Truckee/Tahoe EL parent, school district officials discuss CA education board vote
March 9, 2010
TRUCKEE/TAHOE, Calif. and#8212; The school district this week could learn whether a complaint alleging a lack of communication over the past two years with English Learner parents will hold up more than $1 million in state funding.
The California State Board of Education meets Wednesday and Thursday in Sacramento, and among its action items on day one is to approve 2009-10 consolidated applications for state funding.
The Tahoe Truckee Unified School Districtand#8217;s application is in limbo, however, pending a ruling from the state board regarding the and#8220;uniform complaintand#8221; Truckee parents of English Learner students filed with the California Department of Education.
Superintendent Steve Jennings said he feels confident because the departmentand#8217;s recommendation to the board is to approve the districtand#8217;s application.
and#8220;Weand#8217;ve been meeting with the complainants and weand#8217;ve put together a letter that weand#8217;re going to present to the state board on what our plan is and what we hope to accomplish,and#8221; Jennings said.
Jennings and other district staff have met with Truckee EL parents recently, including on Monday.
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and#8220;What theyand#8217;ve done is really help to identify where weand#8217;re not connecting and where we need to be,and#8221; Jennings said.
Dave Curry, TTUSD director of educational services, said the districtand#8217;s communication with the District English Learner Advisory Committee is improving, and the district hopes to soon finalize a full communication plan.
and#8220;We had several meetings with the parents, and even though those meeting havenand#8217;t resulted in any concrete changes, were still continuing to work with them and find ways we can come to agreement,and#8221; Curry said.
Maria Herrera, one of the complainants and president of Truckee DELAC, said both sides have not been able to make significant progress.
and#8220;Honestly, the meetings havenand#8217;t been that good,and#8221; Herrera said. and#8220;We haven’t made much progress with the district, and we want them to respect the rights with parents in making decisions for their children.and#8221;
Herrera declined to comment whether or not she is in favor or against the state approving the districtand#8217;s application and said she would comment after the meeting had taken place. The state board of education meets Wednesday at 1430 N Street, Room 1101, in Sacramento.
According to published reports, parents filed the complaint because they feel the district had not provided them sufficient communication, or allowed them sufficient input, in the design of things such as its EL Master Plan and the EL waiver program.
In a previous interview, Jennings said the district hired an outside investigator who completed a report to CDE substantiating the districtand#8217;s claim to providing communication to the parents. Since then, Truckee parents appealed to the CDE for further investigation.
The state board is expected vote on the item Wednesday; should board members rule TTUSD to be out of compliance with state regulations, it could hold up the more than $1 million sought by filing the consolidated application.
That possibility led the district in late January to announce it would lay off as many as 22 teachers to cover the shortfall. Jennings has repeatedly said since the announcement the layoffs are and#8220;very, very unlikely.and#8221;
District trustees on Wednesday, Feb. 25, agreed no teachers would be let go, saying the district can tap into its reserve fund account and#8212; now at 16 percent and#8212; if necessary to avoid layoffs.
and#8220;We have had some real positive meetings with the parents whoand#8217;ve filed the complaint … weand#8217;re looking for continued progress,and#8221; Jennings said at the March 3 district board meeting.