With one of the toughest school years behind them, the Santa Clara Unified School District Board of Trustees set their sights on how they’re going to help students make up for lost time.
2021-2026 Strategic Plan
In June 2020, the Board approved Vision 2035 and on Thursday, June 10 the Board held a study session and listened to a presentation of the first of three Vision 2035 five-year strategic plans.
Many panelists from across the District presented “Innovating for Equity and Excellence,” the 2021 – 2026 Strategic Plan. It is organized into three focus areas: learning experience and supports for students, supports for adults, and systems transformations.
Board Members all said they appreciated the work that went into the Strategic Plan and looked forward to seeing more details and next steps. Some said that the plan is a little vague. Superintendent Dr. Stella Kemp said more work is being done in the background and promised to keep the Board updated as solid plans come together.
Later in the meeting, the Board heard a presentation for consulting services with Partners in School Innovation to help with Vision 2035 and the new Strategic Plan — the contract is not to exceed $133,000. This will come back to the next meeting for Board approval.
Proposed 2021-2022 Budget
The Board saw updates to the Proposed Budget. Not much has changed just yet, as gears are still turning at the State and Federal level regarding more funding support, according to Mark Schiel, Chief Business Officer.
The 2021-2022 proposed budget is looking like it will be $331,109,679.
The District did officially receive ESSER III funds, a one-time revenue, and it is now included in the budget. These funds will help pay for new positions that were approved to aid with post-COVID-19 student support.
They are still predicting a 12 % reduction of Title 1 funding, but Schiel says this may change.
Schiel also presented some multi-year projections. When it comes to property taxes, their predictions are conservative as there are many appeals in progress. They expect revenue and expenditures to keep increasing over the years. Salaries will stay mostly consistent with expected increases so that means benefits will also mostly increase.
Shiel is predicting that the District will be in deficit spending for the years 2021-2022, 2022-2023 and 2023-2024.
After being presented with three options for outreach regarding the District’s California Voting Rights Act efforts, the Board officially approved Option 2. This option includes having as much public input as possible and holding way more public meetings than required.
Council Member Jim Canova repeated that he wanted the District to hire an outside communication consulting firm to do the outreach. Vice President Vickie Fairchild agreed and amended the original motion to include hiring an outside firm. The approval of Option 2 passed with the amendment.
For their next meeting, Schiel hopes to bring a contract for a communications consultant as well as a contract for the demographer to the Board.
Staffing Ratios for Special Education
The Board requested more information on staffing levels for Special Education. Staff said there will be more information at their next Board Meeting in the School Services Report but presented what they had to the Board.
Kathy Alaniz, Director of Special Education, shared that they have added more support roles just in case, but they don’t yet know how and if their students will come back. For example, resource class numbers change very often. Also, they are starting 2021 with smaller class sizes and anticipating needing to add additional adults to classes if needed.
However, Board Member Vickie Fairchild was still concerned about class sizes. “These kids have missed out on so much,” she said.
Alaniz said for the younger grades they will add additional support once the class reaches 9 students, and they can also look into that for older classes.
Board Clerk Bonnie Liberman was also concerned about starting the year near capacity in case new students need to be added throughout the year.
Fairchild asked specifically that they add an additional Paraprofessional into classes over 10. Liberman agreed, saying they need to be proactive.
“I want to see us add some [Paraprofessionals] to these classrooms and just proactively increase staffing, particularly for our littles,” said Liberman.
Board President Jodi Muirhead asked staff to bring this back as discussion as well as for action to their next Board meeting so they can give direction in time for next school year.
The Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) will come back to the next meeting for approval. Kathie Kanavel, Assistant Superintendent, said they have heard feedback from the community and are continuing to incorporate new elements and update the plan.
The 2019-20 LCAP/2020-21 Learning Continuity Plan (LCP), and 2021 Federal Addendum will also come back to the next Board Meeting.
Dr. Kemp honored this quarter’s difference makers. Thu Tran, a Teacher at Scott Lane Elementary, was celebrated for the Students First core value; Linda Pfeifer, Secretary Peterson Middle, for the Empathy & Respect core value; and Remo Matta, a Laurelwood Elementary School parent and community member, for Connected Families and Collaborative Community core value.
The Board approved the appointment of Illa Mistry as the Administrative Secretary in the Business Services Department. They also appointed Raquel Dominguez as the Assistant Principal of Scott Lane Elementary School.
The Board affirmed June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) Pride Month. Board Member Andy Ratermann asked staff to review and amend District Policy to better align with their efforts to support their students. Lieberman agreed, saying she wanted to see changes to their Non-Discrimination and Harassment Policies to better support transgender students.
Discussed at the last meeting, the Board approved a $111,250 contract with Edmentum, Inc. for their new K-8 Long Term Independent Study program.
The Board bid farewell to Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Kevin Keegan.
Muirhead said that due to current meeting guidance because of COVID-19 restrictions, Board meetings will continue virtually until California rules change.
The Board is having a Governance Retreat on Saturday, June 12 at 9 a.m. and then a Special Board Meeting on Tuesday, June 15 at 5 p.m. Their last meeting of the school year is scheduled for Thursday, June 24 at 6:30 p.m.