The Mount Shasta Union School District board of trustees discussed school security and how to fund it during their March 13 regular meeting.
After much discussion, the board decided to send a survey to parents asking what they would like to see the schools do to enhance security for their children and whether they would support a parcel tax.
The board also discussed the 2018-2019 school year calendar and gave accolades to students, staff and faculty.
The 2018-2019 school calendar matches spring break with the high school, Special Ed., and college. It also gives students Monday off after Easter, 2019. Spring break does not float with Easter.
The principals and board celebrated the students of the month, and read bios of each child written by their teacher or the individual child. Some of the children were excited and some were shy to have the bios read.
Deborah Randolph, Title 1 math coach, was acknowledged by principal Kale Riccomini for excellence in the classroom. She thanked them and said she could use more volunteers in her math classes to help students learn their times tables.
The board members also heard from representatives of staff and faculty on their contract negotiations. Board, staff and faculty were all happy with the way things had gone.
In the discussion of an ordinance that would place a 1,000 foot no gun zone around the schools, trustee John Duncan said a clarification would be needed in the ordinance to allow for the guns in homes nearby. Action will be taken on this item at the next meeting.
With regard to the school walkout, trustee Kay Scovill said that it would be a “learning experience for the students.”
She said she wants to involve the parents in giving input and not to “walk on anybody’s free speech.” She said some parents are scared to send their kids to school and kids are scared.
The students did walk out the following day. The receptionist said she thought about 30 students participated.
Duncan said the focus now on gun control ignores other problems that cause teen deaths. He said that “far more people are killed by drivers under the age of 21” and that many other teen deaths are due to drugs.
School security issues
The board then discussed school safety and how to fund it.
Results from the survey they agreed to send to parents will be presented to the board by Barnhart at the April meeting.
On the subject of school safety, Duncan said he would like the Mount Shasta Police Department to train their people in the protection of the schools. Scovill agreed.
“Something on the weekend, when the students aren’t here,” Scovill said, “to give them an idea of the layout of the school.”
Riccomini said the California Highway Patrol used to “walk around” the school grounds “some years ago,” but that it hasn’t been done in a while.
Turning to funding, Leslie Cole suggested writing the California School Boards Association to request funding for school safety.
Trustee Robert Winston said a personal letter would be preferable over an official one, and Superintendent/Principal Barry Barnhart said he would draft one.
The board then turned to considering funding the schools’ security by tax measure. The question of how to raise funds revolved around either passing a parcel tax on Mount Shasta properties or passing a bond measure. A bond is basically a loan.
Cole is not in favor of a bond measure, at least until the current one expires in 2020, she said.
The board saw a slide presentation by Isom Advisors to learn about passing a parcel tax.
If they decide to go that route, the tax measure would require a 2/3 approval by the town’s voters.
If approved by voters, the tax would bring in a stable amount for four years, said Barnhart. If the funds were still needed, the parcel tax would be placed on the ballot again.
Winston said, “My preference is a $49 per year parcel tax for school safety and security.”
Cole mentioned that the State of California has just passed a school bond measure.
“We need to throw a hat in the ring for some of that money,” she said.
Barnhart said that would be a matching funds scenario.