The trustees heard construction updates from architect Judy Semingson, district construction manager Ryan Heussler and district staff Nick Boyd, and reviewed change orders for construction at South Fork High School. The board thanked them for the industrious, hard work accomplished over the summer to complete so much of the modernizations at the high school before the first day of school on Tuesday, Sept. 2. There are some punch list items to still be completed, Boyd said. Board members said South Fork looks great.
The board also briefly discussed whether to fix up the library at South Fork High School or tear it down, but did not make a decision.
Semingson said she ordered a clock for the clock tower and thinks it will be there for the grand opening of the Junior High School on Aug. 27.
A parent from Casterlin School objected to the new bus schedule for that run. District superintendent Catherine Scott explained the schedule change was in response to requests the board heard at the school board meeting held at Casterlin in May. She will speak to the transportation department to see what can be done.
Trustee Dennis O'Sullivan read a letter from Rob Standish, who is leaving his teaching position at South Fork High School to become vice-principal at Eureka High School, not because he was dissatisfied in any way at South Fork, Standish wrote, but because he has an opportunity to advance his career closer to home. Standish wrote that he was sad to leave and encouraged everyone to contribute to their schools. O'Sullivan said Standish will be sorely missed.
Business Manager's Report
Scott reported that she and business manager Bambi Henderson attended a school services meeting in Redding in July. One item of discussion there was the cap on district reserves the state proposes to mandate that will require districts to keep a lower reserve level. Scott pointed out the district would not in the past have survived the deferrals of payment and cash flow issues on the proposed required reserve level, which would lower district reserves to eight percent, about half of what it currently has. Later in the meeting the board passed a resolution calling on the state legislature and the governor to immediately repeal or substantially change the language contained in Section 27 of State Bill 858 that puts a low cap on districts' reserve levels.
Scott said many advocacy groups are fighting it because it is such bad business. It is attached to the rainy day fund Proposition 2 that will be on the November ballot, she added.
Scott also reported on the governor's mandated cost reimbursement, a rate of $66 per Average Daily Attendance (ADA) which brings in about $47,000 for SHUSD.
She reported that there is a lot of debate because the state is moving toward a mandated block grant, which is a much lower rate of reimbursement for mandated costs than the old system. She said thus far the district has not bought into the block grant because it is about $100,000 less annually than the district generates by filing claims individually.
Two additional .2 Full Time Employment (FTE) positions were added, one funded by Save Our Schools that will add a drama class to South Fork High School, bringing Paul Schmollinger up to full time. The other enabled another P.E. class to be added due to an unanticipated increase in enrollment. Briar Parkinson, who was a teacher at Redway School and is a real P.E. teacher, will be at South Fork this year and co-teach the additional P.E. class. Scott and South Fork principal Lisa Gray explained Parkinson will be in charge of the program and has many innovative ideas.
Scott reported that the district is hiring new staff.
In line with California Education bullying laws and reasonable attempts to modify behavior and with the district's implementation of Positive Behavior Support and Intervention (PBIS) it is necessary for the district to revise the District Discipline Matrix. Over the summer, site administrators reviewed the California Education Code, PBIS models and samples of discipline matrix from other districts. Scott presented the board with a draft of the updated discipline matrix for review. The board had a few suggestions. Board, staff and administration discussed encouraging student responsibility for behavior, that some of the issues will be able to be resolved in the classroom under the new matrix. PBIS relates to the next step of restorative justice, and the goals of changing the climate and culture and re-establishing relationships was discussed. Scott said she will attach Education Codes to the discipline matrix.
The new matrix will be presented to district staff and brought back to the board in September.
In addition, Scott and some of the teachers and administration discussed the staff participation in professional development and Common Core meetings and workshops.
The board, administration and staff expressed optimism about the new junior high; the successful modernization of South Fork, improved school climate, culture and curriculum; and the new school year in general.
Scott provided the board with a state required Actuarial Study of Retiree Health Liabilities as of February 1, 2014 that was prepared by Total Compensation Systems, Inc. The purpose of the study is to provide information to enable the district to manage the costs and liabilities associated with its retiree health benefits; to provide information to enable the district to communicate the financial implications of retiree health benefits to internal financial staff, the board, employee groups and other effected parties; and to comply with Governmental Accounting Standard Board Accounting Standards 43 and 45 related to other post employment benefits.
She reported that College of the Redwoods donated 40 chairs to the district.
The next regular meeting of the SHUSD board of trustees will be on Thursday, Sept. 11, at South Fork High School and there will be a special board meeting will be on Thursday, Sept. 25, at Redway Elementary School.