Antioch School Board approves construction of final project at Antioch High during shelter in place

Hold first ever online, virtual meeting

By Allen Payton

The Antioch Unified School District Board of Trustees held their first virtual, online meeting on Wednesday, April 8, 2020 due to the coronavirus/COVID-19-related shelter in place. It was a “light agenda” as Board President Diane Gibson-Grey explained, due to the long-distance learning by all the students in the district. (See the complete agenda, here) (Watch the meeting on their YouTube channel)

They approved allowing construction on the final work on Antioch High School from the Measure B bond funds. The board also approved the School Plan for Student Achievement Second Interim Report dealing with the district’s finances.

During discussion of items pulled from the Consent calendar, Trustee Crystal Sawyer-White asked about a contract with Learned and Associates, to complete work (Agenda Item 9.O.) and a possible conflict of interest, since the owner, Chris Learned used to work for the district.

The $50,000 consulting services contract includes:

  • Representing the District with the completion of the 400 wing project at Antioch High School,
  • Representing the District with remediation work on the Administration/Library Building at Antioch High School,
  • Assisting the District with developing, implementing, and providing construction management for the recent $10.7 million bond sale,
  • Representing the District on project closeout to assure final DSA approval, and
  • Providing the District assistance on the sale of surplus property.

“Our director of facilities recently left the district,” Deputy Superintendent Jessica Romeo said. “There is still some work to be done. Mr. Learned knows our district and does know construction. So, I reached out to him to see if he could help us.”

“I noticed his company is located in Nevada. Is there someone else locally we could hire?” Sawyer-White asked.

“I didn’t go out to bid on this because I know Mr. Learned would be coming down, here to work on this.” Romeo said.

The item passed 4-1 with Sawyer-White voting no.

On agenda item 9.P., an increase in an existing agreement with Marzano Resources for professional development by $1,500, Sawyer-White had some concerns.

“I researched this particular bidder and he’s located out of state,” she stated. “Due to COVID-19 I would think this is on hold.

“This is for next year, actually it’s continued work. We have been working with Marzano this year and last. This is actually for next year. We just needed to bring back an addendum to it,” Romeo responded. “It’s for professional development both for teachers and administrators. It goes through 2021. If there is some reason we can’t do the August 3rd date we won’t be charged for it and it will be held at a later date.”

Trustee Ellie Householder had an issue with the matter, as well.

“I just want to let folks know I’m going to be voting no on this,” she said. “Before the shelter in place…I was in touch with the superintendent for an expenditure report for LCAP funds. It was going to be an item for discussion on the agenda for the meeting that was cancelled. I know it’s not of utmost important, right now. I don’t feel comfortable voting on anything with LCAP funds until I get the expenditure report.”

The item was approved 4-1 with Householder voting no.

Approved School Plan for Student Achievement at Three Schools

Also, on the agenda was a report on the 2019-2020 School Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA) Second Interim Report.

According to the staff report, each district school shall establish a school site council to develop, approve, and annually review and update an SPSA for schools that participate in state and federal categorical programs. The Board shall…review and approve each school’s SPSA.

Each of the following schools participate in a federal categorical program(s) and are designated as schoolwide programs (SWP).  SWP schools are not required to identify specific students as eligible to participate in programming, nor are they required to ensure that Title I services are supplementary.  This flexibility allows schools to maximize the impact of federal investment in support of all students that align with school and district goals outlined in the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP).  Staff has reviewed the plans to ensure that funding is used appropriately to support student achievement as required by California Education Code.

Plans for following schools were approved by their elected School Site Councils and are attached for your approval: Marsh Elementary School, Mno Grant Elementary School and Live Oak High School

The SPSAs were originally Board approved in May 2019.  The original plans did not include Title I carryover funds that were released for allocation in November 2019.  These updated plans simply reflect changes to include allocations with carryover funds.

In response to a question by Householder about the impact the shelter in place would have on the district’s finances, Romeo explained, that the state’s “advice, right now is to be as cautious as possible, regarding spending. We expected the COLA (Cost Of Living Adjustment) to go down. With the unemployment rate I expect that COLA to go down further.”

Sawyer-White also asked about the impact.

Romeo mentioned funds from the federal stimulus that will help the district.

“To be prepared for the distance learning, I think we need to consider laptops, Chrome books. Are we going to consider going more 21st Century?” Sawyer-White asked.

“A lot of our textbook publishers we work with are going to be publishing digital books,” said Associate Superintendent Christine Ibanez. “Long term…we will have more capability of digital learning and blended learning model.”

“If we can find some silver lining in all this, this is one of them,” she continued. “This has given us the opportunity to expand and explore those options.”

The motion passed 5-0.

Approved Allowing Construction at Antioch High During Shelter in Place

The only other major agenda item, that required immediate action, was item 13A – Resolution No. 2019-20-38 Designating Certain District Construction Projects as an Essential Governmental Function and Delegating Authority for the Superintendent or her Designee to Make Such Determinations on Such Construction Projects as are Necessary to Comply with State and Local Health & Safety Orders Issued in Response to COVID-19.

Deputy Superintendent Romeo explained, “under the shelter in place in Contra Costa County there is an exception for construction. The project for the 400 Wing was well on its way. I spoke with the general contractor, and they have stringent social distancing practices in place.”

Householder wanted to add a provision that the resolution remain in place until the shelter in place is lifted.

“The resolution would only be until the shelter in place is lifted,” Romeo explained. “That would be fine. It does it anyway. But that would be fine to put it in place.”

Gibson-Gray seconded the motion for discussion.

“Is this the final project for Antioch High School?” asked Sawyer-White. “This has been going on since I was elected.”

“This is the final project…the end of the Measure B money,” Romeo explained.

The motion failed on a 2-3 vote, with Gibson-Gray, and Trustees Mary Rocha and Gary Hack dissenting.

“I would ask the board if there is a motion to approve the resolution,” Romeo stated.

Gibson-Gray then made a new motion without the provision Householder wanted. It passed 5-0.

“Thank you to Trustee Hack for reminding me of my job. Since I was elected it’s been a state of chaos,” Gibson-Gray said.

“If you have items for the agenda, please email those to either me or Superintendent Anello,” Gibson-Gray then said.

But Sawyer-White wanted to propose one related to the COVID-19 situation, during the meeting.

“Some of the parents are asking, they’re online, now,” Sawyer-White said.

“If it’s an essential item, go ahead,” said Gibson-Gray.

“I’m concerned about the safety of staff. There’s a non-profit willing to donate gear,” Sawyer-White said.

“I’m going to step in here,” said Gibson-Gray. “Future agenda items are supposed to be one sentence.”

“Protective gear. I’m concerned,” Sawyer-White responded.

“We can put it as an item for discussion then the board gives direction for staff,” Anello said.

“OK. Thank you,” Sawyer-White said.

“Does the board want to put it on a future agenda?” Gibson-Gray asked.

“Yes,” Sawyer-White responded.

Rocha asked whether it was something staff could handle.

“I just want to caution the board, you can’t discuss whether we want something on the agenda or not,” Anello said.

“We will place it on a future agenda,” Gibson-Gray then said in response.

The board then adjourned the meeting on a 5-0 vote at 8:00 p.m.


No Comments so far.

Leave a Reply