SLV School District Perspectives


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School Board Meeting Synopsis

November 18, 2003

Link To SLVUSD Web site Agendas and Minutes Page (Note: These are PDF files - read this if you have trouble opening them). Minutes are posted after they are approved, usually at the next regular meeting.

Note from Laura About These Synopses (Basically, I report on what I think will be most interesting to community residents. Consult the minutes for a more complete listing of what happened in the meeting.)

Closed Session

The board had no report out of closed session, which was listed on the agenda as follows:

Labor Negotiations Compensation for Represented and Unrepresented Employees (Government Code 54957.6)

Confidential Personnel Issues (which may include leaves, medical issues, disciplines, separation, etc.) (Government Code 54957)

Conference with Legal Counsel - Pending Litigation
Government Code: section 54956.9 (b)(1)(3)(c) (What is this?)
Claimants: SLV CARES, Michelle Hooker, L. Crews McCulloch, Janice Marshall, and Martin McKendry Vs San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District (What is this?)

Workshop: District Plan (5:30-6:00)

Marilyn French gave a presentation on this year's focus, which will be a narrow one. The school board has set up a time to get together to talk about a more broadly focused plan.

The plan presented by Ms. French is organized according to the Baldrige system. Site plans and district goals should be aligned with Baldrige criteria. (For more information about Baldrige in Education, see this Web site.) There are three main areas of focus:

1) Improving Academic Achievement (synopsis of main goals only)

- Short term goals in this area are to get everyone aligned on the California content standards. This will include improved awareness on the part of parents and students as to what those standards are. All activities, including field trips, should be aligned with the standards. Report card formats should also better reflect the standards. View California Content Standards

- Other student-focused goals include improving "differentiated instruction for targeted students". (pretty broad, and I'm not sure all that was being referred to)

- Increased opportunities for staff development and professional collaboration are needed. Consider "restructured days" - periodic short school days, as is common in other districts. There used to be 8 staff development days through the school year, but it was recently (not sure what year exactly) cut down to three days. Teachers need to get some of that time back.

2) Improved communication with parents and community - to include improved Web site communication as well as other.

3) Operations - look closely at each area for improvements.

Community Input

Paul Storm, who brought a written notice about the functioning of the Surplus Property Committee and the Brown Act at the last meeting, (See 11/4 Synopsis) stated that the problems had been corrected and expressed appreciation for this.


We have a new Chief Business Officer. Edith Hendon comes to us after 15 years in the Metropolitan District in San Jose. We welcome her warmly. (And I will add that the gave an excellent presentation about next year's budget after being with us for only a week.)


2004-05 Budget

Our new CBO, Ms. Hendon clued us in on how it's going for next year. First, she presented the grim enrollment predictions: Total enrollment,which dropped by almost 200 students this year, will to continue to drop by about 330 more students over the next two years unless something changes. For next year, this would represent a need for about 10.5 fewer teaching positions, and another 3.5 fewer the following year.

Right now, the District has a projected $1.6 shortfall for the 04-05 school year, and an additional $350,000 for the following year.

Under a new CA ruling meant to assist troubled Districts, we're allowed to spend some of our categorical funds (those tagged for certain programs such as the lottery money going for books) on anything we want to. So far, the District has not done this, and has money saved in many categories due to a spending freeze instituted last year. We have $853,834 available from this, and the decision has been made to access $300,000 for spending usually done from the general fund.

Surplus Property Advisory Committee

This committee has completed its deliberations on the recommended uses for the District Office building in Felton and the Redwood Elementary School building in Boulder Creek. After the public hearing tonight, they will produce the final report of the committee. John Scanell presented their findings so far.

1. Redwood Elementary School Building

A. Considerations - remote location, lack of parking spaces, wanting to limit impact on local residents and property, wanting limited-term agreements (declining enrollment in the District is predicted for the next five years - after that we have no way of knowing), balance needs of District (bringing in money, or at least not losing it) and community. Multi-use is considered a possibility, which would give more flexibility. Day uses considered optimal.

B. Recommendations

Best use - Educational Services (includes day care, day camp, or other)
Next best - Community Services (senior center, etc.)
Third - Commercial Venture

2. District Office Building

A. Considerations - The site is in a commercially-zoned area, so there is a potential positive cash-flow opportunity for the District in this building. In a few years (2 or 3, I think) our lease drops to $1/year, improving this picture even more. The committee emphasized the importance of careful evaluation of tenants to make sure they are of low financial risk, and that the business be compatible with local and county plans.

B. Recommendations

Best use - Commercial venture as described above
Next best - Community Services
Third - Educational Services (they pointed out that space remains at the Quail Hollow building for this purpose as well)

High School Bond Project Update

A preconstruction meeting has taken place with the contractor, Labor Compliance Officer, and others. Safety is a major consideration and was discussed in depth. All workers will wear numbered orange vests.

The temporary fencing is up. Some trees have had to come down. The smaller ones will be moved.

Groundbreaking will be November 19 at 2PM with a certain amount pomp and ceremony, and certainly joy. This has been a long time coming.

Public Hearing - Surplus Property Advisory Committee

Michelle Hooker expressed gratitude to the committee for good work, with a clear, focused method.

Paul Storm was confused with the evening's presentation, feeling it was vague about possible revenue streams, and "how much would be used for what". He also wanted to make sure the committee was aware of statutory issues and the requirements for recreational use. He was concerned about the possibility of low-income housing at the Redwood site.

Vern Furness, one of the committee members, gave assurances that all of Mr. Storm's questions are answered in the final report. He also made positive comments about the committee and his experience working on it.

Danielle Barnes, also on the committee, stated that the fields and playgrounds at Redwood would continue to be open to the public, and that those parcels are not zoned for low-income housing.

Meeting was adjourned at 7:30 PM.