SPUSD board discusses first year
and more at workshop
July 02, 2014
Santa Paula News
The Santa Paula Unified School District Board held a special workshop Saturday, discussing several issues.
One item was the conclusion of the district’s first year. Superintendent Alfonso Gamino said they had come a long way. He noted that there had been 50 board meetings since the new district was officially started last year. “We’re moving in the right direction,” he added.
Board member Kelsey Stewart asked that before school starts in August they should connect with parents on uniforms and other issues. Gamino also suggested maybe giving principals money to buy uniforms for parents who can’t afford them. Trustee Michelle Kolbeck said that they don’t want to embarrass kids because hey don’t have a uniform. Assistant Superintendent Robin Freeman said some parents don’t want the school giving kids uniform shirts. She said one parent told her, “I don’t want the school dressing my kid, I decide what I want them to wear.”
Stewart added that they need to set guidelines for school staff on how to deal with the issue. Trustee Tina Urias noted that the idea of hiring a Public Information Officer would be a good idea. The Board seemed to want to move forward with creating the new position by the start of the school year.
One big issue discussed was the school district’s relationship with the city council. Gamino noted that he would like to have joint meetings with the council but the city has cancelled three times.
Stewart, talking about the parking problems around the high school, said parking is just one issue. “We deal with many others,” she added. “The city doesn’t know what our issues are.” Board member Chris Wilson added, “Eventually we have to build a relationship.”
The issue of healthy food at schools was also discussed, both from the school cafeterias and from parents at fundraisers. Urias said that the Ventura Unified District is not allowing unhealthy food. She said that obesity and diabetes are an epidemic in schools. Board President Diana Ponce Gomez said the greatest profit margin for parent fundraisers is from candy. She also said that the schools get a lot of value from the money generated. “Field trips are not cheap,” she added. “Kids experience things they otherwise wouldn’t.”
Superintendent Gamino suggested they leave the fundraising alone this year and track just how much money comes in. Urias also said they need to change the community’s perspective on food and exercise. Kolbeck said they should educate both parents and kids.