Wednesday, January 9, 2013

ON TAP FOR THE BOARD: Bond Updates, a New Superintendent, and Public Access

On Tap for the Board is a short summary of what you can expect at the next regular meeting of the Santa Clara Unified School District's Board of Trustees


January 10, 2013 at the District Office Board Room, 1889 Lawrence Rd.  Santa Clara, CA 95051
Call to Order – 5:30 pm; Open Session – 6:30 pm


Following a marathon 7 hour meeting last December 13th, which featured the swearing  in of two newly elected Board members and ended with the announced retirement of the District Superintendent, and two special meetings called on short notice on the 18th and 19th, tensions on the Board and between Board and District Staff have rarely been higher.  The December 13th meeting ushered in a new Board majority, consisting of newly selected Board President Christine Koltermann, Ina Bendis, and two new trustees: Michelle Ryan and Chris Stampolis, who survived substantial opposition to handily win his seat.
Following the meeting, marked by disagreement and occasional outright hostility between members of the new majority and the rest of the Board and Staff, Superintendent Bobbie Plough announced her retirement, effective this June, citing family issues.  The December 18th special meeting was found to be in error due to mistakes in the announced agenda, preventing any board action – which did not stop the meeting for lasting over an hour, picking up on the 19th with a contentious discussion over beginning the search for a new superintendent.


(To view the full agenda, visit the District's website here)
As has become practice, expect another long meeting of the Santa Clara Unified School District Board of Trustees this Thursday.  Reports are expected from the Citizen Oversight Committees for the Measure J and Measure H Bond Measures.  Expected to draw longer discussion is item G.7., which will cover the approval of reference checking and further board action on the hiring of a search firm to find candidates to replace the retiring superintendent.  Given the extensive time previously spent on this normally simple matter, expect this item to draw Board and public input.
Finally, several topics concerning public access to Board meetings and records are expected to draw substantial, if not heated, contributions from the Board and public: Item H.4. will discuss increased availability of past Board agendas and minutes on the District Website, I.2. will discuss increasing access to Board meetings after complaints from the Board and public over difficulty hearing and getting into crowded meetings, and Item I.3.  will discuss the possibility of videotaping meetings, including airing them on the public Channel 26.


The retirement of Superintendent Plough means that the board will face a very different staff come this Fall compared to that found less than a year ago.  Of the primary Staff members the Board deals with, only Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Brad Syth remains; Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Lisa Cesario left in May to accept a position outside the District, Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Jim Luyau recently announced his retirement, and Board Secretary Cathy Van Pernis plans to retire, after 14 years in her position, this Fall.

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