Buena Park, CA
Tell Our Story
The GLR coalition in Buena Park, California steadily worked to establish an Education Commission to promote partnerships between the school district, the City, and individual schools, as well as to advocate education within the community. Establishing the commission was a priority for the Buena Park mayor, a former school board member, and her staff, who spent several months talking and meeting with fellow councilmembers and other key community stakeholders on the commission’s importance to the future success of the city.
Mayor Beth Swift, who first requested a discussion on the formation of an education commission late last year, proposed the idea in alignment with the Campaign's goals of encouraging school readiness, school attendance, and summer learning. It was hoped that within Buena Park, an education commission could facilitate discussion between the school districts regarding similar interests such as school safety, gang prevention programs, and shared resources. Following the discussion, a Council sub-committee was formed, consisting of Mayor Swift and Council Member Art Brown, to make recommendations to staff regarding the formation and purpose of the commission.
The sub-committee met on March 11, 2013 and recommended that the education commission be comprised of 13 members, representing school districts with schools in Buena Park, the City Manager's office, the Buena Park library District, Cypress College, local education foundations, and the Chamber of Commerce. The commission was scheduled to meet at least once a quarter to perform the following functions:
Further commission-driven cooperation between schools and the city was discussed, including district and city website cross-integration and Council interaction with schools including reading to students, child-to school days, and presence at before-school vaccination programs. The sub-committee concluded that City Councils can make a difference in students’ lives and their educational outcomes without being directly involved in the governance of the school system itself.
When the idea was further discussed on March 26, preliminary research had been done and it was discovered that several neighboring cities, such as San Jose, Berkeley, Pleasant Hill, and Huntington Park, have Education Commissions. The commission was voted on and approved. Following the discussion, Council directed staff to bring back a sample mission statement and likely scope of work for the potential commission. The first two meetings of the commission have already been held, on June 4th and September 17th.