Newsletter 2020-05-14

Thursday, May 14, 2020
School News                
  • Budget - You may have seen in the news worrying reports about big decreases in school funding. Yes, we are looking at a bad budget year but there's some good news as well. The staff has done a fabulous job over the years of saving for a rainy day resulting in a very health reserve. The rainy day is here and our reserves will allow us to weather the budgetary storm. You know those surveys you fill out? We really do read them. You told us that the "things we should be sure to keep doing" are the amazing staff, small class sizes, science and nature focus, strong community, good communication, individual student attention, among others. We won't let you down and will protect those things that matter to you despite the budget cuts we will have to make. If you have questions or comments or big priorities you want us to keep in mind, please reach out to Dr. Irene.
  • New staff for 2020-21 - May I introduce to you...
    • Catherine Thompson, Administrator/Superintendent - She's everything we hoped for and more -- hard working, a stellar educator, warm, compassionate, team oriented, a great listener, organized, and an active outdoors-woman. Over the last two years, she was able to take on many administrative tasks at Pacheco School District while earning her Master’s degree in Applied School Leadership. Prior to that, she taught 7th and 8th grade math at Grant Elementary School for 10 years. She's super excited to meet you all!
    • Alyssa Holm, 5th/6th grade teacher! - The teachers unanimously selected her to complete the team because she's fabulous in the classroom and knows the staff, the curriculum, and the students. You may have seen her in the front office or as our long term substitute while Ms. Amanda was on maternity leave. Especially during this time of uncertainty, the relationships she's already built and the inside knowledge of Chrysalis make her the obvious choice! We are thrilled to have her next year!
  • Project SHARE - We are ready to begin registration for Project SHARE for the 20/21 school year. We do realize that we have no idea yet exactly what school days will look like, but rest assured, Project SHARE is willing to work with Chrysalis to make sure that your families program needs are met. We will keep you informed of any adjustments to our usual programming. Financially, we are all living in uncertain times. Out of concern for our families, we have chosen to keep fees the same this year as they were last year. Please help us keep the afterschool program running by always making your payments on time. Also, please note: if you still have a balance due from this school year, you will need to make that payment before you can register for next year.  Included in this newsletter is the registration packet. Please fill out and return the forms via email to rspencer [at]  Payment may be made online at For more information regarding fees or regarding our Project SHARE program, please email us at:
    amorales [at] or rspencer [at]
  • 8th Grade Promotion HELP needed - YES! We will have a promotion ceremony which will take place as a drive in, no touch Chrysalis celebration on the last day of school Thurs, June 4, starting at 9 am. Plans are still taking shape but you can see the DRAFT plans hereWe need your help -- On promotion day, each graduate will get a bag with their diploma, yearbook, and other special things. Please write a note, poem, card, or drawing for one or more of the graduates wishing them well as they spread their butterfly wings and hatch out of our beautiful Chrysalis. A mailbox for notes will be on the bus and then in front of school. We'll make sure to deliver your well wishes for you. Here's the list of graduates:

    • Angel Albee
    • Makena Amaya
    • Mackinzee Amoroso 
    • Lilly Brooks 
    • Charlie Fator 
    • Ryan Futrell 
    • Rosie Giddens
    • Jason Icely 
    • Liam Lassonde
    • Madeline Meyer 
    • Rosalee Northcote 
    • Nolan Parrott 
    • Stevie Pasillas 
    • Jait Reis
    • Harmony Self
    • Kayleen Severson
    • Brooklyn Sigmann 
    • Gabrielle Thibodeau
    • Lillith Wallen 
    • Ana Weese

  • Parent Tech Training - Feeling confused by all these new tech tools your kids are using? On Thurs. 5/14 at 4:00pm join the amazing staff of the Shasta County Office of Education for a training just for parents and family members "Using Google Meet, Google Classroom, or Zoom". Register HERE. See the attached flyer for more information.

  • Mental health newsletter - Check out this week's newsletter from School Counselor Melissa:

Upcoming events

  • Mon, May 25 - NO SCHOOL, Memorial Day Holiday
  • Thu, June 4 - graduation ceremony??
  • Wed, June 10, 4:00 pm – Board meeting
  • Wed, Aug 12 -- First day of school!

Update - Fri, May 15, 2020

Thank you to all of you who reached out with such caring and concern about the school's budget. This amazing community spirit is what will help see us through. What follows are some answers to the questions I've received so far. If you have other questions, please send them my way.

