Board of Education Briefs: Dec. 11, 2012

The Board of Education on Tuesday night elected Linda Canlas to serve as President and Jonas Dino as Clerk. Mr. Dino, the longest serving member of the Board, was sworn in for a fourth term, and outgoing president Michelle Matthews took the oath of office for a second term. Michael Ritchie, who joined the Board last January after being appointed to fill a vacant seat, was sworn in for his first full term.

Also on Tuesday night, the Board thanked Superintendent Kari McVeigh and District staff for its successful pursuit of a federal Race to the Top-District (RTTT-D) grant. Earlier Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) announced the District would receive a $29.3 million RTTT-D grant, one of only 16 applicants granted funds from 372 that applied. (More information, including the complete text of the grant, is available under the "Spotlight" section, by clicking on "Race to the Top Grant.")

The Board also approved the first interim report on the 2012-13 budget and multi-year projections though 2014-15. Noting that the District is continuing to suffer from the effects of five years of state budget cuts, Chief Business Officer Akur Varadarajan acknowledged the "tremendous sacrifices" made by District employees, all of whom are being paid for nine fewer workdays this year and are taking an additional 1 percent pay cut.

Mr. Varadarajan emphasized that the RTTT-D grant will have limited impact on mitigating the cuts, because DOE requirements stipulate how the funds can be spent Pending Gov. Brown's state budget forecast in January, the District's budget projections for 2013-14 and 2014-15 once again are based on employees agreeing to nine fewer workdays -- meaning the school year will remain at 175 days, five years shorter than in 2010-11. Mr. Varadarajan noted that the passage of Proposition 30 at least kept the District from having to cut more days from the school year and asking employees for even more sacrifices.

The Board also made appointments Tuesday to the following standing committees and other agencies:

  • Regional Occupational Program Board: Mr. Dino (Sarabjit Cheema alternate).
  • Alameda County School Boards Association: Ms. Canlas (Ms. Cheema alternate).
  • Special  Education Local Plan Area Policy Board: Mr. Ritchie (Mr. Dino alternate).
  • California Interscholastic Sports Federation: Ms. Matthews (Ms. Cheema alternate).
  • Board of Education/City Council Sub-Committee: Ms. Canlas and Mr. Dino.
  • Union City Youth Violence Prevention Advisory Committee: Ms. Matthews and Mr. Ritchie.