By Jason KUROSU
The Glendale Unified School District board of education approved a number of Measure S funded projects at various school sites during its Nov. 18 meeting. Measure S projects have included new facilities and increased infrastructure throughout the district.
Alan Reising, administrator of the Measure S Facilities, Planning, Development & Support Operations, presented the board with the latest updates regarding Measure S projects.
Projects slated to be completed by January 2015 include voice amplification systems at Clark Magnet High School, which would allow teachers to be better heard in the classroom through a speaker system, an electrical system for new portable classrooms at Jefferson Elementary, a painting project at Dunsmore Elementary and a gutter and pavement replacement project at Mountain Avenue to resolve flooding issues at the school’s main building.
Another large infrastructure project involves the installation of a security surveillance system at Hoover High School and Toll Middle School. One hundred cameras will be installed at Hoover and 67 at Toll, with other costs going to video management software and security patch panels. These high definition cameras would be replacing outdated camera systems currently in place.
The board also approved the construction of a new EEELP (Early Education & Extended Learning Program) building. Reising also updated the board on a wrought iron fence recently completed at Hoover High School, which was funded by Measure S Hoover track & field funds.
In addition to infrastructure information, the board was also updated on developments with new educational programs.
As part of an aim towards career technical education, a small engines program will be implemented at Toll Middle School and Hoover High in the second semester, which will begin with a combined class of eighth graders from Toll and ninth graders from Hoover. GUSD expects that the program will expand more fully next year at Hoover High.
The board also discussed the potential development of trustee areas, which would allow the GUSD board to run its own elections.
According to Superintendent Richard Sheehan, GUSD is working to gain the authority to change its election process, but this would only occur after approval from voters in an April election.
GUSD Chief Business & Financial Officer Eva Lueck said the amendment would only be voted on by Glendale residents because it directly involves the Glendale city charter, leaving out residents living near GUSD schools in unincorporated areas such as parts of La Crescenta.
“Even though we cover multiple communities, we are governed by the city of Glendale’s charter, so it is just the city of Glendale that will be voting on his charter amendment,” said Lueck.
However, if the city charter amendment is approved by Glendale voters, GUSD would run elections as they prefer, which according to Sheehan, “would allow us to include everyone,” meaning all other areas within the school district.
Sheehan also discussed how the establishment of trustee areas would aid GUSD in avoiding lawsuits filed under the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA), which allows minority groups to sue elected bodies if they feel minorities are not represented due to the at-large election process.
“What [CVRA] is meant to do is create trustee areas which would allow traditionally underrepresented groups to have the opportunity to be elected,” said Sheehan.
Sheehan noted that Glendale’s Latino population has been represented in the Glendale City Council and school board in the past, but “every public entity that has fought the CVRA has lost. Part of the way the bill is written is that if you lose, you pay all legal costs for yourself and the suing party. The suing party does not even have to live or be attached to Glendale in any way.”
The board approved to move forward with an amendment, which would grant authority to GUSD to run its own elections as the district sees fit.