Highlights from the March 27 School Board meeting

Board hears more from parents, students regarding SRO proposal

Although the SRO topic was not on the evening’s agenda, two students and six parents appeared before school trustees to share their differing perspectives on the evolving proposal to bring a student resource officer to upper school campuses. Julia Huffaker and Josh DeBare each shared a student perspective, telling the board that an on-campus officer would neither address root problems nor inspire trust in the student population.

Parents Allison Elvekrog, Lisa Settlemier, Mary Beth Russell, and Julie Caskey (reading a letter from Kerry Corcoran) and Jeff Parkhurst each spoke in favor of some type of SRO presence on campus, citing a range of reasons that included creating a more secure campus, building bridges between students and the police, and not wanting to lose grant money in hand. Jill Lindenbaum, on behalf of the Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee, expressed support for the renewed effort to explore options that would be a good fit for the community. Almost all parents expressed their disappointment in how communication on this issue has been handled to date.

Superintendent Randall Booker informed the speakers and school trustees that a hybrid version of the original proposal is being explored in light of new information from the justice department regarding how the grant money can be used, and that a public city-school liaison meeting will be convened to talk about next steps. “Ultimately, it will be up to Chief Bowers to decide how to proceed with his grant,” said Booker.

Read our past reporting on this topic, including a March 29 update from the city’s Public Safety Commission:

November: Hot Topic: School board discusses student resource officer

January: City council, parents weigh pros and cons of police officer on campus

February: School board rejects SRO proposal

March: School Board debates modifications to SRO proposal

March: City’s Public Safety Committee discusses modifications to SRO proposal

Art Hecht Volunteer of the Year award winner announced

Superintendent Booker announced that Cathy Glazier, a former art teacher, longtime school volunteer, Piedmont Education Foundation member, and driving force behind the PUSD Wellness Center, received the Art Hecht Volunteer of the Year award. She will be honored at the May 8 school board meeting. This award is presented annually to individuals who have volunteered their efforts over a period of time and made a difference because of their involvement and commitment to Piedmont’s youth.

Hazardous materials abatement at the high school construction site

In response to questions the Board has received regarding hazardous materials abatement at the high school, Mark Milani, a professional engineer, certified asbestos consultant, and an environmental services manager/hygienist (who also managed the last PUSD Bond measure which included the abatement and demolition of the Havens Elementary School) provided details to the school trustees regarding the abatement work planned for the high school. “In terms of asbestos, we don’t have a significant amount,” he said, noting that most of it is in drywall and tile, and all is being removed even if not required by law. He notes that site surveys conducted to date actually go beyond the requirements under AHERA (Asbestos Hazard Emergency Law Act).

( You can find more information about the Hazardous Materials Survey reports here.)

“Stay away from Magnolia Ave” starting April 1

Superintendent Booker noted that fencing around the high school campus on Magnolia Ave. will go up on April 1 and that traffic and parking on the one-way street in front of the middle and high schools will be heavily impacted.

Important dates:

April 13 – April 21: Demolition of the Alan Harvey Theater

April 22 – 30: Crews will remove debris and move soil around the worksite. Plans are being made to mitigate noise impact on students and teachers.

June 1: STEAM building construction begins

June 2020: Demolition of the 10s building. Theater construction begins

August 2020: STEAM building complete.

Fall 2021:  New theater scheduled for completion.

The full timeline and traffic plan is attached to the Board agenda here.

Construction contract officially approved

The Board unanimously approved a $49,973,479 contract with Overaa Construction, marking the final step toward the start of the STEAM and new theater projects.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *