The Silicon Valley Voice

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District Prepares For a New School Year, New Chapter

With the first day of school on the horizon, the Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD) School Board returned from summer break for their first meeting of the school year.

 

Easement Granted to San Jose

The School Board approved a resolution to declare the SCUSD’s intent to approve a grant of easement to the City of San Jose for public street and other public purposes over a small part — about 1.5 acres — of the Agnews Campus adjacent to Zanker Road in San Jose.

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The easement is part of a bigger picture of improvements that the District is making to Zanker Road and is also part of the mix in terms of traffic mitigation fees the District will have to pay to the City of San Jose.

“Can we use this easement to see if we can help to bring a better understanding as far as [traffic mitigation fees] we’re going to have to pay?” said Board Member Albert Gonzalez.

Larry Adams, Director of Bond Projects, said that they should hear back from the San Jose Public Works Department any day now concerning what the traffic mitigation fee expectation would be.

 

Strategic Plan

Superintendent Dr. Stella Kemp led the discussion about the District’s New Strategic Plan.

Board Member Andrew Ratermann said the Board should start with a visioning process to avoid ending up with the Strategic Plan that simply follows the status quo.

“Most strategic plannings tend to keep the status quo because you end up with a lot of people in a room, everybody says what they think is good, you end up taking an average and what the average is the status quo because that’s what everyone is used to,” said Ratermann about what he would like to avoid.

“My biggest concern is that we ensure we get input from our community in a variety of ways and we think of our community very, very broadly,” said Board President Dr. Michele Ryan.

The Board discussed reach out to groups beyond the obvious parent pool, and helping the whole community get involved, regardless if they have a child in SCUSD or not.

The Board Members disagreed on what their level of involvement should be. Board Member Jim Canova said he was interested in minimizing the Board’s input.

“We’re trying to get a free input from the community,” said Canova. “And I think if you maximize our role we can interfere with that process.”

Ratermann disagreed, saying that they should be involved because the Board, at the end of the day, needs to take ownership of the Strategic Plan. Dr. Ryan said she was in the middle.

Dr. Kemp said she will go back to staff with what they discussed and come back with next steps.

 

New AP Materials

New AP instructional resources are needed for AP Economics, AP Physics, and the Expository Reading and Writing Course (ERWC) because the College Board revised and updated the courses.

The topic will come back to the next meeting for Board approval. The total cost is about $62,000.

 

Other Business

Shehnaz Wadhwania was appointed as the Agnews Elementary School Principal.

The Board also approved the Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Santa Clara and the District for D.A.R.E services. The District will pay the cost of the services to the City of Santa Clara and the agreement will terminate on June 30, 2022. The cost is about $60,000 a year.

When the Board approved their consent calendar, they approved a grant through the California Career Technical Education Incentive Grant Program for 2019-20. SCUSD was granted about $372,000 with the possibility of annual renewal. This is an extension of the 18-19 grant awarded previously.

The Board meets next on Aug. 22 at 6:30 p.m.

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