Sep 15, 2022 – School Board Meeting
Trustees Pontes and Shepherd were more attentive with certain items particularly those involving expenditures and appeared to show a desire for transparency by explaining and sharing certain processes that help Board members make decisions. Trustee Shepherd, speaking to the public, “You may wonder why no one asked questions during a meeting because we have opportunity to ask them privately of the Administration.” Pontes and Valdez-Clayton asked the community members to continue to write them and acknowledged that emails they received are thoughtful and respectful. Pontes said he is getting a fair share of emails.
In opening remarks, the Superintendent suggested that holding a safety meeting during a back-to-school night may have limited participation. Additionally, he came out in defense of staff attending an Arts Networking Conference but necked down the staff from 8 to 2. No mention of the sexual orientation training for 300 plus staff. It appeared throughout the meeting per some community members that some Board members lost confidence in the Administration by asking more questions. On the other hand, Trustee Shepherd (disingenuously or uninformed?) explained to the community that although he was asking questions, the Superintendent has already verified everything so that is why “we” often are able to vote quickly without discussion. Mr. Mueller agree that he thoroughly audits/vets everything. Some audience members recalling No Place for Hate implementation were in disbelief. NPFH occurred with the Superintendent’s blessing, the Board admitted to knowing nothing about it, trusted the Superintendent, and eventually figured out it was not vetted by anyone in the Administration!
You would expect people that want to be a School Board member would actually watch a meeting or two…maybe even speak. Once again low overall turnout with 24 community members and half as many Trustees and Staff.
To their credit, it is reported that Candidate Anderson, Machin, Peters, and Youngblood were in attendance.
3.1 A former student pushed equity and claimed that bullying and racial harassment is continuing at CHS. The administration has never released data on “racial incidents”.
A community member spoke to the need to remove politics and ideology from the classroom. And that if you as a school board member or candidate are going to push an agenda, then admit it.
Another member talked about ensuring CUSD is a positive experience for all students regardless of sexual orientation.
Another member, strangely was permitted to speak about a subject unrelated to the schoolboard. CSBR is all for freedom of speech and has noted when limits were placed unfairly by points of order obstensibly to enforce civility, but just like Sep 9, 2021, the community member railed about conspiracy theories. In this case that two sites were not being transparent: one a parents advocacy site, WTPC, that some believe has helped CUSD focus on academics and the other one, this website! He exclaimed, “Divisiveness needs to end.”
Candidate Machin asked questions related to the CHS library renovation which did not go through DSA approval process. If this is an example of local control it may be a good thing, but was the Board exercising local control or the Administration?
Trustee Valdez-Clayton decided not to vote against 4.7 because of a “Board Policy” she does not agree with. The Superintendent stated that the CHS Library renovations complied with public contracting law per legal counsel.
Funding discussion. Basic aid, will we get there?
Trustee Antrim discussed concerns that students are exposed to negative material over social media such as catfishing that the schools cannot control.
7.1 Jennifer Landry, President of ACT, talked about CMS P.E. department, “classes as large as 56 or more with one teacher”…[Editor: that does not sound like a good thing.] We had teachers that were light-headed, taking medications for migraines, vomiting as a result of heat and existing a/c units have mechanical issues. Community members who want to assist as Instructional aides contact school.
7.4 Trustee Pontes as a result of State-mandated free lunches, queried, “Are fewer students leaving campus for open lunch?”
7.5 A community member spoke about “the standard here in Coronado” of lapse security. She videotaped all evidence and stated that she walked unaccosted through Village to the courtyard, was able to walk up to her child’s classroom windows (Editor comment: most street level windows are accessible and can’t blame teachers for wanting fresh air especially during a heat wave.], and documented CMS cafeteria doors wide open with children inside. She recommended Trustees read the July 17, 2022 Ulvade Interim Report. She placed the perceived lack of security squarely on the Superintendent and his assistant, stating, “You get paid 20% above the national average, so you must be great at your job. Don’t tell me it is too expensive to install a/c, let me define expensive for you 19 dead children, and 2 dead teachers. That is expensive.”
Another community member seconded her comments, and also warned the Administration that before you count the dollars you plan on getting from Basic Aid, understand that people do not like the direction that public schools are going, so before adopting social engineering programs, understand that people are looking at moving to places like Arizona, where tax dollars follow the child.
A community member recommended physical security specialist get hired and recommended fencing.
The Superintendent did not specifically address LRAP but was prepared to address questions (there were none) and agreed that he is hosting another Safety meeting prior to the October School Board Meeting.
Trustee Sheperd said the community member who brought up safety was civil and sometimes we need passion and 1) seconded locking of classroom doors, 2) we need to ensure we have a written signed MOA with other law enforcement agencies that defines a “crystal clear chain-of-command” to avoid the confusion that happened at Ulvade and 3) safety needs to be a top priority. Trustee Antrim did not fail to link safety with mental health counseling, and asked where can we innovate on online bullying and harassment (or swatting, catfishing, etc.); where are they getting the citizenship or ethics of doing this?” What is out there that we can incorporate social emotional health for our students. Trustee Valdez-Clayton does not want to see video because it will be too shocking and asks community not to attempt / test school security. Trustee Anderson is “big-time in favor of putting security fence around school.” Trustee Antrim wants cyberbullying and digital citizenship to be added to the Agenda but Trustee Shepherd and Pontes deflected it based on the #1 priority should be physical safety.
9.7 Approve Item 4.7 as written, Trustees Antrim, Pontes, and Shepherd voted in favor of adopting Board Policies which includes language from the Menstrual Equity Act; Trustee Valdez-Clayton said it is false so she did not approve. Trustee Cruz-Anderson also voted against not adopting AB 367.