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BSUSD Board Meeting


Last updated 1/23/2020 at 1:47pm

The Borrego Springs Unified School District held their monthly board meeting Wednesday Dec. 18 in the community room at the high school, where members of the board, schools, and the community shared updates and statements.

The meeting began with elections of the board president, vice president and clerk. Steve Riehle was named board president, position previously held by Dr. Arie Korporaal. Vice president is now Korporaal, which was held by Steve Riehle, and Valeen Szabo remains as the board clerk.

Recognitions of ‘Students of the Month’ for the elementary, middle, and high school were presented by principal’s Sherrilynn Polanco and Victoria Baay, but not all students were present to be recognized.

Students of the Month for the elementary school were – Louie Ruelas, Canila Garcia, Aaron Rodriguez, Taylor Asche, Evan Thompson, Yerenia Torres, Ivan Garcia and Daniel Vilchez.

For the high school – Travis Asche, Christian Garcia, Victor Rodarte, Shantell Fuents, Mirella Torres, Kenneth Marsh, and Jordan Pena, were voted by their teachers as November’s Students of the Month.

After a brief break, the meeting began with a presentation of the bond sale from Jason List, who gave the good news of a successful sale. Because the board decided to move forward with the sell of the bond in two phases, it was much easier to proceed, and was bought by many large institutions around the country. He discussed the districts payments over the next 30 years, as well as how the sale negotiation process took place.

List notified the board that 90 days after the closing of the bond transaction, whatever money is leftover, will be returned to the district project fund. They will possibly get money back up to $7,000 sometime in February that can be used for future projects. The numbers they ended up with was much better than what they went into the bond with. Tax rates for residents will go up in 2021, but the number has not been determined yet, despite the bond being sold this year.

The meeting went on to approval of previous board meeting minutes, which were approved by the board. Reports of the various school sites, beginning with the charter school followed.

Kevin Ogde presented an update on what is going on with the charter school associated with the BSUSD. Around 50 students graduated in December.

He then presented a video to the board of one of their former graduates from the Lemon Grove site, Rudy Rivera. He went to UC San Diego on a full-time scholarship, and graduated this year. He is now hoping to attend Harvard to pursue a law degree.

Polanco followed with her report, where she discussed a few things that have happened and are happening at the elementary school.

They are holding their annual holiday sing along where over 200 students sing uplifting joyous songs. Jinny Perrin is coming back for another go-around, before music teacher Kimberly Tilton makes it her own next year and for the coming years.

They also had a district wide training in trauma informed training in schools to help with dealing students and certain behaviors and have better understanding. Report cards have also been sent out from the elementary school.

For Baay’s middle and high school report, she redirected things to teachers Heidi Schlotfeldt and Donna Hopkins who presented a new Language Arts curriculum adoption.

Schlotfeldt, Hopkins, and Dan Lowery, examined many ELA programs, and it was a unanimous decision to proceed with the Pearson’s Microspective Program. They listed various positives they found with the program. A few things were:

– Wide range of informational text

– High quality integral print programs

– High performance tasks, similar to CASP

– Ability to edit and change the goals to fit particular students or topics

–An interactive writing and research program

– Easily accessible for teachers and students

The next step is piloting this program, hopefully in the second semester, and hope to get things fully running at the start of the next school year.

Director of Business Services Laura Castro updated the board that an architect came to the school to view the areas where things will be installed. There were a couple of issues, such as the bathrooms at the elementary school being too small, so a wheelchair may not be able to turn in or out.

Castro’s last day was Dec. 13, but returned to finish her report. Her position is open until filled. Those interested can contact Monica Moore at the BSUSD.

Superintendent Mark Stevens added that this issue would be coming out more when they will be renovating various classrooms, as many are not handicap accessible.

Stevens then discussed his report, beginning with refining the numbers for the bond. They are trying to trim things as much as they can. For example, the Solar project is about $1.4 or $1.5 million, and hope to get things down to $1.2 million.

They are also starting on three projects – Solar, sewer for the high school, replacing the portables at the elementary school. The replacement of the portables is one of the cheapest projects, and this needs to be done prior to the Solar project.

He hopes to line these up for June, so once school is out, they get things going.

Stevens discussed the enrollment for each site, and said many students are coming back to the district.

Szabo suggested to the board that they should attend an interpretive class presented by the Borrego Village Association, and see what goes on during these classes for the students.

Korporaal asked what the status of the Outdoor Learning Center at the middle school. Baay said that there is a new environmental club, who is utilizing the building and are taking care of recyclables with Cathy Paredes, as well as working with the State Park on various projects.

The board also approved School-Community Liaison Martha Deichler to be the Community Representative for the Borrego Springs WaterMaster Board.

The board also approved the contract between the BSUSD and Fuentes’ Landscaping/Alberto Fuentes. They will be renewing the softball and baseball field, which will need major work before the season begins in the spring.

To close the meeting, the board approved the first interim report for 2019 – 20 that was presented by Castro.

The next scheduled board meeting will be 5 p.m. Wednesday Jan. 8 in the high school community room.

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