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Trustee Misconduct Policy, New Charter Petition, Development Impact Fee Increase On the Agenda for SCUSD Nov. 13 Meeting

At the Nov. 13 meeting of the Santa Clara Unified School Board, Trustee Andrew Ratermann has requested a discussion of censure and other actions open to the board to address misconduct by elected board members (Item (H.1). State law has no provision for trustee impeachment.

The misconduct discussion is slated to include whistleblower protections for employees, covering employees’ legal costs if they are forced to take legal action because of threats from trustees, and restoring pay and benefits that are lost because of trustee misconduct. The discussion will also include board members’ rights to take action on conflicts of interest.

An information item on the agenda is the request by the current Magnolia Charter School – which is a county-approved charter school – to create new district-approved charter school to be called Silicon Valley STEM Academy. Magnolia’s lease on the Central Park school on Kiely expires this June, and the district is unlikely to renew it because the space is needed to relieve overcrowding at Pomeroy Elementary.

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Charter schools can be approved by districts, counties, or in some cases, the state.

To start a charter, the organization needs the signatures of at least one-half the number of pupils expected to enroll. It’s intuitively easier to get those signatures countywide than within a single district. Charters can also be incorporated at public benefit non-profits (501(c)(3)), which frees them from a lot of district oversight, but it also frees districts from any financial responsibility for them. State law mandates that districts provide school facilities for charters only if at least half the students are from within the district.

The board will have a hearing on the new charter petition on Dec. 11 and make a decision on the request on Feb. 12, 2015. You can find the law about California charter schools at http://tinyurl.com/cacharters.

The board will also decide on an increase in development impact fees to $3.36 (from $3.20) per sf for new housing and $0.54 (from $0.51) per sf for new business space. Analysis by SCI Consulting of Fairfield, CA estimates that the actual cost of providing schools to serve new residential development is $7.37 per sf. However, state law caps the fee at $3.36.

Find the meeting agenda at www.santaclarausd.org/documents.cfm?id=1232.16002.

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