Santa Clara Unified School District is filing away the 2020-2021 school year and looking to the next school year and beyond. The New Laurelwood Elementary School plans are moving along and the project is on track.
Laurelwood Campus Master Plan
At their Thursday, June 23 meeting, the Board of Trustees was excited to see the Peterson, Patrick Henry and New Laurelwood Elementary School Campus Master Plan after years of planning and anticipation.
Facility Development and Planning Director Michal Healy unveiled the Master Plan that was created with the community over the past eight months. The whole Master Plan is not funded. Only Phase 1 is funded using Measure BB funds and includes the New Laurelwood Elementary School, the Peterson Middle School track and field improvements, and Patrick Henry demolition. The rest of the Master Plan is not currently funded, and those items include modernizing Peterson, Nature Center improvements and Environmental Center, farm enhancements, and more.
Healy says the plan’s schedule is on track. They aim to start construction on Laurelwood in 2024 and open in August 2026. For the Peterson fields, those will take about a year once work starts.
Additionally, Healy said they are going to continue to work on the specifics of the plans. While they do, they are working on sustainable designs and are hoping for Laurelwood to be a Net Zero Energy campus.
“This is gorgeous… You knocked it out of the park,” said Board Clerk Bonnie Lieberman, who is from the Laurelwood community. “I know how hard this was. I know how much work went into it. I know difficult our community can be. You captured all the things that were important to people. It really shows that you connected with the community, and you listened.”
The Master Plan was approved with a 6-1 vote, with Board Member Dr. Michelle Ryan voting no, she stated that the size of the school wasn’t appropriate, as discussed at their previous meetings.
Facility User Groups
Last meeting, Healy got direction from the Board to allow them to approve Facility User Group changes. Programs can rent facilities from the District and their fees depend on what User Group they’re in – user groups are determined by factors including how many of the participants are SCUD students.
The Board approved the staff’s recommendation giving them the power to change User Groups and immediately got to work. They approved Santa Clara Police Activities League and the Santa Clara Lions who both requested moving to Group 1.5, which doesn’t pay fees, instead of Group 2. The change is effective for one year.
When it came to Umoja Track Club’s request to be placed in Group 1.5 instead of Group 3, the Board was more hesitant. Before the Facility Fee Schedule was enacted, they weren’t paying any fees to use the Santa Clara High School all-weather track and field but now are being asked to pay $400 an hour.
Board Member Andy Ratermann made a motion to deny the request since the SCUSD community has low participation in Umoja. The program has about 18% SCUSD participants according to Chief Business Official Mark Schiel. Board Member Albert Gonzalez agreed with Ratermann.
Board Vice President Vickie Fairchild said she didn’t like the idea of basically decimating a program. Schiel said they can offer Umoja a compromise: a 75% fee waiver for one year off of their Group 3 fees, making their fee $100 an hour instead.
Also, Schiel said they are reviewing the Facility Fee Schedule and among the changes, they’re considering changing the fees for stadiums from defaulting to the whole stadium and instead of having fees for separate parts of the stadium which could make fees more affordable if a group isn’t using the whole stadium.
The motion to deny the Umoja User Group change failed 2-5 with Ratermann and Gonzalez voting ‘yes.’
Board President Jodi Muirhead made a motion to approve the staff’s recommendation for the Umoja fee waiver and that passed 4-3 – Gonzalez, Dr. Ryan and Board Member Jim Canova voted ‘no.’
Recruitment & Hiring
The District has been busy hiring over the past week, according to Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Dr. Jose Gonzalez. Lately, they’ve been having a difficult time hiring, but now they have filled many positions and have many applicants for some of the remaining positions, thanks to their recruiting efforts.
Schools all over California are seeing declining enrollment and SCUSD is trying to figure out how that will affect teacher placements. They won’t truly know until August what enrollment will be, but Dr. Gonzalez said they are trying to nail down placements and new hires before the end of the month.
At this meeting, they approved hiring Dr. Billy Martin as the new Principal of Bracher Elementary School.
They also finalized business from previous meetings. They approved the 2022-2023 Annual Update for 2021-2024 Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP), 2022-2023 Adopted Budget, and A-G Completion Improvement Grant Plan.
Related LLC, that’s building Related Santa Clara, “has committed any ground lease entities constructing residential square footage to pay both the maximum state required school impact fees and provide additional voluntary funding to the District.” Schiel congratulated Healy on this deal that she’s been working on since 2016.
This was the Board’s last regular Board meeting before their summer break, but they will have a special Board meeting on Wednesday, June 29. Regular meetings resume in August.