Summary of 11/23/21 Regular Meeting of the WCSD Board of Trustees
This is a summary of the business conducted at this week's WCSD's Regular Board of Trustees Meeting. You can also watch the previously recorded meeting here: YouTube Link
Ratification of the sale of WCSD owned 6.41 acre Inline property to Tahoe Transportation District
Trustee Church tried, but failed to get this item re-heard. Regardless, public comment went forward with a majority against the sale citing undermarket value, bad location in a residential district and almost certain increased crime. John Eppolito produced a petition against the sale signed by 1,800 Incline residents and noted Trustee Nicolet’s silence on the matter in the district she represents.
Mr. Hastings, the District Manager for the Tahoe Transportation District spoke trying to assure the Incline residents that this is just the beginning of the process and welcomed input on the future use of this site. He directed people to a website https://www.inclinevillagemobilityhub.org that contains answers to 80 questions gathered through many town hall meetings with Incline residents.
Board Policy 5105 School Uniforms
One person’s public comment spoke about the happiness he felt when the Board had adopted the site base policy so school uniforms can be sold at cost. However, he wants at cost to be mandated as allegedly, a Title I school outside of Washoe County was selling the uniforms at a $15/per child profit.
Payout of the Superintendent’s $80,000 for unused sick time
Per President Taylor and the Board this is typical of a state employee to get a payout of sick or annual leave at the end of their career. Leadership team members are entitled to 25% and Superintendent McNeill accumulated this amount of sick leave over the 30 years she worked for the district. Superintendent McNeill has also, unceremoniously, given back $30,000 each year. Unanimously approved.
Board Policy 5250 Drug Policy and 2.21 BP 5650 Suicide Prevention
Trustee Church wants drug testing added into Board Policy 5250 giving the Superintendent power to issue drug testing. Attorney Rombardo answered that random testing of all students creates HUGE civil rights and other legal issues. Unanimously approved as written without the drug testing inclusion.
3.01 Retention of a Search Firm to Locate a New Superintendent
Three firms presented their proposals and the Board chose to hire a local search firm
called The Bryan Group, LLC with a cap on spending set at $60,000. Unanimously approved.
Our concern is that the Board appeared to choose the search firm based on their stance on equity, as each proposal discussed equity and President Taylor asked each firm to define equity. We did not see any mention of looking for a candidate who put education at the top of their list.
Changes to Bell Schedule Starting in the 2022-23 School Year
There were a lot of people unhappy with the Board's adoption of the Option A Bell Schedule. The Board listened and although they agree they don't want middle school to start so early, they have not figured out how to do so without negatively impacting many.
Therefore, the Board reversed the preliminary approval of Option A schedule and tabled any change to school start times. Unanimously Approved.
3.05 Attendance Zone Changes to McQueen HS, Verdi ES, Roy Gomm ES, Billinghurst MS, Swope MS, and Reno HS
The Zoning Advisory Committee’s Recommendation is Option 1 which allows transportation to be provided to all, impacts fewer students, with no impact at the HS level and more uniform enrollment balance.
The Board moved to approve Option 1 impacting Roy Gomm, Swope and Billinghurst effective date 2022-2023. Unanimously Approved.
Presentation and Update on Superintendent’s Task Force for Supplementary Materials for K-5 ELA Social Justice Curriculum
Mr. Parks, Chief Academic Officer, introduced the three lead task force representatives: LaNesha Battle - WCSD Director of Equity & Diversity Director, Dina Ciaramella - WCSD Director of Elementary Curriculum, and Debra Stears - Lead Member of the Task Force.
To date, the Task Force (“TF”) has mostly used their time to become familiar with each other and how to navigate the Nevada Academic Content Standards, as well as the K-5 ELA and Social Studies Curriculum.
The TF members heard a presentation from the E&D Dept. about cultural
competency and were assigned homework for the next meeting called The Opportunity Myth: What Students Can Show Us About How School is Letting Them Down and How to Fix It.. Neither were provided in the agenda materials, but you can google, find and read The Opportunity Myth.
It seems like here we go again. The Board is still pressing forward with a social justice curriculum, because that is what they titled it and again we have the equity and diversity players leading the discussion. What it will look like, we do not know. The Board did remind everyone that the Task Force was directed to not include divisive or political language/materials (which were included in the discarded Benchmark Advance Supplemental Curriculum). We will be watching closely.
Public Comment - In general, many are again concerned with the Board’s direction to implement a social justice curriculum. Social justice is just WCSD’s word choice for CRT type teaching where children are taught to categorize each other by their skin color.
Terry Bartell - spoke of Virginia’s new Lt. Governor, Winsome Sears, saying CRT is woven throughout the curriculum. Asked people to look at the NV Dept of Ed Academic Content Standard for Social Studies and the National Council 101st meeting in January 2022 with the presenter, Phillip Nel, speaking about how to break up with your children’s favorite racist book. She said he was the professor who started the defamation of Dr. Seuss. She agrees we must teach all the good and the bad, but not erase the past to fit a narrative.
Valerie Fiannaca - stated the task force should never have been formed. Rubric was so narrow, no diversity. Community has told you in no uncertain terms they do not want this. Even chose an activist teacher who online says she will teach CRT no matter what laws say. Please return to classical education.
John Eppolitto - where is the diversity of thought? He has seen the decrease in learning from 2016 when his first child graduated because now WCSD is focusing on BLM, LGBTQ, Social justice, CRT, SEL, etc telling kids how to think instead of educating them. Spencer said US History teacher going to focus on BLM and LGBTQ he dropped school the next day, kids from Galena HS cannot form a conservative group, Sparks Middle school teacher told her kids first day of school she divorced her husband to marry a woman and she is a proud lesbian, and Pine Middle school principal supposedly took down a teacher’s LGBTQ flag and the teacher cried. Focus on improving education not indoctrination.
Pablo Durrant is not in favor of CRT. (That is a big change).
Trustee Church - very pertinent question of when can the public participate in the Superintendent’s Task Force? Can they attend meetings, public comment, can they write the task force etc.? -Answer - Dr. Parks - Because the task force is a superintendent’s task force, the public is not allowed to interact with them until they present a supplemental curriculum to the Board and then there will be public comment.
Trustee Church - emphasized that 83% of the community opposed the social justice curriculum.
3.06 Hiring a Team Building Group to Coach the Board
After much back and forth it seems pretty clear that President Taylor and Trustee Church are the two board members who do not get along. The Board attempted to decide whether to hire Deb Darby or Randy Manner to conduct team building for the Board to be able to move forward together. There was no information provided in the agenda material by the Board about either Ms. Darby or Mr. Manner. The cost for Ms. Darby is $2100/day and Mr. Manner is $250/hour.
The Board pulled this agenda item until Trustee Church is able to speak with Mr. Manner.
In general, the public felt this was a waste of taxpayer money. The Board was not hired to get along by having the same opinions, just to do their jobs. Many felt this was a way to get Trustee Church to agree with the rest of the Board that leans left.
3.03 Request by Trustees Minetto and Nicolet
This is a discussion item only. There is now a prepared list of all 13 committees showing the members as well as details regarding each committee's work.