Q: What kind of deficit are we looking at for 2020-21?
A: Chrysalis manages a $2.2 million dollar budget. Of our revenues, approximately $1.8 million comes from the state and $132,000 comes from the federal government. The rest comes from a mixture of local property taxes, lottery funds, special education, grants, and donations. The Governor’s May budget revise was released yesterday which indicates a 10% cut to state funding for the school, which would mean approximately an $180,000 reduction in revenues compared to what we received this year. Federal revenues *should* hold steady thanks to the federal stimulus bill, and may even see a slight increase of somewhere between $20,000 to $30,000 -- really helpful, but not enough to make up the gap in state funding, and so far not guaranteed. Current predictions suggest that this economic downturn may last 2-3 years. During the Great Recession, it took nearly 4 years for school funding to return to pre-recession levels. Brace yourselves for a few rough years.

Q: How big is the reserve?
A: We are extremely fortunate that under Dr. Irene's fiscal guidance and the teachers' careful budgeting, the school's reserves have grown from $763,500 in 2014 to $1,906,535. Of those reserves, $500,000 has been set aside for building the multipurpose room, another $500,000 must be set aside by law for a variety of purposed, leaving a "rainy day fund" of approximately $900,000 available to weather this storm. The Board is in full support of using down some of our "rainy day fund" over the next few years to preserve our program and retain our employees.

Q: Can parents see the budget?
A: Absolutely! This link below will take you to a spreadsheet that details 3 budget scenarios played out over the next 3 years that were presented to the Board on Wednesday.

Budget A = what we were predicting back in January when everything was normal.

Budget 220 / -2% = a “balanced” budget assuming 220 students and a 2% cut to state funding. We were able to balance that budget by freezing teacher salaries at current levels, freezing aide and office staff salaries at current levels except mandatory minimum wage increases, having our newest teacher be 0.5 FTE instead of full time, not having a 3rd / 4th grade aide, and freezing books and supplies at current levels. It is “balanced” even though you see a -$60,000 deficit at year end (the red line on the spreadsheet) because the staff were anticipating taking Irene’s part-time appointment next year from the reserves.

Budget 220 / -10% = an “unbalanced” budget assuming 220 students and a 10% cut to state funding. If that scenario plays out for 3 years, all our "rainy day fund" (the blue line on the spreadsheet) is gone and we need to start eating into the multipurpose room money.

Q: What cuts are being made?
A: Nothing has been decided yet, not even the assumptions built into the budget scenarios above. The budget scenarios are simply a starting point for discussion. Dr. Irene has combed through the budget to look for any easy cuts we could consider. A subcommittee of teachers has met and brainstormed additional ideas. The Board and those attending the Board meeting generated even more ideas. We are currently in the very first stage of brainstorming -- think of everything possible, no matter how crazy or impossible, and gather as many creative ideas as we can. On the second tab of the budget scenarios spreadsheet, you can see the list of ideas. In red are ideas that will cost MORE. In green are ideas that will add money to the coffers either through a new income stream or with cost savings. Some ideas are mutually exclusive and have "OR.." in their titles. If you have others to recommend, please send them to Dr. Irene who can then do the research to price out that savings.

Q: Can parents offer feedback and input?
A: Absolutely... but please sit tight and hold your judgement on any proposed ideas until the teachers have a chance to thoroughly discuss and narrow down the list. Chrysalis is a teacher-powered school and it is our beloved teachers that are the heart and soul of our community. Please allow them the freedom to fully consider the implications of each item on the brainstorming list, to remove those that are untenable to them, to select the ones that are most palatable, and think with clear heads and hearts before parents weigh in. Their meeting is on Tuesday afternoon, and there may be further discussion necessary on Wednesday. For now, please do not reach out to the teachers or Irene with judgement on any of the items. Nothing stifles creative thinking like "that's a terrible idea" or "you have to do this" or "that doesn't work for me".

Once those initial teacher conversations are done, please join us at a "Budget Stakeholder's Info and Input Session" for Thursday, May 21, 4:00 pm. It's open to the public. Anyone that loves Chrysalis is welcome to participate. At that time, Dr. Irene will walk you through the budget scenarios and share the preliminary set of ideas selected by the teachers with their reasoning. That would be the ideal time to offer your feedback, thoughts, and insight. Your ideas will be recorded and shared with the teacher's cooperative and Board members to refine the budget further.

Join Budget Stakeholder's Info and Input Session

Meeting ID: 891 4702 9947
Password: 140P1R

Q: When is the next board meeting and can parents attend?
A: Absolutely! The next Board meeting is on Wednesday, June 10 at 4 pm. It is open to the public and will include a public hearing on the budget prior to its adoption by the Board.

June 10 Board Meeting

Meeting ID: 224 577 051
Password: 723610

Again, if you have any other questions, comments, ideas or thoughts, please send them to Dr. Irene at irene [at] Thank you all for being part of our family. "None of us is as smart as all of us." Together, we can rise to any challenge!