CUSD board has record-quick meeting, discusses new management position

The Thursday, August 9 meeting of the Claremont Unified School District Board of Education adjourned in record time.

Only a handful of community members filed into the air conditioned board room at the gathering’s 6:30 p.m. start time. And with no public comments or presentations from student council members, they headed back out into the evening heat at 7:30 p.m.

Much on the agenda was routine.

Waivers were requested for a number of Claremont High School students over the age of 16 who have taken the required 2 years of physical education, but haven’t passed the state-designated physical fitness test (PFT) administered to all 9th graders. Achievement of the fitness standard is based upon a score falling in the Healthy Fitness Zone in 5 out of 6 fitness areas. 

Senate Bills 78 and 601 require that students continue to take PE until they pass the test. The board okayed a waiver from further PE requirements for 55 CHS students who may have physical issues that make passing the test a challenge, allowing room in their schedules for courses like English, math, science, social science, foreign language or arts.

The board granted another waiver, also routine, exempting Danbury Elementary School and Community Day School from an education code requiring each school site to have a council with a specific principal/teacher/parent/student ratio.

Pursuant to Education Code 52852, an elementary school council must feature at least 10 members, including the principal, 3 teachers and one other school employee, and 5 parents or community members. At the secondary level, the school must have 12 council members, including the principal, 3 teachers and 2 other school employees, 3 students and 3 parents or community members. Because it can be difficult for a smaller school to maintain a council of this size, the legislation allows waivers for sites with less than 120 students who share a common school site or curriculum.

With the waiver approved, Danbury and Community Day will continue with their practice of sharing a combined council with the schools to which they are adjoined, Sumner Elementary and San Antonio High School, respectively. By state mandate, they must return to the board every 2 years to request the waiver.

The school board also voted to approve new job descriptions created by the district’s Human Resources department after a recent review to ensure language describing management positions aligns with current duties and job functions. 

For the position of “Principal, San Antonio High School and Community Day School,” the rewrite involved a slight tweak of the title, which used to read “Principal, Alternative Education, San Antonio High School and Community Day.” Another new description, however, involved an entirely new position, that of Coordinator of “Service Center and Custodial Services.”

The person in this position would be directly responsible to Rick Cota, who is executive director of the Service Center as well as of Nutrition Services. It was noted the Service Center, which Mr. Cota used to run with the help of 4 employees, is down to one employee. Money for a new custodial employee was allotted for the last school year, but the position remained unfilled while Mr. Cota determined what kind of employee would best fill district needs, noted Lisa Shoemaker, assistant superintendent of business services.

With the start of the new school year approaching on Wednesday, August 29, Human Resources plans to put the word out about the position immediately, a plan that had board member Sam Mowbray expressing some concern. He said he would prefer to move forward on hiring for this new position after the November election, since so much with regards to state funding for schools hinges on the passage of Governor Jerry Brown’s tax initiative. After making sure no one would be hired without board approval, Mr. Mowbray added his consent to the approval of the job description.

The next meeting of the CUSD Board of Education will be held on Wednesday, August 22 at 6:30 p.m.

—Sarah Torribio    


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