Opposition was expressed during last week’s Siskiyou Union High School District board of trustees meeting to the California bill that gives transgender students the right to compete on sports teams and use facilities such as locker rooms and bathrooms based on their gender identity.

Opposition was expressed during last week’s Siskiyou Union High School District board of trustees meeting to the California bill that gives transgender students the right to compete on sports teams and use facilities such as locker rooms and bathrooms based on their gender identity.

Weed resident Reverend Bill Hofer asked trustees Gregg Gunkel, John Hines, Sue Tavalero, Lori Harch, Jana Blevins and Jay Clark (via videoconference from Happy Camp) to write letters to local legislators opposing AB 1266, which was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on Aug. 12. Trustee Margaret DeBortoli was absent.

Also during the Sept. 11 meeting at Mount Shasta High School, trustees approved agreements with the Teacher’s Association bargaining unit, including a three percent raise over two years and full implementation of the district’s new leadership structure.

Trustees heard encouraging news about opening enrollment numbers. SUHSD started the school year with more students than anticipated: 613, as compared to last year’s ending enrollment of 561.

“That’s a pretty dramatic jump,” said superintendent Mike Matheson.

Mount Shasta High School began the year with 331 students, 63 more than they started with last year. Some of the new students came from out of the area, and five are from Golden Eagle Charter School, said principal Jennifer McKinnon. The unexpected increase will bring a small amount of additional ADA revenue to the school, Matheson said.

In Weed, Matheson said they are seeing new families but new students are generally offsetting losses of other families who are moving out.

Across the district, about 50 students are enrolled in the Siskiyou Pathways independent study classes, and the program has continued to grow since its implementation three years ago.

Transgender bill

AB 1266 amends the education code relating to pupil’s rights and has been dubbed by some as the “School Bathroom Bill.” It will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014.

According to the text of the legislation, the law is meant to give transgender students equal rights to school programs and facilities, regardless of their birth gender.

Those opposed to the law believe it will force coed locker rooms and that it infringes on the privacy of other students.

Hofer spoke against the bill and then handed Matheson a Notice of Reasonable Expectation of Privacy, which states that he does not waive the “constitutional and statutory privacy rights” of his child while on campus.

He asked trustees to write letters opposing the bill to Assemblyman Brian Dahle and Senator Jim Nielsen.

Also speaking in support of Hofer’s idea were Steve Hart and Chris Hatler and Richard Kliewer, who asked the board to keep coed PE teachers in mind and to support their work.

Several others attended the meeting but either did not speak on the topic or did not state their names for the record.

Matheson said the board will take this month to research and discuss the subject with their legal consultant to discover what the district’s responsibilities are and how to handle the new law.

The topic will be included in an information session during the board’s next meeting, scheduled for Oct. 9 in Weed. At that time, the board will decide how to proceed, said Matheson.

Teacher raises

Matheson said it “feels great to start the year with a settlement” with district teachers, and he looks forward to talking with the classified unit on Sept. 23 to finalize details of their contracts.

The teachers will receive a three percent raise over two years, including a retroactive raise of two percent from 2012-2013 and a one percent raise for the 2013-2014 school year.