NSD to discuss school fencing, safety

The final and approved fencing map for the perimeter of Valencia Valley Elementary School in the Newhall School District.

During a board meeting one month ago, the Newhall School District Governing Board voted to move forward with a perimeter fencing plan at Valencia Valley Elementary School that included compromises with the area’s residents and parents.

This modified fencing plan included adjustments to the fence’s shape and design and was the result of a contentious dialogue between the Newhall Board and the surrounding community.

The elementary school’s final fencing map—with added adjustments approved of during the Jan. 23 meeting—is expected to be discussed by the board during its regular meeting Tuesday.

“We listened to what they said and this is our response to what they said and we’re going to have some explanation,” Board President Phil Ellis said.  “As part of that conversation, we’re going to update the public about other security measures as well.”

These changes include bringing in Valencia Valley’s northwest fence line to allow for sufficient greenspace for paseo pedestrian traffic.  To avoid trees, drains and light posts, this greenspace will consists of a 6-foot greenbelt, according to the agenda item.

The plan also includes an additional gate at the northwest corner of the school along the paseo to allow for additional foot traffic to enter into the area.

It also includes adjusting the placement of fencing along the k-yard to allow for a greenbelt along the paseo.  To accommodate this change, the district’s final fencing map noted installing mulch and privets between the existing k-yard block wall and the new fence system.

The city of Santa Clarita also agreed to install additional waste receptacles alongside the paseo to prevent students and community members from using the neighborhood waste bins.

To allow for community use of Valencia Valley’s facilities after hours, the gates of the school are expected to remain accessible after hours, from 3:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., unless vandalism of the school site increases.

The board is also expected to approve of change orders for the fencing projects at Newhall Elementary School and Meadows Elementary School, which resulted in an overall increase of $21,720.

These adjustments included the installation of a temporary fence and a 6-foot high chain link fence enclosure behind a classroom at Meadows, and the installation of a temporary fence and guard rail and the addition of concrete at Newhall.

School Safety Plans

The Governing Board is also expected to review each school site’s Comprehensive School Safety Plans for the 2017-18 school year.

Approved annually by each school’s Site Council and the Governing Board, the School Safety Plans all have the same overall components.

“Even before Parkland our security procedures are under a constant review, anything that’s updatable we update it,” Ellis said.  “Student safety is of the utmost priority.”

The plans all include three components: assuring each student a safe physical environment, assuring each student a safe respectful, accepting and emotionally nurturing environment, and providing each student with resiliency skills.

Each plan must be reviewed and updated annually and approved by the site council during a public meeting, before being submitted to the Governing Board for approval.

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