SUSD board to submit letters regarding Chiquita Landfill decision

Saugus Union School District office. Dan Watson/The Signal
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Members of the Saugus Union School District Governing Board plan on submitting letters to the Chiquita Landfill and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors regarding the recent decision to give the landfill a 30-year extension.

After hours of discussion in a public meeting, the Los Angeles County Planning Commission decided to approve Chiquita Canyon Landfill’s contract April 19.

At the Governing Board’s meeting Tuesday, board members are expected to review and approve two letters asking Chiquita Canyon and the Board of Supervisors to ensure the safety of the Santa Clarita Valley’ students when operating the landfill, according to the board agenda.

“We as that you consider the children that reside in our district as well as the numerous children that may be impacted throughout the Santa Clarita Valley by expanding the landfill,” the letters to the two entities read.

The letter also notes that SUSD’s West Creek Academy is within six miles of the expansion and within three miles of the district’s new planned elementary school, Entrada.

In the letter, the board reaffirmed its belief that “every due diligence” will be made to ensure the safety of the district’s students and surrounding community moving forward.

“The safety of all students and residents must be the highest priority when implementing the decision and our hope is that a solution between all parties will minimize any affects to our children and residents,” the letter read.

Employee Climate Survey

Board members are also expected to review an Employee Climate Survey with more than 500 responses from teachers, staff and administrators throughout the district.

According to the survey, the majority of employees within the district, 61 percent, are part of the Saugus Teachers’ Association (STA).  Another 22 percent are part of the California School Employees Association (CSEA).

The survey also reviewed district employee’s connection to their school sites, safety on campuses, support from their sites and feedback from their supervisors.

According to the climate survey, 95 percent of employees felt very connected or moderately connected to their site and 94 percent felt very safe or moderately safe at their site.

The survey also found that 79 percent of employees found that they were supported “about the right amount” at their school site, while 19 percent felt that they were supported too little.

Responses were more varied when employees were asked about meaningful feedback from their immediate supervisors about their work performance.

The survey found that 24 percent received feedback very often, 42 percent received feedback moderately often, 21 percent received feedback slightly often and 12 percent did not receive feedback at all.

Child Development Programs

Governing Board members are also expected to review an annual report about the district’s Child Development Programs for preschool-aged and school-aged children.

According to the report, the district supports 15 half-day preschool program and two-full day preschool programs with 42 staff members serving 402 students.  For school-age children, the district supports 15 programs with 80 staff members serving 980 students.

The report detailed the long-range facilities plan and facilities updates of these programs, including single-point of entry, intercom systems, playground improvement projects, equipment replacement and building repairs.

It also detailed the state preschool grants and preschool grants, like Quality Start LA Grants and LAUP Facilities Grants, the district’s preschools received.

Looking forward, the programs will face challenges with the minimum wage increase, staff recruitment and retention, additional space, facilities improvements and technology upgrades.  For the 2017-18 schoolyear, the programs hope to purchase chromebooks, increase tuition and receive stakeholder input.

Classified Staff Changes

The governing board is also expected to ratify two Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with the California School Employees Association for changes to classified staff employment.

According to the agenda items, the district will be laying off one classified position, a music specialist, and will be reducing the hours of 26 positions for lack of work or funds.

Affected position include: two bilingual instructional assistants, one instructional specialist music, one instructional specialist computer, 16 instructional assistants and six library media specialists.

Additional Agenda Items:

  • Recognize Saugus Union School District Special Artists and Emblem Academy’s PTA Executive Board
  • Approve field trips for North Park Elementary School, Skyblue Mesa Elementary School, Bridgeport Elementary School and Emblem Academy
  • Conduct third reading and adoption of bylaws of the board, Remuneration, Reimbursement and Other Benefits, and board policy, Homework/Makeup Work
  • Conduct a board discussion on the development, definition, benefits, detriments, logistics and purposes of an educational foundation
  • Give direction on vote for election of officers and directors of Executive Board of Los Angeles County School Trustees Association

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