AUSD discusses school's current safety as well as budget woes
The AUSD Board of Trustees met on February 21, 2013. The Board came from the closed session and told the public they hired 1 certified employee and 3 classified employees; they also accepted 3 resignations of classified employees.
The Board approved the minutes of the Regular Meeting of January 17, 2013. They made some changes to the order of the Agenda including the Superintendent's report.
Sharon Haven addressed the board regarding "MARDI GRAS"; a parade will be held on March 10, 2013 with activities at the CVS mall. Then a Mardi Gras Ball will be held on Saturday, March 16, 2013 from 6:30 to 10:30 at the Alpine Community Center.
The Superintendent reported the schools have never been safer than they are now. He stated that with the tragedy of Sandy Hook it forced schools to reflect on their own practices, and to remember Sandy Hook with introspective. The Superintendent, Lt. Sanchez and the school board along with teachers have spent plenty time on the safety practices in place and what more may need to be done. They had a meeting with the San Diego Union School District to get their recommendations to help in Alpine.
SDUSD said Alpine was right on point and they were taking a few pointers from Alpine, so the meeting was beneficial for both parties.
One item that was discussed, was to have every employee on a school site wear their identification. A child can then feel safe going to that person with any fears they may have. This will help to cut down on random people walking the school grounds. They will be fencing and placing gates at the school sites to funnel all people to the office for ID's or to be turned away. Mental Illness was addressed as well. Help will be offered for mental illness, not to solve of course, but to treat with respect and to be prepared to be proactive. Studies have proved that 5 - 18 year old are very safe in schools. Less than 1% of 5 - 18 year olds die a dangerous death each year. Approx. 9,000 students die each year with 17 of those deaths of students going to and coming home from school. The Superintendent and Lt. Sanchez are aware that there is always more precautions that can take place, for safety. They have implemented the 3 D's: deter (funnel people directly to the office); detect (checking to see if everyone you see has a 'pass'); delay (stopping anyone without a valid ID or pass so there is time to call the sheriff and to keep the people from getting to the students. These 3 D's should let everyone know who is on the grounds at any one time and why they are there. If someone does not belong, he or she should stick out like a sore thumb, and school employees should let everyone know.
Lt. Sanchez says he and his department are a resource, they are not to tell the school what to do. He will ask questions, and give answers, so there is a give and take with both sides finding common ground on safety. Sanchez said after Columbine they put stronger safety practices in place. He is helping to create a safe environment; they have met over and over - eye to eye - to learn what works and what doesn't work. Some changes are being made to how things are now being done, such as moving a chair, desks or exiting out a different way, little things that may make a big difference. They have people making campus checks one, two or three times a day, with no set schedule for anyone being able to follow. Besides the Sheriffs and deputies, there are also detectives, Senior. patrols and more surveillance. Response time will depend on where everyone is at the time. It could be as little as 5 seconds up to maybe 8 minutes if a patrol is coming out from Dehesa. In a 3 alarm situation - 911 call - this call goes out to everyone including the boarder patrol, FBI, park rangers, DA's and DAI's; the whole area will get the 911 call.
Lt. Sanchez had no remarks on armed guards regarding the need, or the purpose of an armed guard. In the SDUSD 280 schools only 5 have resource officers. These schools are east of I 8 where the environment necessitates the extra help. He feels if we create a safe, non-jail looking campus, where and when you walk around and everyone can see you and know if you belong it will be great. Everyone should know the school personnel and have all personnel wearing a badge so children will also know. He feels that counseling of mental health problems and being more attentive to students with problems will make a big difference.
In schools with full length windows, tinting will be put up to about 7 to 7 1/2 ft, stopping someone from looking in and seeing who may be in the classroom, if anyone. Schools will be prioritized for the harder to watch campuses. These will get fencing and gates first. These options will only be done when money is available. If a job is under $15,000 it does not need to go public for bids and having to pay prevailing wage. There was some discussion on which schools will need to relocate their office, and some handicap parking will also need to be moved.
Teacher’s Furlough Days
The Alpine Teachers Association representative says the AUSD teachers are being disrespected. They have had 25 furlough days and the district saved $750,000. 19 schools out of 44 have not had to take any furlough days. The school class sizes are getting larger, some up to 40 students in a class. The teachers feel the offer to them of salary is degrading. Prop 30 passed and they had hoped for more, however they take offense of the board cuts at this time. The board will not know about the finances until June, yet they are taking from the students and teachers.
Common Core Standards
Superintendent Pellegrino gave a power point presentation on the Common Core Standards. A report has been given to the board to learn about the standards, as they are being changed in a very dramatic way. The standards are to help students with career readiness.
Spanish Immersion Program:
There are 64 students registered for the Spanish immersion classes. 27 for kindergarten, and 37 1st graders. They are actually working on filling the second classroom of 1st graders. Yvette Maier, Principal at Creekside, is working on this program and is very happy with the turnouts. There are 40% new students and 60% current families in Alpine schools.
Business Manager, Rob Turner says they have less than $5,000 in spendable funds. In March, April and May will have insufficient funds to pay staff. This forces the district to transfer funds. They thank the County for their help. The motion was passed to borrow the max at this time. The board said 90 % of funds go to labor and staff, and say they will be bankrupt in 18 months. The superintendent will be working on balancing the budget.
The meeting was adjourned at 8 p.m.