Community Update Bulletin
By Barry Brucker - Board of Education Oct. - Dec. 1999
Your Board of Education has been busy this fourth quarter of 1999. As December concludes my year as President, I will reflect on some of this past years highlights, accomplishments and challenges & my vision for Y2K. This is my 8th quarterly newsletter I hope you find them informative and thought provoking.
WELCOME DR. KEN MOFFETT: Every once in a while you get a stroke of good luck and great fortune. On October 1st, 1999, Dr. Moffett joined our fine team of administrators as our Interim Superintendent. Dr. Moffett was the National Superintendent of the Year in 1994. It has been a pleasure and honor working directly with this consummate professional.
SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION: On November 2nd the voters elected Willie Brien, Alissa Roston and Virginia Maas, with a mere 22 votes separating Virginia Maas and Allison Okyle. The County Registrar acknowledged major computer and absentee voter errors, and fully expected the election to be contested with a possible run-off between two candidates. With scores of supporters suggesting that Allison contest the election, she decided that it would not be in the best interest of the community for another tumultuous election. Bravo to her unselfishness and continued commitment to the children and this district. Allison leaves this board accomplishing more in her short 18 months than any Board Member in the last 20 years.
THE YEAR IN REVIEW: 1999 was a year of great progress and overcoming terrific challenges.
>BOARD OF EDUCATION COMMISSIONS: One of the highlights of this past year was establishing Board of Education Commissions. This community could not afford to pay for this level of expertise and advice. Thank you to these tireless community volunteers who evaluate, analyze and advise the board on subjects including construction, finance, community relations/communications and the arts.
> BEVERLY VISTA DEMOLITION AND CONSTRUCTION PROGRESS: In July, the Board voted to begin demolition on buildings A & D in order to make way for a state-of-the-art educational center. Although four years overdue, the decision to demo BV in 1999 was the correct one. By committing to the early demo plans (if all goes as projected) we will shave nearly one year off the entire construction timeline while saving nearly one million dollars. As a bonus to the students, check out the much needed "new" grass play field! As I promised during my election campaign two years ago, the shovel is finally in the ground!
> HIGH SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION: With approximately $24 Million committed to our high school, we are now on the road to achieving our modernization expectations. Thank you to our students and staff for working around the inconveniences of bungalows and construction challenges.
> GOALS AND OBJECTIVES: With district-wide goals and objectives in place, we now have a measure to hold us all accountable. Accountability is and should be demanded from everyone including our staff, students, parents, administrators and your Board. Check out Gerald Lunns website at www.geraldlunn.com for specifics on district goals & objectives as well as finances, test scores, construction status and other school issues. With strong leadership and a commitment by us all, we have the opportunity to reach our maximum "educational" potential. Now, lets do it!
> PROP 1A BOND MONIES: Our BHUSD has just been awarded over $13.5 million from the State for our modernization program. We are expecting an additional $2-3 million commitment from California Prop 1A for Beverly Vista modernization in the early summer. Excellent job CA voters!
> BUDGET DEFICIT-ZERO! Thank you to our fine Administrative team and our Budget Review Committee for analyzing, evaluating and recommending needed fiscal improvements. Closer tabs on long-term fiscal management will insure a healthy financial bottom line.
> BUNGALOWS: In early June, the challenges of nation-wide indoor air quality concerns in classroom portables reached an all time crescendo. CBS TV did a tabloid "sweeps seeking" story on potential toxins in portables and featured "Beverly Hills Schools." We had a near crisis at our schools. Through our districts commitment to safety and the health concerns of our students and staff, this community owes a huge debt of gratitude to our Maintenance Staff and our Environmental Safety Committee comprised of parents, staff, administrators, board members, medical professionals and consultants. They worked countless hours over the summer to analyze, evaluate, recommend and remediate any health and ventilation concerns. I am pleased to state that CBS TV did a follow-up story in September on bungalows and indoor air quality, and declared BHUSD a "Model school district for indoor air quality advocacy." Way to go team!
> ATHLETIC FIELD RENOVATION: During the election, some campaign issues were raised about the expenditures on the Nichol Athletic Field. Please note that we were NOT over our anticipated budget. Those against renovation and needed safety upgrades failed to mention that the scope of the project was far greater than the original plans/bid estimates from three years ago. In addition to the original field and track estimate, we added a new baseball stadium, plumbing, sewer, painting, fencing, drainage and irrigation, electrical upgrades, and wiring for field lights. We re-asphalted and repositioned the pole vault track, did extensive concrete and curb repairs, and critical safety related work. NOTE: The field had not been touched in nearly 40 years safety and necessary upgrades for our students and community was long overdue!
> EDUCATIONAL EXCELLENCE: Each of our five campuses has earned the prestigious California Distinguished School award...a first in 12 years. Beverly Hills High School is in the final running as one of only 6 public schools in the State of California vying for the coveted National Blue Ribbon Award...the most prestigious national excellence in educational award. Way to go Beverly High Principal Ben Bushman and his fine team of educators and support staff. I hope our four K-8s go for the Blue Ribbon this coming year!
VISION FOR 2000:
Now that my term as Board President is over and many crisis and challenges are behind us, I look forward to focusing my energies on the following issues for the upcoming year.
Þ CURRICULUM: One year ago we raised the issue of improved/alternative high school scheduling to enhance more elective offerings and reduce or eliminate the requirement for summer school. Now we MUST act on it. At the middle school level, we need to stress enhanced study skills, equity at ALL our K-8 schools with respect to individualized scheduling and accelerated class offerings. Lastly, I think it is important to incorporate technology into the learning environment that means get good equipment & learn how to use it!
Þ MODERNIZATION: With school bond monies earmarked for just the basic 8 including: plumbing, electrical, ADA, HVAC, life safety, seismic etc. we need to look toward additional funding opportunities if we truly want to build state-of-the-art facilities. These options include: private/corporate partnerships, naming opportunities, a new local bond measure, State and Federal bond/grant opportunities etc. Furthermore, prudent "business-like" oversight over our existing construction projects is a must in order to curb or eliminate bureaucratic waste and costly overruns.
Þ FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY: As we enter the new millennium, we must look at zero-based budgeting techniques, continue with our Budget Review Committee and include our Financial Advisory Commissions in creating a long-term Financial Strategic Plan.
As always, please do not hesitate to call, write or e-mail me. Your constructive comments and suggestions are always welcomed, valued and encouraged. Feedback is the mechanism that allows for growth and positive change. Our children, our most precious possessions, deserve a cooperative effort from their school board and community people working together to achieve a common goal excellence in education!
Barry Brucker School Board Member
Phone: 310-523-4657 office 310-550-1114 home
Fax: 310-329-0943 office 310-275-7739 home
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