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BHS science/equity debate — the latest

Peggy Scott, one of the four parent representatives on the Berkeley High School Governance Council, sends this update from yesterday’s meeting:

[Berkeley High School principal] Mr. Slemp announced that the enhancement funds that pay for 0 and 7 period labs may not be available due to cuts in the state budget. He does not plan to take his  new plan to the School Board meeting next  Wednesday 1/13.

Additionally, the next SGC meeting, which planned to consider the first round of equity grants, will not have that item on the agenda either.  On the other hand, that doesn’t automatically mean parents shouldn’t go to the Board next week. Nothing is certain; everything is up in the air. The Governator is supposed to release his budget for the schools at the end of this week and that will be an important factor.

What can I say? We live in an age of uncertainty and now you can add this to the list.


I am pleased to report that Mr. Huyett, Dir. Issel and Dir Selawsky also attended the SGC meeting to discuss parity issues, composition of the Schoolsite Council and possible redesign of the high school SGC. As the Policy Committee, it is their job to (among other things) to make sure that all BUSD schools have governance structures that are in alignment with the state Education Code.

While it has been  slow going, I believe they are making a good faith effort to fix  this situation and assure compliance. They hope to meet with parents in the very near future to discuss this matter. When they do, please show up! This is unbelievably important. Consider the fact that a Schoolsite Council is supposed to have 1-to-2 parity as regards parents to high school staff, and our current SGC has 1-to-5 parity.  That is the group that voted to de-fund science labs.

Perhaps with true parity the same thing would have happened, perhaps not. But I say this to express just how important this governance issue is.  So OK, I am a wonk*…

I hope this is a reasonably accurate report.

Xin nián kuài lè (Happy New Year)!


*wonk – Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: a person preoccupied with arcane details or procedures in a specialized field.

Read Berkeleyside’s previous coverage of this issue here:

Endangered science at Berkeley High School [12.11.09]

Science at BHS: An open letter [12.14.09]

Science and equity: BHS parents weigh in [12.16.09]


BHS Board meeting dominated by science issue [12.17.09]

The BHS science flap — the ripples are spreading [12.30.09]