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Berkeley School Board Primer: Projects over budget at King and Willard, district priorities and finances

The Berkeley Unified School District Board of Education. Photo: Mark Coplan/BUSD
The Berkeley Unified School District Board of Education (file photo). Photo: Mark Coplan/BUSD

The Berkeley schools Board of Education meets tonight, Sept. 9, beginning in closed session at 5:30 p.m. The regular meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. See the full agenda packet here.

The regular meeting is set to begin by 7:30 p.m. Public comment is limited to 30 minutes, with a 3-minute limit per speaker. Public comment takes place at the beginning and end of the meeting, rather than in response to each item. There are two action items, related to district finances, and two discussion items. The discussion items will focus on the priorities and initiatives in the 2015-16 school year, and the board policy priorities. On the consent calendar, two district construction projects, at Willard and King middle schools, have run into challenges and must get more money from BUSD to do the needed work.

Discussion items

Both of the board’s discussion items focus on priorities in the coming school year.

The board is set to hear a presentation on “the most critical district-wide priorities” for BUSD. Five areas are identified: fine-tuning the approach to Common Core state standards and district-wide assessment tools; expanding professional development opportunities; ensuring there is a “consistent and well-articulated coordination of services” for students and families; improving access to technology; providing targeted interventions for high-need students; and developing the planning and process for a new BSEP measure.


According to a brief agenda item, the board is set to discuss its policy priorities, but the item does not go into detail in the documents about what those will be. According to the packet, “Current circumstances have brought specific policies to the forefront of the Policy Sub-Committee. The Policy Sub-Committee is requesting guidance from the governing Board regarding what specific policies should be the focus for the 2015-16 school year.”

Action items

Both of the action items relate to district finances. The packet items are very brief. The board plans to look at the 2014-15 financial ledgers of the district, which have essentially been finalized prior to an independent audit. The financial documents did not appear to be posted online as of publication time. In a separate item, the board is set to approve what’s called a Gann Limit, a state requirement related to finances that “does not have any direct effect on the funding of the District.”

Other items

KING GYM MODERNIZATION: BUDGET INCREASE On the consent calendar, the board is set to increase funding for a construction project to modernize the gymnasium at King Middle School, which is currently underway. The board is required to approve the request because it’s more than 10% of the original bid of $1.655 million. The increase, of about 15%, is driven by two factors: “hidden conditions” (9%) and the decision to add a public address system to the site (6%). According to the staff report, “Extensive hazardous materials and lead paint were found on structural steel members and window framing, capped utility lines, roof leak repairs and extensive dry rot that all had to be remediated and repaired.” See the staff report and resolution.

WILLARD MODERNIZATION: BUDGET INCREASE The project to modernize Willard Middle School is also running over budget, and is on the consent calendar to increase funding so the requisite work can be done. The district cites the discovery of “substandard construction” on campus that must be fixed; water intrusion and dry rot that must be addressed; the discovery of mold caused by that water intrusion; improvements to ADA access required by the state; the installation of a new fire alarm panel because the old one was no longer working reliably; and the need to extend the project timeline to address all of these issues. See the staff report and resolution.

FULL AGENDA PACKET ONLINE If you don’t want to miss anything on the agenda, check out the full packet online here.


The next school board meeting is scheduled for Sept. 30. Read past Berkeleyside schools coverage.

Meeting details

The Berkeley Unified School District Board of Education generally meets twice monthly on Wednesdays at 2020 Bonar St. The entrance to the board chambers is around the corner on Addison Street. There is a large parking lot around the corner from Addison Street, on Browning Street.

Meetings are televised live on Berkeley Community Media channel 33, and rebroadcast the following Thursday at 9 a.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Meetings are also recorded for radio and played after the meeting on KPFB 89.3 FM. They are also streamed live, and posted online after the meeting.

Other BUSD-related videos are posted online at Vimeo.

Read more Berkeleyside coverage related to Berkeley schools.


Related:
Photo Gallery: First days back at school in Berkeley (09.04.15)
City Council seeks to move meetings to West Berkeley (09.02.15)
Berkeley’s 16 schools welcome students back for new year, Pasarow starts as BHS principal (09.02.15)
School Board primer: B-Tech review, council asks to move to Bonar, more (08.26.15)
Berkeley School Board primer: Harold Way, admissions and enrollment, the budget (05.20.15)
Students allege BUSD refused access to federal investigators over sexual harassment (05.15.15)
School Board primer: Budget priorities, facilities plan, sexual harassment, attendance (05.06.15)
School Board primer: Decision time for board on overcrowding (01.15.15)
School Board primer: Discussion of overcrowding solutions continues (12.10.14)
School Board primer: Soda tax panel, new personnel commissioner, recess restriction (11.19.14)

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