WSCUHSD board to consider transition to new election method, more flexible graduation requirements

By Camille Escovedo, Staff Writer, Sonoma West Times & News, February 9, 2021

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The West Sonoma County Union High School District (WSCUHSD) board will meet Feb. 10 at 6:30 p.m. over Zoom to go over the California Voting Rights Act of 2001 (CVRA) and possible action on the district’s next steps, potential approval of more flexible credit options for the graduating class of 2021 and more.

The Zoom meeting link and online agenda are available here: https://simbli.eboardsolutions.com/SB_Meetings/ViewMeeting.aspx?S=36030891&MID=5533

First on the open meeting discussion and action to-do list is a presentation by attorney Jonathan Salt of Fagen, Friedman and Fulfrost, LLP on the CVRA, following the letter sent by largely El Molino High School advocates to Superintendent Toni Beal saying they believed the district’s at-large trustee election method does not meet the CVRA’s intent.

After, the board is slated to consider approving a resolution to start shifting to a by-trustee area election method starting with the 2022 board election and to seek a waiver from the State Board of Education to take on the new method without sending it to voters for approval. According to the item resolution, not going to voters will allso the board to transition quickly, save money and lower chances of CVRA-related legal liability.

A by-trustee area election sustem means that one candidate in each designated trustee area is elected by only the registered voters in that area — similar to how district elections are run for some city governments.

Next, the board will consider Beal and the WSCUHSD administration’s recommendation to approve a change in credit requirements for graduation. According to the item’s provided background, the administrators seek consideration to extend the availability of more flexible credit requirements to the Analy, El Molino and Laguna senior classes of 2021 due to the unusual circumstances of the pandemic.

There are currently 12 Analy High School students, 10 El Molino students and 17 Laguna High School students eligible for the 2020-21 variance in credit plan.

The item’s provided background information said “Under the current system for the continuation high school, students who exhibit exceptional circumstances are considered for a 190 credit diploma rather than 220 credits.”

Then the agenda said the board will consider passing School Plans for Student Achievement (SPSA) for Analy, El Molino and Laguna. SPSAs are reviewed and updated annually, and should align with the district’s Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), as well as its goals for student achievement. Schools need to provide SPSAs to get federal funding through the Consolidated Application process.

Lastly, the trustees will consider approving a monthly budget update, a monthly personnel report and the 2021-2022 school year calendar settled on between WSCTA and the district.

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