Deasy proposes hiring assistant Samo CEOHannah HeinemanMirror staff writerThe Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s Board of Education decided last Thursday not to make any changes in the school district’s 20-year master facilities planning process until it receives more information.The process to develop the long-range plan began in late January and it was supposed to conclude this summer, but Superintendent John Deasy recommended that the process be suspended because his expected departure in May to become the Superintendent of the Prince George County, Maryland School District will require the Board to focus on recruiting a new superintendent. In the Board‘s agenda, Deasy stated that the Board’s need to find his successor will make it “increasingly difficult for the Board of Education to exercise appropriate involvement and due diligence in the master facilities process which will involve community input. “Furthermore, continuation of the process once the new superintendent is in place will provide an invaluable opportunity for him/her to learn about the community, understand the issues regarding facilities and have the opportunity to provide input to a plan for which he/she will be responsible for executing.”Ad-hoc Facilities Committee co-chair Craig Hamilton presented three possible scenarios that his committee had discussed to the Board. The first would be to continue the process as planned, but according to Hamilton, the committee felt because of the Board’s need “to change [its] efforts in the coming months [to find a new Superintendent] that wouldn’t be prudent.” second, the Board could simply “stop the process” with the intent of starting later. Finally, the Board could “revise the process to elongate it” so the new Superintendent could be involved in it.Committee co-chair, Gleam Davis, explained that if the Board stopped the process now, “a lot of the momentum” that had already been achieved “would be lost.” The co-chairs both concluded that the committee favors elongating the process, though it could result in additional expense. To date, the process has cost $445,000, which includes the consultants, an initial meeting, one community workshop, a survey, two newsletters, making and distributing a DVD about the process and a facility assessment. The total cost for the process as approved by the Board was $1.2 million. Still to be completed are three community workshops.Board members supported their colleague Maria Leon-Vasquez’s suggestion that the March 25 workshop be held, and that the Board consider how the process should proceedafterwards, at its following meeting. The board asked that the District’s Chief Financial Officer Winston Braham bring them financial and legal data on the consultants’ contract for each of the scenarios proposed by the Ad-hoc Facilities Committee. In other business, the Board appointed Michael Mathews to be the District’s Interim Superintendent while the search for a new superintendent proceeds. Mathews is currently the District’s Chief of Staff. The teachers’ union had suggested his appointment. The Board scheduled an additional meeting for Thursday, March 9, at the District’s administrative headquarters in Santa Monica, in order to take up the four discussion items that were postponed last week so Board members and staff could attend a service for slain Santa Monica High School student Eduardo Lopez. One of the items to be discussed will be the creation of a new position, Assistant CEO of Student Life and Access at Samohi. In the Board agenda, Deasy recommended that position be created immediately “to respond to the needs of underrepresented youth and their families.” Responsibilities of this new official would include “student services, across the entire school (all six houses) including: access, community relations, external partners providing student support, direct support to students where appropriate, and the coordination and management of internal support services to Samohi.”
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