School Board Meets This Thursday January 15, 2009

This Thursday the school board will have its first meeting of 2009.  If you want to go, the meeting starts at 7:00pm at the Old Grammar School on Main.  This past November, Cambria voters re-elected  Robert Gong and Cindy Fratto. They have been joined by the newly-elected Victoria Dandurand, who edged out the next candidate,  Daniel McDonald,  by just over a hundred votes.  A recent invitation to the meeting from  Steve Kniffen  promises the meeting could be interesting.  The Board will be reviewing some “Williams complaints”. One board member has a Williams complaint on record with the district and may have to recuse herself from the discussion and/or decision-making on the complaints.

If you don’t have school-aged kids or pay close attention to California education, you may not know what Williams v California is or what that decision has meant for California Schools.I had no idea what it was, so I did some digging – starting on the Coast USD website and linking to decentschools.com to get the lowdown. Here’s how decentschools.com answers “What is Williams v California?”

On May 17, 2000, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), along with other civil rights organizations, filed a lawsuit against the State of California because of the terrible conditions in many of its public schools (the Williams v. California case). Parents, students, and teachers argued that the State is failing to provide thousands of public school students, particularly those in low-income communities and communities of color, with the basic necessities required for an education.

They argued that the State’s failure to provide these bare minimum necessities to all public school students in California violates the state constitution, as well as state and federal requirements that all students be given equal access to public education without regard to race, color, or national origin. In August 2004, a settlement (legal agreement) was announced.

The settlement requires that all students have books and that their schools be clean and safe. It takes steps to make sure that students have qualified teachers and that schools deliver these important resources to students. The settlement provides nearly $1 billion to accomplish these goals.

All public school students, parents and teachers are affected by this settlement. The upshot of the ruling and related legislation is affirmation that all students have the right to a clean and safe school; the right to have a book to use in class and at home; the right to have a qualified teacher. In addition to posting these rights in the classroom, schools are required to have a complaint form available and principals must respond to complaints within 30 working days. If the complainant  is unsatisfied with the remedy, they may appeal to the superintendent, who must respond within 45 days of the initial complaint date. If this does not result in a satisfactory outcome, the complaint is considered by the Board.

Apparently, there is at least one complaint at this last  stage of the process for the Board to consider at this week’s meeting. To get a taste of the issue, visit SanLuisObispo.com, the Tribune’s website, to read Kathe Tanner’s article.

The School Board holds their closed session before the regular meeting. At 7pm, they will resume open session and follow this agenda:

IV. RESUME TO OPEN SESSION

4.1 Call to Order
4.2 Pledge of Allegiance
4.3 Announce closed session item(s)/action
A. Board Action on Expulsion Recommendation for Student 08109-3
4.4 Approval of Agenda (ACTION)

V. HEARING SESSION
The Hearing Session is designed to afford citizens the opportunity to address the Board on non-agenda items. All persons desiring to address the Board are requested to identify themselves. Speakers are normally limited to 3 minutes each with a maximum of 12 minutes per topic.

VI. CONSENT AGENDA (ACTION)

6.1 Approval of Minutes of Regular Meeting, December 1 1,2008
6.2 Approval of Warrants: Batch Nos. 26,27,28,29
6.3 Acceptance of Cash Report as of December 3 1,2008
6.4 Acceptance of Enrollment Report as of December 3 1,2008
6.5 Approval of Consultant Contracts for 2008-09, available for review in Supt ‘s office:
Eric Schell (Schell Technical Services, Inc.), provide computer and technology services
6.6 Donations:
A Dell PC Computer, keyboard and mouse (value: $1,000) to Coast Union High School from Wade Lawrence, Templeton, CA
$500.00 to Santa Lucia Middle School Athletic Department, from Bob Begley, Porterville, CA

VII. PRESENTATIONS

7.1 Santa Lucia Middle School Student Representative: Report of Activities
7.2 Board Recognition: Bruce Gibson, SLO County Board Supervisor

VIII. INFORMATION/DISCUSSION

8.1 Santa Lucia Middle School Principal’s Report: Progress on School Areas of Emphasis and Goals

8.2 Governing Board/Superintendent

A. Superintendent’s Report

IX. ACTION SESSION

9.1 Personnel

A. Approval of Personnel: Potential Layoff, Appointment, Employment, Discipline, Resignation and Dismissal of District Employee(s), per Government Code 54956.9 (ACTION)
B. Discuss, Review and Approve Quarterly Report on Uniform Complaints (ACTION)
9.2 Facilities/Operations
A. Facilities Report, Denis de Clercq
9.3 Budget
A. Public Hearing: Review Annual Accounting for School Facilities Fees
B. Acceptance and Approval of Resolution 08109-5 – Annual Accounting of Development Fees for 2007-08 Fiscal Year in the following Fund or Account: Capital Facilities (ACTION)

X. ADJOURNMENT
The next regularly scheduled meeting is on Thursday, February 12,2009, at 6:00 p.m. Closed Session in the Superintendent’s Office and 7:00 p.m. Open Session in the Old Grammar School Designated Board Room.
I haven’t ever been to a School Board meeting other than when my Dad was Superintendent of schools in the Bay Area. I didn’t go to a single one during the 5 years I taught in New Orleans Public Schools. I plan to go to this one.

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