Davis, brings 21 years of experience in human resources, special education, and superintendent’s leadership.

He has a proven track record of accelerating achievement and named Superintendent of the Year for 2018.

Our Chief Academic Officer brings a wealth of experience from Fontana Unified School District where she played a critical role in improving the math score of their over 35,000 students. Our Chief Business Officer, Craig McAlpin possesses extensive experience in budget development, bond councils, construction, negotiations, facilities, nutrition services, technology, and state required fiscal reporting.

He has worked in the fiscal services division at the Riverside County Office of Education and provided direct support and guidance to districts with budgets of upwards of $600 million.

We have new leadership in our district and we have stellar staff here.

Our employees have accomplishments that are too many to include here.

I am personally and constantly impressed by what they do.

I do not exaggerate when I say we truly have an all-star team.

From every classified employee - every clerk, every custodian, every bus driver - to every teacher, counselor and administrator our staff is exceptional.

Our entire team, every employee, is about accelerating achievement and preparing our students for the 21st century.

We are ready for these new students - for our students.

If our petition is successful, this will put us on a more equal footing.

It will bring new schools, state matching funds, and school bonds.

Our students will reap the benefits of economic development in the area and socio-economic integration.

This land transfer will bring endless rewards to our community.

This land must come home.

It must be part of our district and our community.

We cannot allow this portion of our city to be colonized by our neighbors to the west.

Sincerely,

Jason Smith, Banning School Board President

Leslie Sattler, Banning School Board Clerk

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