At their May 9 Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD) Board Meeting, almost everything centered around attendance boundaries and school configurations.
Agnews Boundaries & Don Callejon Configuration Decided
The SCUSD School Board made a decision on whether Don Callejon School would be a K-8 or a K-5 — they chose to keep the school a K-8.
The decision went hand-in-hand with their choice on attendance boundaries for the elementary, middle, and high schools at the Agnews Campus.
Staff provided two feeder patterns for the schools at Agnews. One option had Don Callejon as a K-8 school, and the other as K-5. Since the Board decided to have Don Callejon be a K-8, the corresponding feeder pattern was the obvious choice.
School Board Member Andrew Ratermann was the sole no vote on the motion. Ratermann said that he couldn’t support the motion because the proposed attendance boundaries didn’t provide enough of an enrollment buffer at the schools in the long term. However, he made it clear that he supports Don Callejon as a K-8. School Board Member Albert Gonzalez echoed Ratermann’s concerns but admitted that the proposed boundaries are the best solution for students today.
“Boundary issues are one of the hardest things for Board Members to have to make decisions on. It impacts a lot of people,” said Board Vice President Jodi Muirhead. “We need to focus on the kids and what is best for them. It may not last forever, but I think it’s the right solution.”
The attendance boundaries for the District’s elementary and middle schools will change in August 2020, while high school boundaries for the high schools will not change until August 2022. These changes are to create an attendance area for the schools at the Agnews campus, while balancing out the enrollment in other schools in the Distict.
For elementary schools, George Mayne, Hughes and Montague elementary schools’ attendance areas will change. The Don Callejon K-5 grade attendance area will remain the same. Attendance areas for elementary schools south of Highway 101 will not change.
As for middle schools, Buchser, Don Callejon, and Peterson middle schools’ attendance areas will change, while the Cabrillo Middle School attendance area will not.
Beginning in August 2020, Agnews’ middle school will serve the students who live north of Highway 101 — except for those in the new Don Callejon attendance area.
For high schools, Santa Clara and Wilcox high schools’ attendance areas will change in August 2022, when the Agnews’ high school will start serving students who live north of Highway 101. The Santa Clara and Wilcox high schools’ attendance areas will remain unchanged for the students who live south of Highway 101.
The District has released an announcement regarding the new boundaries. It can be found on its website.
Due to the attendance boundary changes, the Board will discuss enrollment options at their next meeting on May 23. Topics include grandfathering options for the schools affected by the boundary attendance changes.
Reconfiguration of the Laurelwood/Patrick Henry Sites
Going along with the theme of the night, the Board heard a presentation from a committee tasked with recommending a reconfiguration for Laurelwood Elementary School. According to the presentation, Laurelwood is overcrowded — it’s made for 500 students but has served almost 700 and projected enrollment for the area may near 750 in 2024 — and it also lacks facilities and space.
The committee recommended building a new elementary school at the nearby Patrick Henry site, 1095 Dunford Way, to replace Laurelwood. The new school would be built for 800 students and be completed in August 2022.
The committee also explored the idea of building a smaller 400-student elementary school at the Patrick Henry site and splitting Laurelwood’s population between the existing Laurelwood campus — which, in this scenario, would receive some updates — and the new school at Patrick Henry. However, they prefer just one new 800-students school due to an array of factors, including avoiding attendance boundary changes and disturbing the school’s culture by splitting it up.
Their recommendation will come back to the May 23 meeting for Board action. The project will be funded by the Measure BB bond.
4-H Homesteaders Club Ranch’s Lease Expiring
Over a dozen concerned 4-H volunteers and young participants spoke at the meeting to demonstrate to the Board what the 4-H program and the ranch at the Curtis site means to them. The lease on the Curtis Site is expiring on June 30. 4-H currently pays $1 per year for rent.
The Board expressed that they wanted to bring the 4-H community peace of mind and get the lease sorted out quickly. Ratermann requested that staff put an item on the next meeting’s agenda to extend the lease for 1 year — which would give the Board time to iron out any details before the next lease term.
During the School Board’s closed session, they met with their legal counsel regarding Dominic Caserta’s recently filed lawsuit against SCUSD.
The Board then approved the Agnews East School Campus’ California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Report — which was needed in order to increase Agnews’ student capacity.
The proposed District Centralized Enrollment Center from previous meetings was discussed again. The committee gave another presentation and the item will come back for Board action on May 23.
The Board approved the of adoption of the phonics program that was presented at the last meeting.
As announced on May 6, “The Board has selected a Superintendent finalist pending negotiations. The Board will announce the candidate as soon as we have the details finalized, and we expect to approve the contract at our May 23, 2019, regular board meeting,” according to School Board President Michele Ryan.
Ryan teleconferenced into the meeting. The Board meets next on May 23 at 6:30 p.m.