July 6, 2006

Notes from July 5, 2006, School Board Meeting

After a closed session in which no actions were taken, the San Leandro School Board began its July 5, 2006, meeting with the presentation of an award from the Alameda County Board of Education to the "Yes on Measure A Campaign" committee. Committee chair Deborah Cox was on hand to accept the award.

During public comments, Mike Katz asked the Board to be more proactive in providing information to the community about the mailbox lawsuit between the school district and the San Leandro Teacher's Association.

School Trustee Linda Perry reported that she had asked for legal advice about her participation in discussions of the freshman campus (9th grade academy) since she lives close to one of the properties. After consulting counsel, Perry said that she would not participate in discussions or votes involving the reshman campus.

Dana LeSher of Harris and Associates, Assistant Superintendent Cindy Cathey, Assistant Superintendent Leon Glaster and Superintendent Christine Lim ran through a PowerPoint presentation entitled "Potential Facility Bond, Research and Information." The presentation covered why the district wants to focus on 9th grade and reviewed the options under consideration, their advantages and disadvantages.

After the presentation, public comments were made by 17 people, most of whom spoke in support of a performing arts center. Roxanne Ansolabehere, the San Leandro High School librarian spoke out in favor of expanding the high school's library, noting that "our students deserve a fully stocked, fully staffed" library. San Leandro High School theater arts teacher Megan McKinley noted that San Leandro placed second this year in the Ohlone College High School Drama Competition as she expressed her support for a performing arts center. Arguments in favor of the performing arts center included the arts' positive effect on academic performance, the potential for joint use of the facility, and wider support among San Leandro residents.

During subsequent comments and questions from the board, Perry again expressed concern about the acquisition of the adjacent PG&E property, which was required in order for the performing arts center to be built. School Trustee Stephen Cassidy noted that a performing arts center together with industrial arts facilities was important because of the many San Leandro residents that worked in the trades. Noting that the school bond would not cover all of the projects that the Board would like to see completed, School Trustee Louis Heystek emphasized that modernization should focus more on restrooms, heating, roofing, fire and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements first and less on floors, painting and ceilings. Cassidy remarked that he would rather "solve one problem [overcrowding at the high school] fully rather than two problems [overcrowding and modernization] halfway."

Cassidy reported that the Communication Committee discussed a mailing list, which would be used to inform the public about upcoming events, but he noted that it would not be ready in the short term. He hoped it would be ready when the upgrade of the district web site was completed by the end of the summer.

Consent items approved unanimously by the Board included extending the contracts of Cindy Cathey, Assistant Superintendent of Education Services, Leon Glaster, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services, and Michael Martinez, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, to June 30, 2008. Superintendent Christine Lim's contract was also extended, but there was no date listed on the agenda. However, Lim reported that it was extended until 2009.

The board discussed the possibility of another meeting on July 13, 2006, to further discuss the facilities bond, but there were questions about the availability of the consultant that will provide guidance on how much money should be in the bond measure. Cassidy also expressed concern that the community would not have had an opportunity to provide its input if such a meeting were held. The board decided not to hold a meeting on July 13. Trustee Heystek also noted that he will be late to the July 18, 2006, school board meeting because he will be in Davis for the swearing in of his brother to the Davis City Council.

Last week, Superintendent Lim and School Trustees Pauline Cutter, Stephen Cassidy, and Ray Davis met with San Leandro Chamber President-elect Robert Brannan and San Leandro Chamber CEO Heidi Finberg to seek the Chamber's support for the school bond measure. Brannan and Finberg were reported to be enthusiastic, but the San Leandro Chamber's Board of Directors is scheduled to vote on the issue on July 27, 2006.

Updated on July 10, 2006, to reflect that Stephen Cassidy and Ray Davis were at the meeting with Lim, Cutter, Brannan, and Finberg. Thanks Stephen.

Posted by Mike Katz-Lacabe at July 6, 2006 2:19 PM | TrackBack
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