Pleasanton Unified School District may switch from its current at-large school board elections to by-trustee areas, potentially taking effect for the November 2022 general election. The Board of Trustees will discuss the transition process and give staff direction during a team workshop at its regular meeting on Thursday, starting 6 p.m.
As usual, organizational goals are on the annual governance workshop agenda, but the board will also consider a proposal to transition PUSD from at-large to geographically-based representation. In a report, staff said by-trustee-area elections "are immune from challenge" under the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA), which prohibits at-large elections in some cases.
"In light of the CVRA, many school districts and other local agencies have transitioned from at-large to by-trustee area elections to avoid the cost associated with CVRA litigation," staff said.
There is no "direct requirement" for the transition based on 2020 U.S. census data, but population and ethnicity information would be used for drawing areas.
Should PUSD move forward with the transition process, a demographer would be contracted along with seeking legal support, which would cost an estimated $40,000 to $45,000. Staff also said the district could be ready for the general election in November 2022, when the seats currently filled by Board President Joan Laursen and Trustee Mark Miller will be open to challengers.
The workshop will also highlight the board's organizational work plan including their five goals.
Those goals call for the district to "leverage personalized learning strategies and growth-based assessments to increase achievement and identify opportunity gaps," as well as "improve the physical, mental and social wellness of students, families, and staff" through intervention and support structures.
The district will also attempt to fulfill its other goals, which aim to "understand the systemic barriers to equity and inclusion in order to work strategically to deconstruct them"; "promote a professional culture that values collaboration and supports efforts to recruit, develop and retain a diverse and highly qualified workforce"; and "sustain effective customer service, communication, and stakeholder engagement."
Rounding out the workshop agenda on Thursday, the Board will also consider joining the Asian Pacific Islander School Board Members Association.
According to staff, membership in the group aligns with the district's organizational goal to understand and deconstruct systemic barriers to equity and inclusion, sustain stakeholder engagement, as well as recruit and promote a diverse workforce.
The annual fee for joining the organization is $100, and would be funded by board membership.
In other business
* Business services will give an update on Thursday of the district's summer projects, many of them funded by revenue from the Measure I1 bond measure.
According to the presentation, more than 100 HVAC units were replaced at Fairlands, Alisal and Harvest Park Elementary, as well as at Pleasanton Middle and Amador Valley High. "Miles" of new roofing and decking were also installed, along with over 350 new Pelican smart thermostats.
Staff will review progress on extensive remodeling at Lydiksen Elementary, where along with a new fire alarm system, a temporary library and offices have been set up. Staff and faculty have been relocated in the meantime "to support the ongoing construction on campus."
Striping on the playground was completed this summer, while the new kindergarten wing started construction and the old Kinder Pod was demolished. A temporary drop off area has also been established.
The update will also cover site fencing upgrades at Alisal, Donlon, Hearst, and Vintage Hills, and field renovations at Amador, Foothill, Vintage and Hearst. Phone, clock speaker and cabling infrastructure are among the latest technology upgrades at Lydiksen, Harvest Park, and Hart Middle School, while Fairlands, Mohr and Harvest Park received new viewboards. Both Amador and Foothill had recent security camera and access control upgrades as well, and painting projects were also completed at Alisal and Foothill.
Staff will also give updates on in-progress projects such as playground work at Harvest Park, Fairlands and Vintage Hills, MERV 13 filter replacements, district office space modifications, and grounds maintenance and deep cleaning at all 15 PUSD sites.
Reports will also be given on technology department projects such as server upgrades, as well as free meal programs for students provided over summer break through child nutrition services.
* The board is expected to approve a $39,677 contract on Thursday for additional welding testing and inspection related to the portable replacement and new classroom building at Foothill High School. The total project amount is $153, 816.
Work on the Measure I1-funded project has been underway for almost a year, with site utilities, foundations, insulation and roofing taking place this summer. The site is also preparing to upgrade its pickup/drop-off area, which is expected to improve traffic flow on campus and along Foothill Road.