7/20 Highlights: Parcel Tax, New College Prep Program

Welcome to Board Watch for WCCUSD’s July 20th Meeting!

The July 20th meeting, while short, was packed with important updates from the board and passionate voices from our community. The board is in a time of transition with a new superintendent and a new school year just around the corner.

Though Mr. Duffy was not able to attend the meeting, we heard from our new superintendent by way of written remarks. In addition, the board held a public hearing about renewing a revenue-driving parcel tax, and we learned about a new partnership between WCCUSD and Contra Costa Community College.

To explore the full meeting agenda, click here.

Welcome & Get Well, Superintendent Matt Duffy!

Unfortunately, new superintendent Matt Duffy could not attend the July 20th meeting, as he was still healing from a recent surgery. Wishing him a swift recovery, Associate Superintendent Ken Whittemore delivered the Superintendent’s Report for Mr. Duffy.

In his address, our new superintendent remarked that he is “excited to begin to develop relationships, listen, learn and plan for the opening of the school year,” and that “the coming year is one of many opportunities for WCCUSD.”

Learn more about Mr. Duffy’s career and hopes for WCCUSD here.

Public Hearing on Parcel Tax Renewal

The board held a public hearing about a parcel tax that WCCUSD would like to renew on the November 8th election ballot. For the past five years, voters have supported this parcel tax. The current tax is 7.2 cents per taxable building square foot and generates approximately $10 million for the district budget annually.

The tax is a special revenue measure typically used to support academic initiatives in the district and hire excellent teachers.

Four members of the public spoke on the measure on July 20, all in support of putting the renewal on the November ballot.

Board member Liz Block recommended that the board target the parcel tax spending more specifically to instruction. “This would mean cuts in other areas of the budget,” she said. Both Madeline Kronenberg and Todd Groves pushed for passing the resolution on July 20th, cautioning the board not to dive too deeply into how the revenue is spent until the board can confirm that the measure will pass. Valerie Cuevas reiterated support for renewal but also cautioned that the board should consider every dollar of its $300 million budget – not just the $10 million from the tax – as a chance to give all of our students the help they need.

After discussion, the board unanimously voted to pass the motion. You’ll see the parcel tax renewal measure on the November 8th Ballot.

To learn more about the parcel tax before you vote in November, click here.

New Program – College and Career Access Pathway (CCAP)

Mr. Bob Evans introduced the College and Career Access Pathway (CCAP), a dual-enrollment opportunity for our high school students, during the July 20th meeting. The CCAP is a partnership between WCCUSD and Contra Costa Community College (CCC) that will allow our high school students to enroll in college classes.

During this upcoming 2016-2017 school year, the pilot year of the program, 200 students at DeAnza and Richmond High Schools will take CCC Health courses; starting in January 2017, 150 students from DeAnza, El Cerrito and Kennedy High Schools will enroll in CCC Information Technology (IT) courses. In subsequent years, the CCAP partnership will expand to serve all high schools in the district.

For now, the program is at its beginning stages. As such, board members requested information about data collection, student outcomes, professional development meetings for teachers, remedial courses, placement, and assessment. In time, as the program matures, these details will solidify, Mr. Evans commented. He added, “it’s important to have the right kids in the right courses,” and, “we’ll look at multiple measures to place students within the program.”

At full capacity within the next five years, this partnership will represent a formal connection – from 1st grade through college – of academic programs for our students.

Marin Clean Energy presents surprise check for Solar-Generated Electricity at Greenwood

Julio Arroyo from the WCCUSD Maintenance Department gave an update on an exciting alternative energy program at Greenwood Academy, where on-site solar panels produced more energy than the site consumed. Marin Clean Energy presented the district with a check for $28,000 for WCCUSD’s efforts at Greenwood.

The next scheduled board meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 10th at 6:30pm at Lovonya DeJean Middle School.

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