WSCUHSD board to consider new courses, COVID-19 Prevention Program at Jan. 20 meeting

By Camille Escovedo, Staff Writer, Sonoma West Times & News, January 18, 2021

The West Sonoma County Union High School District board and community will get back into the full swing of things at the Jan. 20 meeting at 6 p.m. over Zoom for topics ranging from several new proposed courses to the district’s COVID-19 Prevention Program (CPP) for when schools reopen.

The online meeting agenda and Zoom link are available here: https://simbli.eboardsolutions.com/SB_Meetings/ViewMeeting.aspx?S=36030891&MID=5235

First, the board will host a brief open session at 4:30 p.m. before the closed session begins at 4:35 p.m. According to the agenda, community members seeking to comment on the closed session agenda should email Administrative Assistant Karen Lamb at klamb@wscuhsd.org by 4 p.m. Wed, Jan. 20 for their comments to be directed to the board.

Closed session for conference with labor negotiators, then legal counsel for anticipated legal action

During the closed session, the trustees will confer with legal counsel over anticipated legal action regarding an alleged violation of the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) of 2001.

A Jan. 8 letter addressed to Beal from mostly Forestville community members said they believed the at-large trustee election method doesn’t meet the CVRA’s intent and that replacing it with a by-trustee-area election method and possibly increasing trustees from five to seven may improve district representation and ward off litigation.

The letter makes multiple related requests for the district to act according to the CRVA and the California Education Code. Among the senders are numerous board watchers who’ve advocated to preserve El Molino High School in developing consolidation plans, such as Gillian Hayes and Jessalee Mills, who in November said she emailed then-board president Jeanne Fernandes requesting her immediate resignation, according to reporting by Sonoma West Times & News.

The letter can be read in full at a link provided in the online meeting agenda. The closed session will also include a conference with labor negotiators from West Sonoma County Teachers’ Association (WSCTA) and California School Employee Association (CSEA) to Superintendent Toni Beal.

According to the agenda, the public can give feedback on items not on the open session agenda towards the beginning of the open session, after the agenda’s approval.

Open session at 6 p.m. on proposed new courses, budget calendar, contract negotiations, COVID-19 Prevention Program

During the 6 p.m. open session, the board will begin with the usual tasks of the consent calendar and reports from student board representatives, associations, principals, trustees and Superintendent Beal, the agenda said. But the meeting will be punctuated by the board’s possible approval of the district’s COVID-19 Prevention Program (CPP) on workplace regulations in the event schools reopen.

First, the board will discuss and consider action on approving the governance handbook and a first reading of board policy and administrative regulation updates recommended by the California School Boards Association (CSBA).

Trustees may approve up to four new courses for Laguna High School. According to the agenda, the board will consider approving Statistics for Life, Sustainable Living, Construction and Web Development to be offered as early as fall 2021.

Afterwards, WSCUHSD administration recommends the board approve a prepared three-year parcel tax plan for the 2020/2021 year to ensure the district spends the 2012 Measure K funding according to the parcel tax measure’s requirements, the agenda said.

The agenda next positions trustees to consider passing the budget and financial calendar for the 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 fiscal years. The timeline of budget developments and measures requires board approval, the agenda said.

Furthermore, the board will consider approving budget revisions from December 2020 as part of a monthly district budget update, the agenda said.

The board will also discuss Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed 2020-21 state budget that, according to the agenda, would fund cost of living adjustments for the next three fiscal years if it is approved in June.

Towards the meeting’s end, the agenda said the board is to host a public hearing on the district’s starting proposal for contract negotiations with California School Employee Association (CSEA) for the 2020-21 year. Then the board will consider accepting CSEA’s openers for the negotiations and approving the district’s initial proposal for the successor contract negotiations with CSEA to start July 1, 2021.

Board to consider approving district COVID-19 Prevention Program

The final consideration for the board is a fraught subject for school districts across the country. Trustees will consider passing the district’s CPP for controlling the virus threat when teachers and students return to the classroom.

The agenda provides a CPP document that dives into measures the district would take to create and maintain workplace conditions and practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19, like details on face covering, physical distancing, sanitation and self-quarantining. This document also links to the WSCUHSD Plan for Returning to School for the 2020/2021 school year.

Some measures listed in the CPP document are staff and student symptom screenings and temperature checks before entering the campus further, unidirectional movement throughout the schools to maximize physical distancing and establishing protocols for contact tracing.

This article was produced by Sonoma West Times & News, the hometown newspaper of Sebastopol and west county since 1889. See more news at sonomawest.com