Outgoing school board’s final meeting | Community

The Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District (CRPUSD) Board of Trustees met on November 15, 2022. This was the final board meeting for the current Board of Trustees. For Board Chairperson Joe Cimino and trustee Chrissa Gillies this was their last meeting. Trustee Leffler Brown will return to start another 4-year term at the December 13, 2022, meeting. He will be joined by incoming trustee Cassandra Albaugh. The trustee seat for Area 4 remains vacant currently.

To be expected, thanks for their service was given to the departing trustees. Both Cimino and Gillies were given gift baskets in appreciation of their service. Both reflected on their four years of service, and Trustees Mark Nelson and Michelle Wing joined Brown with praise for both during their board reports at the end of the meeting. Brown said the “last four years were tough” but all five stood up and worked hard. Further, he said, “we’re on the right track.” Gillies in her remarks said the last four years were interesting before sharing her own reflections. Cimino said he appreciated the voters who put their trust in him and thanked his family for supporting him during his time on the board.

Superintendent Mayra Perez provided the board an “overview of the sixty-day procedure” to fill the board vacancy for Area 4. Area 4 is Cotati and the L-Section of Rohnert Park. Because there was a “Failure to elect” a trustee for Area 4, the board must take one of two actions within 60 days of the November 8, 2022, election. They can either make a provisional appointment or call for an election. The earliest an election can be called is “at least 130 days after the election is ordered.”

She said, due to the timing of the vacancy, the provisional appointment is the only method to fill the vacancy before the next available election. The next scheduled election for Sonoma County is March 7, 2023, which would be less than 130 days from the earliest an election could be ordered, so it isn’t feasible. After that, November 7, 2023, is the next available date. She stated that the county superintendent has already been informed of the intent to make a provisional appointment. She then outlined the steps required to make the appointment.

These steps include advertising the board vacancy in local media which has been done and will continue to be done. Then the applicants will be interviewed at a public meeting. Public input will be accepted either orally or in writing concerning the applicants. The incoming board of trustees will then select a provisional appointee by a majority vote. With four trustees, that means three trustees must agree on the appointment. The applications for interested candidates can be found on the district’s website at: https://www.crpusd.org.

Applicants must be 18 years of age or older, a California citizen, a resident of Trustee Area 4, a registered voter, and cannot be disqualified by the Constitution or laws of the state from holding a civil office. There is no specific timeline for interviewing candidates, but any discussion or deliberation must be in open session. Once a Provisional Appointment is made, Public Notice is required within 10 days and must be published in local newspapers and posted in at least three public areas within the district. The appointment becomes effective immediately and the appointee will sit on the board. A petition can be filed with the Office of the County Superintendent within 30 days of the appointment calling for a special election, however.

In other board news, after the board’s closed session, Cimino announced that “The resignation of Dr. LuzElena Perez has been accepted pursuant to a voluntary separation agreement.” Perez had been serving as the Assistant Superintendent for the district. Richard Crane Elementary School students, Bella Bakke, Luciano Gomez Silva, and Abigael Ambui made a presentation to the board on the school’s Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS) program. They also did the flag salute.

Alana DeMars, the Program Coordinator, Expanded Learning Program Manager presented the “After School Education & Safety (ASES) Program Plan Guide” to the board. It outlined the goals developed collaboratively between the district and the Sonoma County Family YMCA. The board unanimously approved the plan. Finally, Superintendent Perez presented the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) which is the state’s academic testing program. It covers the 2021-2022 school year, the first full year after distance learning. As expected, the scores declined due to learning loss and now the district is moving forward to make progress on closing that gap.

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