Corbett School District Regular April 2016 School Board Meeting
Karina Lande. Board Meeting Notes from audio recordings.
Approved minutes and agendas can be found here.
* NOTE: This web site is provided as a courtesy for those interested in following along with the happenings in our district, especially those that live in Corbett. This site and these board notes are not meant to replace official CSD board meeting minutes but many of us appreciate and thank Karina for attending, recording and sharing these updates.
Elephant in the room
I attended the regular school board meeting last night, and although I don’t have time for a full transcription I’ll give you a quick summary but first I want to touch on the staff issue that is the newest elephant in the room seeming to be ignored. Select here to read the statement Allen Pace handed to board members, as well as a copy he gave me and asked for it to be shared online. (PDF)
There were quite a few audience members as well as many students in attendance. I believe they were there in support of Erika Pace. For those not following the threads in Corbett Area, she is a teacher whose position is being eliminated as she was told; “due to budget cuts”.
The culinary arts program she taught is also being “eliminated” but it seems the students will still be doing the same food prep and learning they just won’t receive any actual credits for it because her “replacement” is not a licensed teacher. By eliminating the program and her job, they can put a new title on it and give the job to someone else. This is the gist I’m getting of what is happening.
It has been implied by some that the food served to our students was not great and now it is better. But again if this was about the food then a process would have needed to be followed regarding the release of an employee. This issue has been publicly debated on Facebook and I’m sure the district has been fielding questions regarding Erika Pace & the Culinary Arts Program.
Principal Presentation on Food
The grade school and middle school principals gave a presentation last night with slides of the food currently being prepared by the students for the schools, and stated that the number of students getting school meals has increased since the “changes” they’ve made.
DeeDee Hanes stated “whenever we make changes it’s very responsible to communicate about it and this is the perfect forum to do that. We’re talking about the kids experience, we’re not talking about personnel assignments or personnel reviews, because that wouldn’t be an appropriate forum for me to do that here.”
I felt this was pretty irrelevant to anything at hand. I know there was a cheeseburger competition, saw pictures of the food, and confirmed that our students are in fact being fed. Ok, great.
A parent letter praising the food was also read. Funny other letters sent in never seem to get read by the administration at board meetings. The presentation seemed more like a slap in the face to the Pace’s and the district just patting themselves on the back for show. If you’re not going to actually address an issue then why bring it up at all? These diversions are a waste of time for those attending board meetings, in my opinion.
“I was going to talk but after that obviously I have nothing to say but I will hand these out. We changed tactics and are going to leave on a high note. We had no idea that we were doing such a horrible job so I’d like to thank the administration for that heavy blow.” Select here to read his statement that was given to the board and some audience members.
“I’ve been food service administrator for almost 20 years now. I took over and got Culinary Arts here instead of kitchen staff as a way to save money. After working with the kids I decided I wanted to be a teacher so I went back to school. I’d like to say too in 20 years they’ve never come and given me a presentation on food so thanks for that. I’ve also never seen this many people working with the kids, there’s tons of adults tons of support now since I’ve been gone. At the beginning of last year I was the only one in there teaching, doing the food service, ordering etc..
I have a couple letters from my students to share. I have like over 40 of these and it cracks me up on a bad day to read some of these.”
She read a few letters of support from her students. There were funny stories as well as appreciation for the skills acquired, the responsibility learned, and the work ethic instilled. These kids handled and prepared food for the entire district under Erika’s guidance, and they clearly enjoyed it.
As usual nothing has been made clear by the board/admin to the public, but the reason the Pace’s were given for this employees’ job loss is budget cuts.
A Budget Refresher…..
” The board also has the option of spending part of the 1.5 million dollars that were set aside last year. As a Board member at the time, we were told that money would go to make sure no programs or positions would be cut so the students would not be affect in a down turn in the economy.
The Feb. 17, 2016 board meeting approved minutes say that this was presented as an option, to spend that down to $500,000 and fill the over $900,000 “hole” that was partially created by over-estimating the number of students who would attend, ($245,000) and by overspending in staff support and the purchase of two buses ($180,000).
The original number of dollars brought in to the District by closing the Charter was approximately 2.5 million. (Read more about this here.)
We should not be having to look at budget cuts at all right now, based on the amount of extra dollars we received just a year ago.” – Victoria Purvine
So the state of the food etc., isn’t even in the equation. We have $1.5 million dollars just sitting in an account but they’re saying we need to make budget cuts?! Again I say to the school board, step up and put your head in the game, and please start holding our administration accountable and asking for public explanations.
Why are we in a budget crisis when you see the facts? Why won’t they explain this instead of showing us slides of food at a the board meeting?”