Tuesday, March 20 , 2018, 9:01 am | Overcast 53º


Santa Barbara and Goleta Districts Welcome Students Back to School

Spirits were high Thursday for the first day of the new year

With a cup of coffee in his hand, McKinley Elementary School Principal Emilio Handall greeted dozens of students and their families with a jovial “Buenos dias!” and “Welcome back!” as they trickled in Thursday morning for the first day of school.

The Santa Barbara Unified and Goleta Union school districts both welcomed students back Thursday.

As parents and children climbed the hill on Coronel Street to the back side of the campus, Handall aptly noted what heading back to school means for families.

“All the adults have smiles on their faces, and all the kids are frowning,” he said with a laugh.

The school recently had uniforms donated for all of its students by Operation School Bell, so McKinley students looked sharp Thursday as they met their new classmates and teachers.

Handall said he expects this to be this best year ever for the school.

Although a time of transition, the district is also facing some bright prospects. The Santa Barbara elementary and secondary districts unified earlier this year, which doesn’t change much operationally but is expected to bring in $6 million more in funding from the state this year.

As a result of the move and employee concessions, the district’s Board of Trustees was also able to rescind layoff notices to more than 100 teachers.

The district is also starting the year with a new superintendent, Dave Cash. He replaces former Superintendent Brian Sarvis, who retired this summer.

Cash shared his vision for the district with administrators Thursday. A mantra of “Every Child, Every Chance, Every Day” was part of the message.

“My expectation is that all members of our staff get up each day determined to make a difference,” Cash said. “These are not just jobs, as there is no more important activity in any community than the education of children.

“Today was a great first day of school, and I am looking forward to working with all of our teaching and support staff and observing the great learning taking place in every classroom in our district.”

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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