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TO: EVOC 502/3 Instructor Dr. Joe Scarcella
FROM: Phil Fournier
DATE:
1/4/2005
RE: 503, WA6, Fournier

 

The purpose of EVOC 503 WA6 was to attend and report upon what happened at a local school board meeting. The following six criteria were specified:

  1. Comply with all of the General Criteria for Written Assignments.
  2. Attend a local school board meeting and write a brief synopsis of what occurred at that meeting.
  3. Indicate what locality (geographic area) the school board has jurisdiction in and where and when the meeting was held.
  4. Indicate the full name of each school board member and his or her occupational background.
  5. Indicate what the major topic of discussion was and what was, or was not, resolved as a result of the discussion.
  6. Indicate what personal value was derived from attending the meeting.

The following sources of information were used relative to this assignment:

  1. Fournier, Phil - From my own professional experience.
  2. http://www.hemetusd.k12.ca.us/  (Website for Hemet Unified School District)

I believe that the attached proposal meets all six of above listed criteria and respectfully request full credit: one point for meeting each of the above listed criteria.

WA6 report on the 1/4/2005 meeting of the Governing Board of the Hemet Unified School District.

The governing board meets first in closed session to discuss matters not open to public comment.  I notice among those items some things that surprised me, namely, the question of the expulsion of two students.  These students were noted on the agenda only by a number, not by a name.  I was not aware that such a matter would be decided at the level of the school board.  The board also approved the hiring of a long list of substitute teachers and other non-classified staff during the closed session.

The open session began at 6:30pm.  It was opened with the flag salute led by a young girl that appeared to be about 10 years old.  I gathered she was selected by her teacher, who was also present, for this honor.  The next agenda item was a presentation by another young girl of about 16 who was a student at Hamilton High school, the smallest school in the district.  I believe she had been named as liaison between the students and the school board.  She covered a plan the students had suggested and implemented to reduce tardiness, and reported on its effectiveness.  She covered several other items on interest to the students in what I thought was a very mature fashion for a young girl.  I was impressed with the attention showed her by the school board.

The one item that was of the most interest the whole meeting was a presentation by Target stores to the Hemet/San Jacinto PTA council.  The president of the PTA had applied for this grant of $1500 and received it.  The PTA president accepted the grant from Target and gave a brief synopsis of the ways in which the PTA intended to spend the money on art supplies, photography supplies, and awards for a contest planned by the PTA.

The board asked for any comments from the public, but there were none.  The agenda had a long list of items on it (46 in all) but the public session seemed to be basically a rubber-stamp formality.  There were minor comments made on a couple of items on this agenda, one of which had to do with the performance of the school district regarding English language learners.  But I only figured this out by asking questions afterward as the discussion was between one of the board members and a district employee who was present.

Indicate what locality (geographic area) the school board has jurisdiction in and where and when the meeting was held.

The Hemet Unified school district covers a large area which includes all of the city of Hemet, the mountain communities of Mountain Center and Idyllwild, and the unincorporated areas commonly known as Sage, Aguanga, and Valle Vista.  It contains 14 elementary schools, 4 middle schools, and four high schools.

Indicate the full name of each school board member and his or her occupational background.

Board Member Gisela Gosch        Board Member Marilyn Forst      Board Member Mike Cook     Board Member Charlotte Jones        Board Member Phyllis Petri
Gisela Gosch    Marilyn Forst       Mike Cook     Charlotte Jones     Phyllis Petri
  President       Vice President
       President       Board Member    Board Member


Board Member Bill Sanborn
Bill Sanborn                David Peters (new member, no picture)
Board Member

Gisela Gosch is a business owner of La Casa Interiors, commercial interior designs.  She holds a Masters in Business Administration, University of Southern California.  She has been a school board member since 2000.  Her e-mail is ggosch@airenetworks.com

Marilyn Forst is a retired teacher, with a BA from Whittier College.  Her e-mail address is beecanyon@dslextreme.com. 

Mike Cook is a former president of the school board.  His e-mail address is mcookhemet@earthlink.net

Bill Sanborn is the owner and operator of Sanborn Engineering in Idyllwild, California.  He has a BS from from North Dakota State University.  His e-mail address is govboard@hemetusd.k12.ca.us.

Charlotte Jones and her husband Nick own Miller-Jones Mortuary and Menifee Valley Memorial Park.  She holds a B.A. in Biological Science, University of California, Berkeley.  Her e-mail address is charlotte@pe.net.

Phyllis Petri along with her husband has owned and operated Sunny Hills Towing since 1987.  She has been on the school board since 1990.  Her e-mail address is plpetri@yahoo.com.

David Peters is the brand new board member.  No background information was given.  His e-mail address is govboard@hemetusd.k12.ca.us.

Indicate what the major topic of discussion was and what was, or was not, resolved as a result of the discussion.

As indicated above, this was a pretty boring meeting.  There was very little discussion that went on and the meeting was concluded inside of one half hour.  The only item of any interest at all was the discussion regarding the relative scoring of the district in what was called “Title III Accountability Report” and since the district had a passing score, there was no need for any action.

Indicate what personal value was derived from attending the meeting.

This was unfortunately a meeting with very little interest or action.  I learned more from talking with Nancy Divine, one of the district employees before and after the session.  She gave me insight into how the board functions in open and closed sessions.  I also asked about the long tenure of some of the board members since I recognized that two of them went clear back to my last board meeting attended in 1990 for an education class at UCR.  She was of the opinion that experience is a good thing in general.  To me it seemed they had been converted into professionals, and the idea behind school boards seems to be that they should be ordinary citizens, not professionals.  Perhaps term limits might be a good idea.