December 14 meeting
During FJUHSD Board’s organizational meeting on December 14, the Trustees reassigned the yearly appointments held by various members. Lauren Klatzker became President of the Board with Joanne Fawley as clerk. Everyone took time to sincerely thank Marilyn Buchi for presiding over the Board during this most unusual and difficult 2021 year.
During principal reports, Principal Sandi Layana of La Vista/La Sierra Alternative High School highlighted the 11-year-old distance learning program iSierra. Open to all district students, iSierra offers classes for grades 9-12 including Honors, Advanced Placement, and classes that cover all requirements. This year the program has expanded from 81 to 134 students and is now connected to AERIS gradebook for parent, student, and teacher interactions as well as the weekly teacher “check-in” meeting for all participating students.
Teacher Lisa Valdez chairs the program, and any interested student or parent needs only to contact their child’s current school counselor to learn more about participating. This program has always been geared to accommodate students with outside time-consuming professional activities like traveling sports, acting, modeling, and other situations that make it difficult for students to attend in-person high school.
New Administrative Position
Alan Whitten, former Sunny Hills High School principal, was officially Board-approved to begin a newly-created administrative position of Director of Student Support Services beginning in January. The Trustees seemed excited to approve Mr. Whitten for this job, but none of them spoke about what he would be doing at this newly-formed appointment position. According to the EDJOIN posting, the new Director of Student Support Services answers to the Assistant Superintendent of Education and Assessment Services.
They are responsible for coordinating all the school sites’ student support programs to ensure conformity to state and federal education guidelines and regulations, provide direction that gives consistency throughout the District concerning student support policy, and a singular district administrative person for parents and students to contact if all school site procedures prove ineffective. The goal is to create the most effective and refined set of student services to bolster students’ success as much as possible. Mr. Whitten will be coordinating student mental health services, attendance outreach, discipline support, and any other programs focused on providing student success including universal complaint form actions. Sunny Hills High School will have an interim principal until a replacement is found.
A group of parents questioned the district’s current English learner reclassification process and requested greater parent communication clarifying the requirements with an updated website concerning English learner students and their families. On the FJUHSD website many of the family resource information is translated into Spanish and Korean, however, finding District English Advisory Committee information is trickier since meetings are listed under Education Services Department headings and not under the parent information heading.
First Interim Report
Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Ruben Hernandez delivered the first Interim report covering July 1 through October 31, 2021, of the 2021/22 fiscal year. This is the first of three reports reviewing the yearly budget by adjusting actual average attendance rates that are used to determine Local Control Funding allotments, any federal or state grant adjustments that affect the budget, and any other factors that impact the current year budget. The larger than projected budget of $199.9 million dollars included a significant increase in one-time federal money that allows the District to hire additional administration, educational, and mental health support staff since the funds are expendable over multiple years.
FJUHSD was also able to raise revenue by expanding the projected student enrollment and identifying more students as persons in need of additional economic support, both factors help maintain and increase state revenues. The district is creating support administrative and staff positions from a portion of this money, so the expenditures grew and are projected to leave the District with a lower, but healthy 18.5% reserve balance (down from last year’s $50 million dollar reserve balance). The Board unanimously approved a positive rating on the budget while asking few questions in the public meeting.
Next Board Meeting
The next regularly scheduled meeting will take place on January 11 at 6pm. Fullerton Joint Union High School District Board information is available by calling (714) 870-2800 or visiting www.fjuhsd.org.