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East Bay | Education & Student Activism | Health, Housing, and Public Services | Labor & Workers

We Need the Community to Speak Out about the Termination of Services Homeless Coordinator
by Leo Stegman ( lrstegman [at] gmail.com )
Sunday Mar 10th, 2013 10:59 PM
The low-income in Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) are trying to saving one of the most valuable employees in the District. Ms. Nancy Johnson is the long time McKinney-Vento Coordinator at the BUSD. The McKinney-Vento Act Homeless Education is a Federal Statute enacted to assist Homeless Students in the enrollment, and remove barriers to homeless students education, She is most valuable employee in the BUSD to homeless students, She has over 10 years of experience in the position. Now, the BUSD is terminating her services. She is a vaiueable asset to our community,
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On September 19, 2012, low-income parents at the Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) spoke out against the cutting of funds for McKinney-Vento Act from $34,000 to $17,000. Amidst, an economic depression the BUSD staff cut funding to McKinney-Vento Act, a statute to assist families facing housing issues because a lack of resources in the education of their children.

During the next few months the many community member came the BUSD School Board meeting, ans sent numerous emails to the Co-interim Superintendents Javetta Cleveland a d requesting the BUSD increase the funding for the McKinney-Vento Act and to continue the contract of Ms. Nancy Johnson.

As the Homeless Coordinator for the BUSD, for the last 15 years, Ms. Johnson has been a valuable asset to families and students receiving assistance under McKinney-Vento Act, Has a retired teacher, employee at Berkeley Oakland Support Services, an resident of Berkeley she a vast reservoir of knowledge as it pertains to issues to class, race and homelessness. Her institutional knowledge on the McKinney-Vento Act in BUSD is unequalled and paralleled

Through the community's voice and vigilance the BUSD Board Members decided that the District Staff should meet with the community that receives McKinney-Vento assistance should meet to decide how service are provide to us many of us were adamant Nancy Johnson services are greatly valued by the community of McKinney-Vento Services in BUSD.

In a move of bureaucratic disingenuous and duplexity the District hiring two half-time positions, and told Ms. Johnson her service were not being retained and contract was unilaterally terminated. Ultimately, her as was given until the end of March 28, 2013.
The community of BUSD students and families are devastated by the District move to terminate Ms. Johnson's contract. Her first hand knowledge of the familial history of the many of the BUSD students receiving assistance under the McKinney-Vento, combined with the her unequalled institutional knowledge are irreplaceable to the community. The termination of Ms. Johnson's service goes directly against the wishes of the students and parents at the Schol Board meetings. The parents and families are the people that receive we know what services that we need/

Therefore, we are requesting that Ms. Johnson be retained until the end of the 2012-2013 academic year. In addition, according to BUSD own statistic approximately of 10 percent of BUSD students are are identified as students eligible McKinney-Vento assistance under the act, and most of the are students of color. If the BUSD is serious about the shrinking the well chronicled “Racial Achievement Gap”, people like Nancy Johnson are need to assist the BUSD to provide a free and quality education to all of it students.