School board passes resolution to calm voters about new bond measure

The Southern Humboldt Unified School District board of trustees passed a resolution on Thursday, April 10 that guarantees if their new bond measure N for $10 million passes in June they will never spend the remaining $10 million authorized in Measure L.

Voters will decide in June by voting on Measure N whether to pay another $40 per assessed $100,000 of property value to provide $10 million right away to complete the school construction and improvements that were started with money from Measure L that was passed in 2010.

The district has issued three series of bonds for a total of $15,197,854 of the $25.2 million authorized in Measure L, for which district property owners are now paying about $60 per $100,000 of assessed property value. Trustee Dennis O'Sullivan said following the meeting that due to a decline in increase of property value rates the remaining $10 million Measure L money will not be accessible for eight to 10 years to complete the work.

Though some of the construction and improvements are still in progress, when phase one of the work is done in the next year or two the $15 million will be used up.

The resolution states that the board commits that if Measure N is successfully passed by the requisite number of qualified voters on June 3, 2014 no further bonds of the Measure L authorization will be issued or sold.

The resolution passed unanimously.

Retiree appreciation

District superintendent Catherine Scott acknowledged eight people retiring from the district. About 10 district teachers and staff were at the meeting to receive acknowledgement or honor the retirees. Those retiring from the district are teachers Dan Brown, Gillian Brown, Marlien Fish, Jim Lowry and Barbara Staffslien, custodian Bruce Goulette. Family Resource Center director Christina Huff and school secretary Liz Ziganti.

Other board items

Retiring teacher Dan Brown spoke during public comment enumerating his contributions to the district and asking that the district show appreciation to the many other dedicated teachers by increasing their pay.

Several teachers and the Southern Humboldt Teachers Association (SHTA) report reminded the board that teachers have not had a cost of living increase for years and asked the board to remedy the situation.

In a later portion of the meeting, the board voted to increase the pay for substitute teachers in the district to $120 per day, and $145 per day for long-term substitutes because the district is having a hard time finding substitute teachers. District business manager Bambi Henderson reported that the district's substitute cost is over budget for this year at $47,606 as of March 31 and will probably be higher next year.

The board passed resolutions of appreciation for certified, classified and administrative staffs.

Scott reported that the district hired a school counselor for South Fork and Miranda Junior High School.

She presented the board with a draft of the district's Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) created from the town hall meetings and meetings with SHTA and CSEA (California School Employees Association), to comply with state mandates. Scott said that the district held an LCAP parent advisory committee meeting, and surveyed high school students. She said there is another parent advisory committee meeting coming up and she is still working on the final state required LCAP plan to bring to the board.

The district received good reviews in audits of the district and procedures for the general obligation bond Measure L.

Scott reported that the SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium) testing of the new state test started and seemed to go well. She acknowledged the district's technical advisor, Jeff Weber, in helping with the technological aspects of the testing.

Student trustee Tyler Hensley reported that Paul Schmollinger attended a theater workshop, and said that it will benefit the drama curriculum planned for the arts department at South Fork High School next fall. South Fork High School's Mad Jazz scored very well at the Humboldt State University chorale festival. He said there was an amazing amount of talent at the talent show held the previous week and that fall sports are starting. Student trustee Kathy Petersen is the lead in this year's play, called Hades: the Retelling of the Myth of Persephone.

See related article in this issue about Tyler Hensley, chosen as a Stellar Star by Humboldt County Office of Education Rising Star Foundation.