At their last meeting, the Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD) Board of Trustees decided to poll the community on names for the District’s three new schools. One option was Abram Agnew Elementary School, Dolores Huerta Middle School and Kathleen MacDonald High School. And the other option, instead, had Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG) High School.
At the Jan. 16 meeting, Superintendent Dr. Stella Kemp recommend that the Board approve the school names based on the committee recommendation which were Agnew Elementary, Huerta Middle and RBG High School.
Poll results showed that about 60 percent preferred RBG High over MacDonald High. However, many came to ask the Board to choose MacDonald. On the other hand, some who were on the naming committee asked the Board to consider the effort they put into their recommendation.
Board Vice President Jodi Muirhead and Board President Dr. Michele Ryan expressed that they preferred the committee’s recommendation.
Referring to the many speakers who rallied for MacDonald High, Dr. Ryan said, “sometimes you have to make hard decisions that are not necessarily what people in the room want.” She noted how influential RBG is and said that, instead, naming a building at Wilcox High School after MacDonald would be more meaningful because that is where she teaches.
“There aren’t any bad nominees in there,” clarified Board Clerk Mark Richardson.
In the end, the motion to go with MacDonald High School passed 4-3. Muirhead, Dr. Ryan and Richardson voted “no.”
The poll also asked if River Oaks Educational Campus or Coyote Creek Educational Campus was a good name for the site.
A motion for River Oaks Educational Campus failed 3-4 with Board Members Vickie Fairchild, Albert Gonzalez, Andrew Ratermann, and Richardson voting “no.” The poll had shown that about 50 percent of respondents didn’t want the area to have a name.
Strategic Plan Report
Dr. Kemp and District Staff presented the final report on the Strategic Plan — a five-year plan that recently completed. According to the report, the District made good progress on their nine goals: college readiness, career readiness, culture of excellence, family engagement, safety and school climate, technology, facilities, community and business partnerships, and financial sustainability. With 48 objectives, which included 118 activities, they completed about 90 percent of them.
Dr. Kemp, who became Superintendent in July 2019, praised the District’s progress and shared ideas to improve their next Strategic Plan.
Human Resource Items
In rapid-fire voting, the Board approved the Tentative Agreement between SCUSD and California Federation of Teachers, AFT, Local 6343; the Tentative Agreement between SCUSD and CSEA Chapter 350; and the Tentative Agreement between UTSC and SCUSD for a 2019-2022 Successor Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The Board also approved a flurry of salary-related items including the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 Certificated Salary Schedules, the 2019-2020 Classified Salary Schedules, the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 Adult Education Unrepresented Supervisor/Teacher and Supervisor Pay Scale, the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 Adult Education Hourly Certificated Salary Schedules, and the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 Management Salary Schedules.
The Board recognized the Wilcox’s Career Technical Education (CTE) Distributive Education Clubs of America. Their team won their second straight state championship in the California Financial Advisor’s Competition hosted by the California Council on Economic Education.
The Board approved a resolution to support participation in Census 2020.
A resolution for the District to support the Schools and Communities First Funding Act will show up as a future agenda item. It was requested by former United Teachers of Santa Clara President Michael Hickey. According to the meeting agenda, the “act would change the method and frequency of property tax assessment on commercial property in California, with the new revenue directed toward school districts and other local governments.”
The SCUSD Board of Trustees meets again on Thursday, Jan. 30 at 6:30 p.m.