January was an exciting month in our district as we continue to work together to reimagine and rebuild for the future in our district! What follows are some important updates for you!

Measure M and Measure O Updates

I had hoped to have news about San Juan School’s future, but I am learning quickly that state agencies do not work quickly. Here is what I know so far. Our architects’ engineering team continued to have technical conversations about the structural elements of the school with t he California’s Department of School Architects (DSA). These conversations are part of the Seismic Study Project to determine whether the school needs simply to be renovated or to be replaced. One important conversation point is whether the renovation costs would be so expensive that it would make more sense to replace the buildings. In addition, when one is dealing with old construction and begins to open up walls, it is possible to find other problems that need to be addressed, and so new construction becomes even more feasible then. These are the conversations that are occurring now. A lot of “what if’s”.

In addition, there is another state agency that controls the funding and that is the OPSC (Office of Public School Construction).  Normally, one would wait until the DSA finished their report before engaging the OPSC, but my team has decided to be proactive, and we invited OPSC to visit San Juan School to see if that can help move the process along. This visit occurred this week. At this point, we just need to know which path we are walking down so we can make the right plans. I promise to blast out the news when I finally have something definitive to announce. For now, we wait and continue the preparations that will be necessary for either possible future: renovation or rebuilding.

Measure O
is the major funding source for this project and we have successfully issued about 5M in bonds to start the plans. You will remember there was 30.5M in Measure O when we began.

Measure M
In December, the Board approved plans to move forward with several projects to use up the remainder of Measure M.  We started with 4.2M, spent about 1.4, and so had about 2.8M to allocate or spend to address at least 4.5M of identified needs.  Needs always outpaces available funds, however, the Board approved a variety of projects including the following listed below. Please note that processes have begun but there will be delays and backorders on equipment, so no promises on completion dates, especially relative to HVAC. Some of the bids for what follows will be coming to the Feb 15 regular Board Meeting for approval.

Anzar (850K): HVAC to one of two remaining buildings as well as some Sports related items to support 45% of the student body who participate in sports. This includes a water bottle station and replacing Boys and Girls Locker Rooms and some other items under discussion.

Aromas (1.7M): HVAC for 11 classrooms and GYM ( cooling center).

San Juan (250K): ceiling fans in all classrooms; alternative cooling options; gym maintenance/painting to seal San Juan GYM envelope from rain intrusion/weather.

David Jakes Week - Focus on the Future

The first week back from winter break (January 9-13) may be remembered by many for its nonstop atmospheric rivers and flooding, but many of us will also remember that it was time the district took to ask some important questions about what we want for our students. Consultant David Jakes worked with all school groups of teachers, admin, students, and a room full of 91 community members and parents to facilitate these important conversations.  The Thursday night town hall was particularly memorable as it was a visible sign of the interest and engagement of this community in supporting the future of its students.  

David posed three questions and let us go to work:

  • What does it mean to be an Educated Person?  

  • What would we have to do to become a Destination District? 

  • What should we take forward and what should we leave behind?

 I truly believe that those in attendance will remember the lively, thought provoking, empathetic, passionate discussions for years to come.  I was proud of everyone in that room for their honest conversations!  And while it was a diverse group, there was a striking level of agreement about some steps we need to take to move forward.  We have saved all of the documents and David is now working on his Executive Report. We will receive it in about a month and I will make it public after we share it with the board and employee groups.   I know we will use it to help propel us forward for years to come. A next step may be to revisit and refresh our mission and vision statement to guide our next steps.

Focus on our Future!


Bus Route Information

We continue to work on improving our processes. The District Office needs more accurate information to help us communicate in a timely fashion with those who ride buses.  We are short staffed and when we must reduce a route, we need an accurate, fast way to alert families in a timely fashion. This also became a problem recently when we needed to communicate with bus riding families during the recent weather event.

So, I am asking you to complete a short survey to provide us with information to help us reach you in these last minute emergency situations. If you do not receive the survey through Parent Square, you may access the survey through this link.  In the future, we will include this as part of the fall enrollment process.

School Bus

After School and Summer Enrichment Survey Results

You responded quickly to a survey I sent out regarding our development of after school and summer enrichment programs, using our one-time grant funds. Within a day or two of opening the survey, I had over 100 responses. The top vote getters were Art, Music, and Sports with many other good ideas offered up. So, let me tell you where we are at this point in time with some of these activities.

Music has begun!    

San Juan School: 10 Students are currently enrolled in Guitars Not Guns (level one) , an 8 week program providing instruction for students on how to play the guitar.  Guitars Not Guns is a nonprofit organization interested in providing music instruction for young people. Those who finish the 8-week program and “graduate” get to keep the guitar.  Local musicians Steve Harris and Ramona Hill are two of the teachers meeting with the students who are drawn from the San Juan After School Program.

Aromas School:  It has been such a success that we are planning to run the same program for 10 students at Aromas School starting in September. Those who graduate will be eligible to continue on in Level Two when it is offered.  Any adults with old guitars who wish to donate to the program should contact me, and I will get them to Steve or Ramona who will refurbish them for future students to use and hopefully own.  We hope to continue next year offering more students Level 1 and 2 opportunities.


San Benito Art Foundation

We are using our LCAP planned dollars to fund a partnership with the San Benito Art Foundation that will bring art experiences this spring to some of our students at Aromas and San Juan School.  In addition, a mural will be completed at Aromas under their direction and some arts assemblies have occurred at Anzar.

Gifted Adults Providing Summer Enrichment

I have recently sent a survey to all of our employees to see who may have special talents they wish to share through enrichment activities this summer. I also am continuing to make contacts with local organizations to see what else we can arrange for this summer.  If you know of local artisans, musicians, sports coaches that may be interested in working with me on this project, please have them reach out.  I am working through a list but certainly could use more contact names.  We will publicize opportunities as they get firmed up. The focus right now is on developing summer opportunities.


Parent Education

Anzar High School principal Angela Crowley is finalizing some details about a series of Parent Education opportunities. Once details are set, we will send you information about these learning opportunities for adults.

Superintendent Search Timeline

This is an important month for the district as it continues to move through the steps working with Leadership Associates, the executive search firm assisting with the search for your next Superintendent. Recently posted is the profile they compiled using your survey data and results from stakeholder interviews.  You can access the profile here.   

January 31 was the deadline for applications to be received. The next steps they will take is to prepare the applications to review with the Board on February 13 in Closed Session. The Board will choose a shortlist to interview in Closed Session on February 25. The goal is to have a finalist for approval at an early March Board meeting. That individual’s contract would likely begin July 1, 2023.