IUSD Open Letter to OC Board of Supervisors

March 26, 2018

Orange County Board of Supervisors
333 W. Santa Ana Blvd., Suite 465
Santa Ana, CA 92701

Dear Orange County Board of Supervisors,

On behalf of the Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) Board of Education, District staff, and our more than 34,000 students and their families, we applaud and support agenda item 14e for BOS-3-27-18 that would rescind placing as many as 400 homeless individuals in close proximity to 10 IUSD schools that serve our youngest and most vulnerable residents.  The IUSD’s priority is the safety and wellbeing of our students, staff and community.  We work closely with the City of Irvine, the Irvine Police Department, our development partners and the Irvine community to closely monitor and approve where our schools are built and the types of businesses and developments that are located near all of our schools to help create the safest environment possible for children.

Placing a tent city in the heart of Irvine, near schools and only steps away from the Great Park, where many of our students attend after-school programs and camps, play in sports leagues, and gather with friends, is counterproductive and, frankly, counterintuitive to keeping children safe.  This process needs to be about effective planning, collaboration and consideration for all Orange County communities and families to identify a humane, productive and permanent solution to this countywide crisis.       

We support the City of Irvine’s efforts to collaborate with the Board of Supervisors and other cities to develop solutions that will provide support to individuals in need, while valuing the interests of communities and the safety of our children.  As you thoughtfully plan and move forward with next steps, IUSD encourages you to include school district voices and other key community stakeholders from across the County, who can provide a valuable perspective.

As civic leaders, working for the betterment of our communities and those we serve, we can and must do better than haphazardly transplanting homeless individuals to areas so proximal to school children and family parks, but also far from medical, mental health, job resources, and substance abuse support services that are critically needed.  IUSD encourages the Board of Supervisors to consider all children and school districts throughout this process. 

IUSD adamantly opposes any actions that create an unsafe environment for children and families, and we will continue to support the City of Irvine in its leadership efforts to better resolve this complex issue.

Sincerely,

Terry Walker signature
Terry L. Walker
Superintendent of Schools
Irvine Unified School District