South Tahoe School Board Scoop

  • It’s just another beautiful day in paradise!  As the tourists flock to enjoy a few days or weeks here this summer, I’m reminded of how fortunate I am to be able to live year-round in this heavenly piece of the earth called Lake Tahoe. Musing aside, I’ll get right down to business and tell you about the happenings at last night’s School Board meeting………..
  • BOARD INTERVIEWSWith the departure of Judy Cefalu in June, we were delighted to have five excellent candidates vying for the vacant seat on the Board.  The job requires a huge commitment and dedication, but each candidate unreservedly expressed their passion for education and willingness to serve.  The top candidate, however, was Barbara Bannar who previously served a four-year term on the Board from 2004 to 2008 during which time she completed CSBA’s Masters in Governance program.  We welcome Barbara back and look forward to working with her again.  A huge “thank you” to the other candidates: Mark Bissonnette, Cathy Giardina, Heather Clelan, and Kathy Haven.  Wendy David told them  “count this as the first day you became involved at a higher level”.  (Read More on
  • Board Members had a unique opportunity this week to visit with California’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson who was in town with his wife to attend the first day of LTCC’s Intensive Spanish Summer Institute (ISSI).  On Sunday, LTCC President Kindred Murillo hosted a reception for the visiting dignitaries and others at her home.  LTUSD retiree and former Bilingual Coordinator Sue O’Connor is the ISSI Director.  She, along with Dr. Tarwater and the Board of Education were presented with Certificates of Recognition from the California Department of Education for their “outstanding accomplishments and dedication to promoting pride and competency in the Spanish language and Hispanic cultures.”  ¡Felicitaciones!!  (Read more on Torlakson’s visit on Tahoe Daily Tribune) Larry Green met last week with educators across the County to discuss the crisis facing schools if the November 2012 Funding Initiatives fail.  According to School Services of California“Current law is very clear; if the measure (Prop. 30) fails, the cut to the education appropriation is automatic and immediate. Absent any further legislation, education takes the cut. We have estimated the value of that cut to be on average, statewide, of about $457 per unit of average daily attendance (ADA) for K-12 and about $264 million in additional cuts for community colleges. Failure of this initiative would be devastating for a public education system that has already borne the brunt of the state’s Budget cuts for the past five years.”    Since the onset of the state’s fiscal crisis in 2008, public schools statewide have experienced unprecedented funding reductions and apportionmentdeferrals totaling more than $20 billion. LTUSD has lost over $21 million during that time and is facing a cut of $1,641,000 in November if the $457/pupil statewide cut materializesDr. Green said that it is incumbent upon the Board and the District to educate the public on this crucial issue. Wendy David lamented the loss or our dear friend and former employee who gave many years of love and service to LTUSD.  She said that friends will be recognizing and celebrating the life of Joy B. Rothschild, “an amazing contributor to the community”, on August 14th.On Lake Tahoe News, a former student “Dan W” posted this:“I never would have made it through the 8th grade if not for Joy. I was not one of the troubled teens she helped as part of the Challenge program. My troubles were usually of the mental, rather than academic variety. Joy helped me by just being there to talk to at recess and lunch. I can’t even recall anymore the countless conversations we had over anything that might have been bothering me at the time – whether it was personal or some scholastic policy I didn’t agree with – but I do remember always looking forward to hearing her wisdom on the subject. Can you imagine, a thirteen year old kid actually seeking out the opinions of someone his parent’s age? Joy just had this way of talking to me that made more sense than any of my teachers or principals at the time. Thank you so much, Joy, for making my angsty little life a bit easier. The world has lost a truly wonderful person.”Joy, we will miss you forever, it was my privilege to be your friend! Wendy also invited everyone to support the upcoming CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) fundraiser on August 31st at Lakeview Commons (details below).  They will have a lot of fun activities for kids including a bounce house and trampoline. Superintendent ReportDr. Tarwater congratulated the Board and Barbara Bannar saying that “with the November election coming, we need to have someone experienced because a fast track is coming”.  He reported that the camaraderie in the District is very good now.  Principals took a trip over to the Middle School the other day and were pleasantly surprised to see a total transformation – a “mini-high school” Dr. Tarwater described.  The two quads with picnic benches and tree-lined walkways add a whole new dimension to the school.  There’s a myriad of staff development classes going on August 20-22; new teachers will be welcomed on August 23rd; then the fun and games begin again. 
  • Revised Budget for STHS Girls’ Softball Field
  • This item has been an ongoing saga since a Title IX complaint was filed against the District in 2009 regarding the inequities between the boys’ baseball facilities and the girls’ softball.  Over $160,000 has already been spent to bring the facility into compliance and the Board was asked to approve another $44,500 last night.  Attorneys from the Office of Civil Rights visited again recently following another complaint regarding the work that has been done to date.  Dr. Tarwater reported that the written report on that visit is forthcoming, but he expects that it will contain four points of concern regarding restrooms, fencing, seating, and press box.  Board Member, Sue Novasel, has been meeting with City officials regarding utilizing $59,800 in Measure R dollars for a PA system, fencing, and an asphalt walkway to the new Student Union restroom.  The City uses the facilities for outside events and has had a long-standing agreement with the District regarding use of facilities.  However, in recent years the City has laid off many employees and outsourced responsibilities to the Community Athletic Coordinating Council (CACC).  Dr. Tarwater told the Board that he is meeting with the Interim City Manager, Nancy Kerry, to clarify future roles in booking facilities and collecting fees.  This item will most likely come back to the Board at the next meeting for further discussion.   So, that’s about it in a nutshell!  The rest of the agenda items were routine business items.  As always, you can find “the real minutes” online in a week or so. We have another Special Meeting on August 21st, when our new Board Member Barbara Bannar will be sworn into office.  I’ll give you the details of that on Friday 8/17. Have a great evening and enjoy these balmy days of summer while they last!

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