Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Long time, no post.

It has been quite some time since I posted last.  I really don't like that, as I've been a longstanding advocate for transparency with the board.  However, I've been trying to respect some boundaries around the mediation we have been engaged in, and it's somewhat tricky to keep it all parsed out.

I do want to provide a quick update on where things stand, though.

Back in November 2011, I approached the BCS Board and asked to create a forum where we could discuss issues.  My only precondition for that was that the discussions had to be protected from litigation.  That agreement took a surprisingly long time to get into place, with BCS adding substantial restrictions that made it impossible to disclose the content of those talks while they were in progress.  Those talks have concluded, and I'll be providing commentary soon on the discussions.

The District has also been involved in mediation with BCS, and I'll be commenting shortly on that.

The District did provide our Prop39 offer to BCS for the 2012-13 school year.  That has been a long and difficult process.  We received significant community input with concerns about a co-location at Covington.  We ultimately chose to locate BCS at Egan and Blach.  However, the Covington proposal is still a possibility for next year.  At our most recent Board meeting, we asked staff to move forward with getting proposals for an Environmental Impact Report.  The lack of an EIR was the major sticking point that kept us from being able to co-locate BCS at Covington for the 2012-13 school year.

On a completely different note, we've begun negotiations with our teachers.  Jeff Baier has sent out some notes about it, and most importantly, the negotiating team has also done so.  This is a TREMENDOUS step forward.  We are sharing with the community what has been discussed at each session.  it's not quite the Douglass County CO model, where they negotiate in open session (link), but I think it is a tremendous improvement for our district. This will allow the community to understand what we're talking about as it is happening.  Hopefully this will help ensure that we are all aligned on both process and the outcome.

I am very pleased that this year we aren't going through the same gut-wrenching cycle of pink slips that we have in the past.  Special thanks to the LAEF, and also to the community for passing the Measure E Parcel Tax last year.  The stability this brings to our district is invaluable.

I owe a number of updates on other topics, so stay tuned.  I will do my best to communicate more often.