Community Update Bulletin
By Barry Brucker President Board of Education BHUSD July-Sept. 99
Margaret Lewis was quoted as saying, "On the great ship, everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm." This was the case when so many wonderful leaders came forward this summer to help our beloved school district rise through the most difficult challenges we have ever experienced. Thank you to those who gave their blood, sweat & tears for our children.
Bungalows/Indoor Air Quality: In June, an article was written in the LA Times & Wall Street Journal about alleged poor indoor air quality in portable classrooms which rattled not only our community, but the nation. This nationwide concern focused on high profile Beverly Vista School as CBS TV ran a tabloid feature in front of that campus. I am very proud of our Districts response by contracting with testing labs, hiring an indoor air quality consultant, holding town forums to hear the communitys concerns and forming an Environmental Safety Committee. The ESC is comprised of staff, parents, physicians, administrators and community volunteers. They are charged with making recommendations to the Board by evaluating, analyzing and recommending appropriate remediation measures. With only 2 short months before school was to reopen, our staff worked around the clock to remediate our bungalows on all campuses to standards that meet or exceed all known guidelines. The end result of this collective effort resulted in a successful opening of school AND CBS News doing a follow-up report stating that BHUSD is the model school district for indoor air quality advocacy. Thank you to our exceptional staff and our Environmental Safety Committee!
Termination of Superintendent: In August the Board terminated the contract of Dr. Robert Pellicone. All compensation ceased at that time. A district investigation, in cooperation with the Los Angeles County Department of Education, began in early April regarding discrepancies with expenditures and reimbursements to the Superintendent. Details of personnel matters are confidential. It was incumbent of the Board to make this decision immediately. Dr. Richard Bertain, our Asst. Supt. of Finance and Diane Dawson our Asst. Supt. of Curriculum along with our superb Administrative team, site Principals, teachers and staff have guided us with precision leadership as we opened school with a spirit of team unity and collective support.
Welcome Interim Supt. Dr. Ken Moffett: Upon the recommendation of Dr. Bertain, we interviewed Dr. Ken Moffett, and I am proud to say we have hired him for this next school year as Interim Superintendent. Dr. Moffetts credentials place him in an elite group among Superintendents. In 1994 he was honored as National Superintendent of the Year. Currently serving as a trainer of PhD. candidates, new superintendents and new principals for the County Dept. of Education, Dr. Moffett brings a wealth of expertise in curriculum, organizational skills, reading achievement and leadership. Welcome aboard Dr. Moffett!
Principals: We are fortunate to have extraordinary depth of leadership among our administrative team. Mrs. Tanis Harris and Mrs. Irene Stern have joined Mr. Ben Bushman, Mr. Steve Fisher and Dr. Art Fields to lead our five California Distinguished School campuses.
Beverly Vista: For me, the highlight of this summer was watching the removal of the first brick at the demolition ceremony of Beverly Vista and the approval of plans for a new state of the art educational complex. The board voted to demolish the buildings this summer to allow for desperately needed playground and field space, and to expedite the groundbreaking date for our new construction. Long overdue and finally underway, it took courage and cooperation on the part of the board and the BV parent family to make this happen. I also want to thank Osborn Architects for their outstanding design and Board Mgember Gerald Lunn for the many hours he spent working with Osborn to make sure that we honored our promise to replace our demolished buildings with new structures that will be compatible and architecturally significant. We are finally on the road to putting children in a first class facility they deserve.
District-wide Modernization: This summer the District awarded a $22.8 million contract for the modernization of our high school. We are underway at breakneck speed to phase the construction as quickly as possible without compromising quality or safety. Everyone has been very cooperative and tolerant throughout this process.
El Rodeo, Hawthorne & Horace Mann: Without sufficient funds available from the original $77 million dollar bond monies, the Board decided, in consultation with the staff, to wait for Prop.1A monies and DO THE JOB RIGHT!!! I am pleased to say that on December 8th, an additional $14 million dollars in Prop. 1A monies are scheduled for approval by the State Allocation Board. When we receive funding approval, we will recommence the bidding process for these important schools.
Education Commissions: While our Construction Advisory Commission has been working hard on the Beverly Vista and High School Modernization projects, our Financial Advisory Commission has been finding new ways to add revenue to our coffers. Our Community Relations Commission has recommended needed safety identification badges, and communication mechanisms. Our Arts Commission is working on an international music concert series for the HS front lawn. Bringing the arts to our schools and our schools art to the community is being accomplished through this fine commission. Thank you to the 40+ volunteer Education Commissioners who contribute countless hours and expertise to improving the educational environment of our schools.
Budget Deficit GONE!: Through the extraordinary efforts of our Budget Review Committee members: Assistant Superintendent of Finance, Dr. Richard Bertain; Director of Fiscal Services, Mary Ellen Figueroa; School Board Member Gerald Lunn; and Board Vice President, Allison Okyle, along with some generous unexpected State funding, we have eliminated out our $1Million deficit. We are finally in the "black".
Permit Violations: Your board is responding to community outcry regarding our permit policies and alleged fraud violations. As a board, we have authorized our attorney to work with staff to investigate multi-cultural permit legalities, residency violations (e.g. numerous families using the same apt. address) and child-care permit fraud.
Safety/Security: Safety gates, fencing and security cameras are being installed at all five campuses. In cooperation with the BHPD & BHFD, we are coordinating all life safety emergency drills to insure efficient protection of our students and staff. With money from a state grant, we have an additional full time police officer at our high school.
School Board Election: I urge you to study the candidates platform. Examine the issues, check out the voting records of the incumbents, and understand all of the candidates positions on issues and concerns. We need candidates who have a vision for educational excellence, who can disagree without being disagreeable, who have a clear understanding of our budget and finances, and who arent afraid to make strong leadership decisions. You have three votes (three open seats) and I urge you to exercise that right. VOTE FOR THREE!
When I was elected to the Beverly Hills School Board, I made a commitment to increase communication with the community. That is why I send out my CUB report every quarter, giving you an update on key district highlights the good and not so good. I always welcome your comments and respond to ALL that write, fax, e-mail or call. I appreciate the opportunity to serve this community and the children of the BHUSD.
Beverly Hills Unified School District
Phone: 310-523-4657 (office), 310-550-1114 (home) e-mail: email@example.com or
Fax: 310-329-0943 (office), 310- 275-7739 (home) firstname.lastname@example.org
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