Schools Committee

The SR Schools Committee (SRSC) hosted a community meeting on Oct. 25 in the Community room of the SR Library to hear the latest update from the SD Unified School District concerning the expanded EIR being done on four properties under consideration to accommodate the new, larger middle school for the SR cluster. The SRSC also presented the report of a special SRSC subcommittee, chaired by Jeff Tirschfield, outlining some smaller school alternatives to the District’s proposal to build one large middle school for all SR cluster 6-8 graders. District staff reported that, although each of the properties being considered had issues to be mitigated, they are hopeful that one of the properties will be chosen as acceptable for the new middle school. The new Draft EIR (DEIR) will be released for the mandatory 45-day public comment period around November 16. Copies of the DEIR will be available at the SR Library and the Information Center located on Cypress Canyon Rd. For your convenience, you can access the DEIR online through a link provided by the SRCA on their website, www.scrippsranch.org. You will not be able to access the technical appendices, (maps, etc.), online, but will be able to read the document. District staff members are urging all residents to review the DEIR and send their comments to the District prior to the end of the comment period. This is an opportunity for you to take part in the process of establishing the best learning environment we can for SR students. The address to send your response is included in the DEIR document.

The SRSC special subcommittee report on smaller school alternatives can also be accessed on the SRCA website or picked up at the SR Library and the Information Center. Included is the text of the alternative proposals and the response from District staff to specific questions concerning District policy and procedure governing new school construction. The SRSC is very interested in hearing your comments on this issue. If you were unaware of the Oct. 25 meeting or were unable to attend, please take a minute to read the information and send your comments to Janet Dray at [email protected] or Karen Wood at [email protected]

On Nov. 14, the SRSC hosted another community meeting to introduce the community to the idea of a common school calendar (modified traditional or modified year-round) for all SR schools (elementary, middle and high school), and the idea of a later bell time for our secondary schools. A presentation was made by SRSC special subcommittee co-Chairs, Joyce Berzle and Denise Ouellette, on the research, and on similar programs that are currently in place. The purpose of this meeting was to gauge initial community response to the two ideas. The opinions and concerns of the community members present (100+) ran the gamut from pro to con. Several parents of high school students, and at least one student, spoke in opposition of a modified year-round calendar. Dave LeMay, SRHS Principal, reported that after initial school-wide discussions on these issues, a survey of all departments at the high school indicated similar opposition from most faculty members, for a variety of reasons. Several parents of primarily elementary and middle school students spoke in favor of both of the ideas. Residents were encouraged to write their comments/opinions on comment papers, collected at the end of the meeting.

For those residents who were unable to attend the meeting, all pertinent materials handed out at the meeting will be posted on the SRCA website throughout the month of December and into mid-January. These materials will also be available at the SR Library and the Information Center. The SRSC encourages all residents whose children attend or will be attending SR public schools to read the material and send their comments and opinions to the special subcommittee co-Chairs. After collection of all comments, the SRSC will make a recommendation to the SD Unified School District, based on the opinions of all interested community members, whether or not the community wishes to pursue development and implementation of a pilot program involving a common calendar for the SR cluster and/or a later bell time for our secondary schools. Please be assured that no decisions have been made on these issues and none will be made without much further discussion within the District and, if a majority of interested community members indicate a desire to proceed, much further discussion and balloting within each SR school community.

The next scheduled meeting of the SRSC is Tuesday, Dec. 4, 4-6 pm, in the Seminar Room of the SR Library.