CUSD Board meeting preview

By Andrew Alonzo

This week’s Claremont Unified School District Board of Education’s meeting, which took place after press time Thursday, was set to include a closed door discussion on the price and payment terms regarding the sale of the former La Puerta school site at 2475 N. Forbes Ave.

The Courier will report on the meeting in next week’s edition.

The board was also set to:

  • Hear a staff recommendation that it consider updated articles from the California School Employees Associationregarding compensation, health and welfare benefits, and holidays. A public hearing on such proposals will be held at a later meeting, and documents pertaining to the recommendation will be displayed for public viewing at the Richard S. Kirkendall Education Center, 170 W. San Jose Ave., Claremont, as well as at the Claremont Helen Renwick Library, 208 N. Harvard Ave., starting Friday, March 22.
  • Hear a first reading of updated probationary and permanent employment policies for CUSD personnel. Item 16.02 is an ongoing contract discussion between CUSD and California School Boards Association policy services.
  • Consider a recommendation that Mountain View Elementary School Principal Rria Cruz-Soto be named CUSD’s new director of intervention and English learner programs beginning next school year.
  • Consider agenda item 14.01, a staff recommendation to authorize “Examining Teachers’ Perceptions of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion [DEI] Professional Development,” a research project conducted by Marissa Martinez, a doctoral candidate at the University of Southern California, as part of her dissertation. “This study will help inform how organizational factors affect teacher participation in DEI professional development and how best to support them,” read the agenda. Research by Martinez will include about 10 interviews from teachers with three or more years of experience at El Roble Intermediate School, San Antonio and Claremont high schools with the aim of looking at “how organizational factors shape secondary teachers’ participation in DEI professional development and implementation of DEI practices,” and to “conduct a gap analysis to examine the root causes of the organizational problem,” according to the project’s outline.
  • Recognize winners of this year’s Cesar E. Chavez and Dolores Huerta Educational Awards program. In the essay categories, Sycamore Elementary School sixth-grader Lily Avnur took first in the grades 5 to 6 division; Claremont High sophomore Fiona Wu placed first and CHS junior Oliver Kolb second in the high school division. In the high school arts category, CHS sophomore Emma Dewees was first and CHS freshman Jolean Feng placed second. Entries focused on nonviolence; self-determination through unionization; social justice for farmworkers; safety, food, health, environmental, human and/or civil rights issues; teamwork and collaboration issues; service to others; empowerment of the disenfranchised; and innovation and education.
  • Recognize Claremont High student Isaac Li, who will host a 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. instrument drive at CHS on Saturday, March 23, to collect instruments, cases, and accessories to support and expand the district’s elementary music program.

The board’s consent calendar included a $945 decrease from its general fund — which saw $695 spent on personnel salaries and $250 for employee benefits — to reflect the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Federal preschool allocation for 2023-2024. Additional budget adjustments included a $25,000 general fund increase, reflective of a recently awarded redefining discipline in schools grant that will be dispersed as follows: $13,500 for personnel salaries, $3,368 for employee benefits, $1,132 for books and supplies, and $7,000 for services and operating expenditures. CUSD also saw a $1,132,830 increase to its capital reserve fund following a grant award from California Schools Healthy Air, Plumbing and Efficiency, or CalSHAPE, that will be used for services and other operating expenditures.

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