The Southern Humboldt Unified School District board of trustees held their regular meeting at Casterlin School in Blocksburg on Thursday, May 12.
In a presentation to the board, Miranda Junior High School Associated Student Body officers Marian Del Rio, Franny Genolio, Mason Cabral and Byron Weston asked the board for permission to raise money to get lockers for Miranda Junior High and South Fork High Schools.
The student presenters, all seventh-graders, had created their presentation on a laptop for the board and were well prepared with justifications for their request and solutions to the board’s previously stated objections to lockers at the schools.
The students enumerated reasons for the need for lockers, including security and health issues. They pointed out that students have had personal items and wallets stolen from backpacks, and they presented research on the health problems caused by carrying heavy backpacks.
The group suggested that for security there could be surveillance cameras and monthly locker checks. They presented petitions signed by parents at back-to-school night in favor of lockers, and said the high school students were supportive of the project. They said they also had support of local businesses that had encouraged them to make presentations to local service clubs in their fundraising efforts.
The students said that they calculated that about $30,000 would purchase 300 lockers for the high school and 200 for the junior high. The students said they would raise the money themselves.
“We’ve never had a presentation like this, especially from young citizens, leaders of the future, come this early in your life and make a presentation to the board and be so prepared,” board president Dennis O’Sullivan said. “This is absolutely amazing!”
The board voted unanimously to give the group permission to raise money for lockers for the junior high and high school.
There was a long discussion about whether to hire a manager for the district food services program. District administrator Catherine Scott reported that in a food service audit it was recommended that the district hire a food service manager to improve productivity. The financial impact of the position was given as $71,235 to $83,242.
Scott pointed to a 2010 law that added a great deal more regulatory requirements for tracking nutritional components, meals planned, and what was eaten. The food service workers at the meeting said that the paperwork requirements added hours of work for the cooks.
The board considered whether the food service manager would also cook or teach a culinary arts class.
Scott explained that an ideal candidate who qualified for the food service management position would be willing to obtain a career technical education (CTE) credential in order to be able to teach a culinary arts class. It was decided that would be more feasible than combining the food service management position with the cook position that will be open next year due to a retirement, because of the regulatory paperwork required for the food program and the traveling time the management position required to oversee other school sites.
The board voted to approve hiring for the food manager position, with three members voting in favor, Scotty McClure opposed, and Thomas Mulder absent. O’Sullivan asked that the board be prepared to eliminate the position after a year if the food program did not improve.
The board had a first reading of changes to the Transitional Kindergarten (TK) policy so that it complied with state requirements. Scott explained that the original intent of the law was to provide fall birthday children with a two-year program for kindergarten. The board discussed the program and expressed concerns about transportation for the TK students.
The board voted to adopt National Geographic Reach curriculum for the Common Core English Language curriculum. Casterlin School sixth-grade teacher Carla Basquez reported that the teachers who had piloted the Reach program found it very successful. Scott said that teachers at the other schools who had piloted the program agreed. The district will receive a discount for the materials because they piloted the program, Scott added.
Scott reported that as a result of the board reduction to five members, it would be necessary to readjust the terms to achieve even splits between years. Education code required the board members draw lots for their terms.
Scotty McClure, Jeff Henderson, and Thomas Mulder drew terms ending in 2017; and Barbara Lindsay and Dennis O’Sullivan drew terms ending in 2019.
Scott said that parents in Whitethorn were raising money to upgrade the bathrooms at Whitethorn School. She said that Dirk Dinsmore of Dinsmore Construction had estimated the replacement of fixtures, stalls, and the addition of tile at Whitethorn School would cost about $25,000. The board decided to recommend that the parents, who had reportedly raised $4,000 so far, continue fundraising for another year and aim to do the work next summer, after the board has a better idea how much the district would be able to contribute to the project.
Scott reported that the smaller schools will be painted.
Scott told the board that custodial hours at Miranda Junior High and Osprey schools were 2.5 full-time equivalent (FTE) and it was not enough. The board voted unanimously to add .5 FTE to achieve three full-time custodian positions at the Miranda campus.
The board voted to approve a provisional internship permit for school counselor Colleen O’Sullivan. Dennis O’Sullivan abstained from voting on the item due to his familial connection to Colleen O’Sullivan.
A special SHUSD meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 26. The next regular meeting will be on Thursday, June 9. Both meetings will be held at Redway Elementary School at 4:30 p.m.