Newhall Board to discuss school security, evacuations

The Newhall School District Office. Dan Watson/The Signal
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The Newhall School District Governing Board is expected to have dialogue about security questions at schools throughout the district during its regular meeting Tuesday.

Newhall School District Board President Phil Ellis said the discussion will be a follow-up to previous discussions the board has had about school site security options like fencing and cameras.

“The primary discussion is going to be on Valencia Valley, but other schools will be discussed as well,” Ellis said.  “We are getting extra thoughts on different viable solutions we can come up with… It’s going to be cost-effective and security-conscience at the same time.”

In May and June 2017, the Governing Board discussed adding fencing to Meadows, Newhall, Pico Canyon and Valencia Valley Elementary Schools.

The board requested additional information from Valencia Valley staff about the potential changes since the school had three options for fencing additions.

Additional improvements to the school included additions like cameras, lighting and changes to the main building entrance.

This year, the district also hosted additional lockdown/active shooter drills at each of its 10 school campuses.

According to Ellis, this discussion will not result in any action from the board and is intended to update staff on options for the district.

The Governing Board is also expected to have a discussion about the Dec. 5 evacuation of Oak Hills Elementary School during the Rye Fire.

“It will be a debriefing on what happened,” Ellis said.  “We had our own plan on what we do for evacuation purposes, but the sheriff’s department decided they wanted to take charge.”

Ellis said the board is going to review its own evacuation plans and its response to the local authorities when they take control of school evacuations.

Board Policies

The Governing Board is also expected to review revised and updated board policies and administrative regulations during its meeting.

“We’ll be going over a lot of board policy updates, which is a continuous process,” Ellis said.  “We try to balance it out since we have so many different policies that need to be updated from time to time.”

The first revised board policy is for the NSD Home Connect Project, which will give students the abilities to check out Chromebooks and Wi-Fi hotspots free of charge at Title 1 schools.

This program aims to eliminate a digital divide or “Homework Gap” between students with adequate, home Internet access and students with no internet access.  It also will provide each student in fourth grade to sixth grade with a district Gmail account to access the resources, like the Google Suite, on the Chromebooks.

The updated board policy and exhibit address student email accounts and classifies student use of technology.  It also includes an Acceptable Use Policy parent consent form for the student email accounts.

Governing Board members are also expected to conduct a first reading of a board policy on Discipline, reflecting the passage of Senate Bill 250 that ended school meal shaming.

The board policy now includes language that prohibits “disciplinary action against student that results in denial or delay of a school meal.”

The Governing Board is also expected to have a first reading of updated board policies and administrative regulations that include: Students Expelled from Other Districts; Parents Rights and Responsibilities; Grades/Evaluation of Student Achievement; and Absences and Excuses.

These policies were evaluated as part of the district’s regular policy review process and reflect changes in policy language.

Audit Report

The district is also expected to accept its annual District Audit Report and the annual Financial Performance Audit for Measure E.

Completed by Vavrinek, Trine, Day & Co., LLP (VTD), the audit includes financial information about the district’s funds, internal control review, federal and state compliance audits, instructional minutes, GASB reporting requirements and other related information.

The audit noted no material weaknesses, significant deficiencies or noncompliance materials in the district, and qualified it as a “low-risk auditee.”

Additional Agenda Items

  • Approve the budget calendar for 2018-19
  • Approve Notice of Completions to J. Fistes Corporation for painting work totaling $105,559.94, to Bravo Concrete Construction Services for asphalt and paving work totaling $682,218.14 and to Silver Creek for a modular buildings purchase order totaling $535,442.48 for the Newhall Elementary School Auditorium Renovation
  • Approve change orders and contract changes totaling ($6,487.97) to Bravo Concrete, totaling ($2,558.31) to Harik Construction and totaling ($2,105.49) to AJ Fistes  for the Newhall Elementary Auditorium Renovation
  • Approve of master contract with Haynes Family of Programs – T.A.R. Academy for Student Tutoring Services for a special circumstance in the district
  • Approve placing part-time safety supervisors on the district’s classified service salary schedule in response to the passage of Assembly Bill 670
  • Have a debrief about the annual California School Board Association (CSBA) annual education conference
  • Have a discussion about Board Member Sue Solomon attending the annual California’s Coalition for Adequate School Housing (C.A.S.H.) conference in Sacramento

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