Berkeley School Board primer: Soda tax panel, new personnel commissioner, recess restriction

The Berkeley School Board, at its August meeting. Photo: Mark Coplan/BUSD
The Berkeley School Board at an August 2014 meeting. Photo: Mark Coplan/BUSD

The Berkeley schools Board of Education meets tonight (Wednesday, Nov. 19) for a closed session at 6 p.m., followed by its regular meeting at 7:30 p.m.  Follow along via the Nov. 19 agenda packet.

The board will vote on a recess restriction policy, appoint a new member of the BUSD Personnel Commission, and nominate candidates for the city’s new advisory panel on spending the Measure D “soda tax.”

Closed session

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. with a closed session to discuss anticipated litigation, a settlement agreement with an employee, collective bargaining and a student expulsion. Also, the board will meet with a Berkeley police representative and the Dean of Discipline at Berkeley High School to talk about campus security. Public comment, up to 15 minutes, will be taken prior to the closed session.

Action items

The board is expected to pass a new policy on restricting recess (p. 37). This item is currently on the consent agenda (for automatic approval), but board president Josh Daniels said it is likely to be moved off the consent agenda to allow for discussion. At least a dozen parents attended the last board meeting to protest the policy.


A public hearing will be held at 9:30 p.m. (or later) for the board to appoint a new member of the BUSD Personnel Commission: Dr. Reynaldo Ortiz, an educator and resident of Berkeley, for a two-year term. (p. 40) The commission oversees many decisions regarding classified staff (secretaries, bus drivers, etc.) The three-person commission also includes a BCCE union-appointed representative. The third commissioner is appointed by the first two.

The board is nominating four or more people to the city’s panel for spending “soda tax” funds (p. 42): three gardening instructors, Daria Wrubel, Carrie Fehr (former), and Matt Tsang, as well as a school parent, Marian Mabel. Other nominees may be added at the meeting, Daniels said.

Discussion items

The board will also hear a presentation on the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP), followed by a 45-minute discussion (p. 44). Finally, the board will do a self-evaluation for 2014, budgeted for one hour (p. 73).

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. See the schedule and agendas here.

Meetings are televised on Berkeley Community Media and re-broadcast the following Thursday morning at 9 a.m. and the following Sunday at 2 p.m. Meetings are also recorded for radio and played after the meeting on KPFB 89.3 FM.

Board videos are posted online at Vimeo several days after the meetings.

Read more Berkeleyside coverage related to Berkeley schools.

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