The board began the open session by reporting that during the closed session they approved the assistant superintendents' extended contracts.
I was the only speaker to address the board during the public comments portion of the agenda. I told the board that since I had already spoken before the closed session that I hadn't planned to speak again. I was in front of them for the second time because I was upset with the way the board members had use their clarifying questions to intimidate the few parents that showed up to speak about the assistant superintendent's contracts. I questioned Mr. Greenwood's comparing the teachers' tenure to the extended contracts for the superintendents. I told Mr. Sanchez that he owed an apology to the parents who had appeared before him earlier when he questioned the credibility of their statements. I told the board that Dr. Kayrell had misled us all when he told Mr. Sanchez that the new contracts included no increased monetary gains. Finally, I told them the administration's offer last year to take furlough days, as long as both unions also agreed to furlough days, was an empty promise since no one expected both unions to agree to furlough days.
The board recognized the History Day Winners.
The board approved the pilot program at SGMS for a schedule change.
The board approved expanding dual language (immersion) program to the middle school grades.
The board approved authorizing the superintendent to begin annexation application process for the stadium site.
Judy Peterson, CSEA President, expressed her concerns the effect of eliminating brunch at SGMS will result in reduction of work hours for her people. She also told the board that she believed "our employees are not all being treated with respect and they should."
Trina Brown, BTA President, defended how difficult it is for the public to get up and address the board and she believed dignity should be extended to everyone who addresses the board. She also want to make sure the board was aware rising health care costs acts as a pay raise for superintendents since the district pays for all of the superintendents' health care. She went on to say that the same increases in health care works like a pay cut to those teachers who pay part or all of their own health care coverage.
Mr. Greenwood, Board Member, apologized for any miscommunication generated from his comment about teachers' tenure. He believes the administration, as well as the teachers, needs a safety net.
Dr. Vaccarello, Board Member, explained why she uses clarifying questions. When someone addresses the board on items not on the agenda, the board is not allowed to respond. She uses clarifying questions to help inform those who address the board. Dr. Vaccarello expressed support for a volunteer week or day of recognition.
Mr. Orozco, Board Member, expressed his support for the expansion of the dual immersion program. He indicated he thought it might fill the gap created through the elimination of the GATE programs. Mr. Orozco admitted the communication with community members needs to improve. He suggested the creation of an open forum on the district's website. He believes any feedback is good feedback and said he had considered his own open forum.
Mrs. Lara, Board Member, said she is frustrated when people can say anything and "we can't respond." She said she was offended by my empty promise comment. "We don't make any empty promises." Mrs. Lara finished by reading a long letter she received from an unnamed teacher praising the district staff and all the wonderful things they do. The writer said that if all teachers were required to come before the board with their honest opinion of the BUSD administration, they would be mostly positive.
Mr., Sanchez, Board President, told us he welcomes negativity and realizes we don't "stand in each other's shoes". He considers critics like backseat drivers and he welcomes them to keep him on his toes. He finished by telling us the board meetings were for the board and not the public. He praised the board for allowing the public 5 minutes speaking time and said that many neighboring boards only allow two minutes.