The San Marino School Board pulled the second reading of a resolution that, if approved, would change the established election cycle for board members from odd years to even years, from its agenda for this past Tuesday’s meeting.
“We’re in no rush to do this right now,” Superintendent Dr. Alex Cherniss said later. “We want more data and we also want to see what the city is going to do.”
The proposed resolution is in response to California Senate Bill 415, which requires school districts to hold their governing board elections on the same date as statewide elections, if holding it on another date has previously resulted in a significant decrease in voter turnout.
Significant decrease in voter turnout is described as voter turnout at least 25 percent less than the average voter turnout for the previous four statewide general elections. Cities and other municipalities must also comply with the bill, which would require a plan to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018. The school board heard the first reading of the resolution on Tuesday, Sept. 27.
If approved, the board would add one year to each of their terms. Currently, the four-year terms of President Nam Jack, Shelley Ryan and Joseph Chang are set to expire in 2017 while Lisa Link and Chris Norgaard will be termed out in 2019. If the resolution is approved, Jack, Ryan and Chang will continue until 2018 with Link and Norgaard closing out in 2020.
The board also unanimously approved a naming agreement with San Marino residents Lisa and Tim Sloan, acknowledging their $500,000 donation to the new gymnasium at Huntington Middle School. A workout room at the facility will be named the Sloan Fitness Center.
“Lisa and I are so excited to support such a critical project for Huntington Middle School and the entire district as athletics played such an important role in the development of our three children,” Tim Sloan told The Tribune.
San Marino residents Avery and Andy Barth made the initial donation for the gymnasium and associated facilities, which will be known as the Avery and Andy Barth Athletic Complex. Construction is scheduled to begin in June, 2017.
“We are very appreciative of Tim and Lisa Sloan for their continued support of the school district,” Cherniss said.
The board was also visited by several members of PTAffiliates, an organization comprised mostly of past district parents, who presented a check for $105,000. The funds will be allocated to the school sites on a per student basis to support their instructional program needs. PTAffiliates operates summer school programs throughout the district.
Stephanie Duncan, the group’s president, presented a check to Julie Boucher, assistant superintendent of business services.
“Stephanie, you think ‘big picture’” Cherniss said. “Thank you for making the program go so smoothly. It really is a well-oiled machine.”
San Marino School Board President Nam Jack thanked the several representatives, who were present in the district office.
“On behalf of the board, we always talk about how special this community is,” Jack said.
“One of the reasons is the ongoing involvement. That your children are out of the schools and you still have the energy and interest to help the kids who are still in school. That’s very special.”
The board also approved a resolution declaring Oct. 24-28 Red Ribbon Week in San Marino.
“This is the only time of the year when all four campuses are involved in the same activity,” said parent Lindsay Lytle, who is the coordinator of Red Ribbon Week for Partnership for Awareness. Lytle outlined some of the events that are planned for district campuses during the week.
The board also heard first readings on resolutions dealing with district-sponsored social media sites and the operation of drones on and near campuses.
“This is fraught with problems,” said Jack during the discussion on social media. “We’ll take a review of it and, obviously, we will have a second reading. This is a complex issue and it’s going to take complex thinking.”
Earlier in the day at a special meeting, Cherniss outlined the basics of a capital facilities program, similar to a presentation he gave to the board in January.
The program identifies $195 million worth of improvements and new construction that were assigned priorities. Currently, the district has a bonding capacity of $135 million.
“It is very early in the process,” Cherniss said. “Currently, there is no time line for this project.”