December School Board: All is Calm
New leaders selected for new year
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The West Sonoma County Union High School Board meeting started with a rather quiet reshuffling of the board seats and name plates: Julie Aiello will be President for a second straight term; Lewis Buchner will be Vice President and Shawn Chernila will be the Clerk.
“I am your new President as well as your old President,” said Julie Aiello.
El Molino Memorabilia
The board endorsed Superintendent Chris Meredith’s proposal to form a committee of El Molino alumni and former teachers and staff to consider options for organizing and providing access to El Molino memorabilia such as yearbooks, sports trophies and team pictures. The issue was raised by Mary Fricker at a previous meeting.
Analy Building Projects
Jennie Bruneman, the district’s Director of Facilities, Bond and Technology, discussed progress on the first round of Measure A Bond projects and then introduced the recommended projects for the second round. The focus was of “District administration and architectural consultants included the buildings with the greatest facilities needs.” One notable priority was providing gender-neutral bathrooms and athletic locker room areas.
The projects at Analy include:
East Wing Modernization including L1/L2 classrooms
involves upgrading science classrooms
Analy Cafeteria/Kitchen modernization,
reconfiguring space for onsite cooking
cafe area for student gathering
Analy Stadium Modernization
Turf replacement and track resurfacing
Repairs to address drainage issues
Analy Main Gym Modernation
Gym is a two-story building without elevator, and one is needed for accessibility
The board approved the architect to begin working on plans for these projects, leading up to a design review in May of 2024. These projects might get underway in the summer of 2025.
The District’s Chief Business Official, Andrew Soliz, presented the first interim budget report, which outlined the current year as well as forecasts for the next two years, and the Board approved it. In general, the District’s finances are in good shape.
Soliz said: “We are spending the last of the Federal and State COVID dollars, so you see a drop in revenue in 2023-24, an almost 9% decrease from 2022-23. In 2024-25, we start to see the impacts of projected declining enrollment on revenue.”
Future enrollment is the key component to projection future revenue, Soliz pointed out. It drives the Local Control Funding Formula (LCCF), based on Average Daily Attendance (ADA). If there are two numbers to focus on, one is the total number of students enrolled in school (1,599 this year), and the other is based on the average number of students coming to school each day (1494 this year). ADA is what acually counts for revenue.
Soliz said that recent legilation allows the district to base its revenue on ADA for the current, the prior year or a 3-year rolling average, whichever is greater.
Teacher Lily Smedshammer asked the the District board to consider more initiatives aimed at improving school attendance. “Do parents know how much their Disneyland vacation during the school year costs the school?” she asked. She spoke about “creating a culture of concern” around students missing school.
The Analy Hall of Fame will hold an induction ceremony on January 20th at Santa Rosa Country Club. Linda Helton of the Alumni Association said there will be six new members inducted.
Walker Solano is the new student representative from Laguna High School.
Karis Morasch, the Analy High School student representative, said that last Friday’s Talent Show was her favorite because the support for the talented performers “highlights the best parts of the Analy student body.”
Laguna High School has published a new version of its student Literary Magazine. Teacher Lana McNamara helped students put it together.
Laguna Principal Greg Alexander said that five students will graduate in December. He said while he was happy for them, he will be sad to see them go.
The Winter Choir event was the first organized by first-year music teacher Spencer Burrows and it was a terrific show.
Analy Principal Chuck Wade noted that he’s been in the job for four months now. “I never understood before how many things can happen in a month,” he said.
The third negotiating session between the teachers union (WSCTA) and the District have been constructive, according to Superintendent Chris Meredith and Lily Smedshammer, the WSCTA President.
The board enthusiastically approved the Science Department’s request to offer a new course in “Earth, Space and Environmental Science.” The justification for the new course was that “students are struggling with the level of math required in Physics and Chemistry courses.” Analy Science Department Chair, Kimberly MacQuarrie, said the physical science course would be more conceptual and less math intensive; it was something students were requesting that would help them meet a science requirement for graduation.
The board agreed to hold five meetings at the Forestville campus in the 2024-2025 school year.
The board approved a stipend for a head coach and assistant for flag football. 45 students were on the team this year.