School Business Affairs July-August 2020 SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS | JULY/AUGUST 2020 5 J uly is typically the month when school business leaders take time off to recharge. This year is different. Rather than vacationing with fam- ily and friends, we are preparing to reopen school during a pandemic, responding to rev- enue shortfalls when the economy is tipped on its side, staffing schools for the coming year with fewer resources, and embedding versatil- ity in our plans to be ready for anything. Epidemiologists tell us we have a long way to go; this isn’t a second wave, it’s a second spike in the first wave of the pandemic. My message to you is to take good care of yourself so you have the stamina to take care of all of our children in the coming year—especially our black and brown kids. They need us. What a responsibility. We were attracted to this work because it is never boring and there are always new things to learn. As school busi- ness officials, we are excellent problem solv- ers and networkers, finding the best path to support our students and staff. This time feels a bit different. This time, our problems are unique, and the stakes are higher. Our first priority is to keep students, staff, and family members safe. Our second prior- ity is to accelerate learning to catch up on the learning lost last school year. Last spring, we closed school with short notice and implemented distance learning with limited resources; it was messy. Now experts are telling us how much the turmoil has impacted our children’s education—especially students of color and students in poverty. We have a summer to plan for re-entry and we are committed to bringing forward the best education in models based on recommenda- tions of state and local health authorities. Reopening experiences vary across the country. In a Pennsylvania district, the major- ity of parents requested a traditional opening; consequently the district is planning to reopen with students in school five days per week, but it will offer an online option that follows the in-person classroom curriculum. Teachers will begin their school day with online students and transition to the in-person classroom an hour later. My district in Portland is planning a hybrid model with alternating two days in school with two cohorts of students to maintain class sizes in keeping with social distancing in the classroom. The fifth day will be an extra day for students who need special supports: spe- cial education, English learners, students in poverty, and students needing tier three sup- ports identified by our multi-tiered systems of support model. We will also offer an online option. Each of us will respond to the needs of our students, parents, staff, and community. Each of my decisions and conversations will focus on improving systems for our students and staff of color. With a new understanding of how white supremacy has been a part of our decision making process for generations, I can impact systemic improvement. As Savala Trepczynski, executive director of the Center for Social Justice at UC Berkeley School of Law, wrote in a recent Time Maga- zine article, “It is white people (especially progressive white people) who are responsible for what happens now. Either they work to understand—and change—how white suprem- acy moves in and through their lives, hearts, minds, and spaces, or they decide they don’t have time, they’re too scared, they can’t deal with it, or… they linger in the fallacy that they could never be involved in a racist incident.” Trepczynski added, “I hope they will become radicalized by this moment and begin to fight fiercely for racial justice; but more than that, I hope they start at home, in their own minds and hearts.” So do I. In These Challenging Times By Claire Hertz, CSBA, SFO president’s message Claire Hertz, CSBA, SFO Deputy Superintendent, Business &Operations Portland (Oregon) Public Schools Tom Wohlleber, CSRM Immediate Past President Marvin Dereef Jr., SFO Director through 2020 Bill Sutter, SFO Director through 2020 2020 Board of Directors Ed Chabal Vice President David Ginsberg Director through 2022 Susan Harkin, SFO Director through 2021 Ryan Stechschulte Director through 2022 John Hutchison, CPA, SFO Director through 2021 David J. Lewis Executive Director