Archive » April 19, 2012
SYVHS board members have plenty to celebrate
By SaraLloyd Truax, Staff Writer
The Santa Ynez Valley Union High School board met in regular session April 17 to address a number of topics. The evening started off with principal Mark Swanitz heaping accolades on Cameron Clarno, whose choir and band recently won some impressive awards at the Heritage Music Festival.
“Santa Ynez Concert Band received 1st place honors and received a silver award, ranking them in the top 20% of bands of similar size in the nation. Concert Choir and Vocal Ensemble both received 1st place in their divisions and received gold awards, ranking them in the top 10% of choirs of similar size in the nation,” said Swanitz. Swanitz also invited board members and the public to join him at his Coffee with the Principal at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, April 20, in the board room.
He noted that 4th quarter progress reports will be out soon, that registration for the fall is nearly complete and that spring sports are wrapping up.
Important events he wants the public to remember are the production of Mid-Summer Night’s Dream April 26-28 and May 3-5, Prom at the University Club in Santa Barbara May 12 and Raw Talent at Solvang Theaterfest on May 24.
STAR testing began this week in all English classes. Next week, testing will commence in science classes, followed in subsequent weeks by math and social studies. Advance Placement testing begins in May with little overlap of STAR testing.
Also approved in the consent agenda was a four-day work week for the summer of 2012 and the summer school agenda.
In his report, superintendent Paul Turnbull focused primarily on public safety. Schools valleywide will be working on a project to be spearheaded by Tom Walton and Turnbull with the aim to see that every school, public and private, has flip charts similar to the ones already in place at the high school that give step-by-step directions for most foreseeable emergencies.
They also hope to make sure each classroom has a lock-down kit and schools are equipped with “robust” first aid kits, “not like the little ones most of us have in our cars,” said Turnbull. They have received a grant for $20,000 and will begin fundraising soon to fulfill the requirement the funds be matched.
Moving on to the consent agenda, the board officially approved offering of a retirement incentive to qualified employees. To be eligible, employees must have served 13 years in the district and be at least 55 years old. The incentive offered $13,300 payable in the form of a contribution to an eligible tax-deferred plan for the 2012/13, 2013/14, and 2014/15 fiscal years. Employees had to elect to participate by April 16.
Calculations showed approximately $83,675 in savings in 2012-13 (after the final year of the 2009-10 retirement incentive payouts), approximately $92,496 in savings in 2013-14, and approximately $73,843 in savings in 2014-15, said Turnbull. Because of the hiring freeze, some positions may be only partially replaced and at least one position was downgraded from management to classified.
The employees opting in were: John Dunphy, Donna Feazelle, Sharon Ferrer, Ken Gruendyke, Marylou Kuehn, Barbara Landon, Jo Ann Reck, Vicki Storey and Linda Wall.
Moving on to the action agenda, the board held a public hearing on the Residential Development School Fee Justification Study and the Commercial/Industrial Development School Fee Justification Study for the Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District, which was prepared by Dolinka Group, LLC. A copy of the study is available in the District Office at the high school.
“I really have a problem with this,” said trustee Christine Burtness, who sees raising fees on developers as “biting ourselves in the behind” in light of the fact the school derives its income from property taxes and therefore should want to promote development. Marc Owens was in agreement.
But should the school fail to accept the justification studies, noted Turnbull, technically the present fee schedule will stay in place. However, it opens the doors for developers to contest paying any fees as the district won’t have a “current” justification as required.
Other board members noted that the fee in the overall cost of construction is minimal for any one developer but important over time to the school, as those funds are used for modernization and expansion. Earlier in the evening, the need to modernize the school’s boilers was discussed.
Nicole Evenson, the school business manager, went on to address the Preliminary Adopted Budget, explaining that not much has changed since her last report and it presents only “a very, very rough estimate of what the 2012 budget might look like.”
Rounding out the evening, the board went on to discuss possible changes in the discipline code governing the school. School districts are required to update their disciplinary policies on a regular cycle, explained Turnbull. The next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 15, with a special meeting set of June 5.