Superintendent Message – Board Meeting November 12, 2019

  • Welcome to our only Board Meeting in November.
  • Lots of kudos and ovations for students and staff:
  • During my Listening Tour at CPH, teacher librarian Sylvia McBride, invited me to walk through the Spanish classes display of student altars for Dia de los Muertos and a large altar created by the MECHa Club with advisor Rosario Medina! Thank you teachers Elizabeth Gastelum and Gilberto Benitez. While I am sharing other achievements and accomplishments, I will be playing a slideshow of Computer Art teacher Daniel Pearson’s students’ Sugar Skull illustrations via computer art. The students are part of the Science Innovation Academy and their art pieces are all very amazing!
  • There was another really nice feature article in the October 30th UT on HH student athlete, Javin Deanda, who is a senior on their Football team. The opening sentence of the article says it all, “In today’s instant-gratification, microwave society – where football players (especially quarterbacks) become impatient and transfer if they’re not starting by their sophomore season — Javin Deanda stands out.” Javin has worked hard and persisted. He waited his turn and now as a senior has lead the way to a winning season! Congratulations Javin and Coach Drew Westling!
  • Here are the results of the Middle School Athletics Fall Sports
  • Cross-Country
  • Girl’s Team Champion – Eastlake MS
  • Boy’s Team Champion – Eastlake MS
  • Individual Champions
  • 7th Grade Girl:    Capri Molina, Rancho Del Rey
  • 7th Grade Boy:    Grifiths Kohner, Eastlake MS
  • 8th Grade Girl:    Galia Salazar, Eastlake MS
  • 8th Grade Boy:    Omar Aguilar, Rancho Del Rey
  • Flag Football
  • Metro Division   –  Eastlake MS
  • Softball
  • Metro Division  –  Rancho Del Rey
  • Baseball
  • Metro Division  –  Montgomery MS
  • We had record number of both team and individual participation.
  • Cross Country    –   over 250 participants
  • Flag Football      –    17 teams
  • Baseball              –    15 teams
  • Softball               –     15 teams
  • Cheer                  –     225 camp participants, 13 teams
  • The 5th Annual Game of Throws on Nov. 2nd  became more of a showcase. Here are the showcase winners:
  • Division I: San Ysidro HS coached by teacher Daniel Salomon
  • Division II: Eastlake MS coached by teacher Kurt Ulle; BVM coached by teachers Brian Dougherty and Bryan Kumabe
  • Open Division: East Hills Academy coached/supported by EHA staff Daria Stone, Jason Sumner-LaRussa, Richard Ojeda, Jae Kim.
  • We are in the height of the season for robotics competitions. On Nov. 9/10, ELM hosted a FIRST LEGO Qualifying Tournament for elementary schools – ELH TitanBot students helped organize and referee.
  • Nov. 9 – MOH hosted its 3rd Annual San Diego VEX Robotics Competition for middle schools. RDR Royal Robotics Team 6446A and Team 6446B are the tournament Champions. That win puts them on track for the California State VEX Championships and also the World VEX Championships. Good Luck Coach Kirk Braito and the Royal Robotics team!
  • Speaking of the robotics program…we know there are many positive outcomes when students participate. I was talking with ORH teacher/robotics coach Chad Pearson and he shared the following information on some of his former robotics students and what they’re doing now:
  • Adrian Meza – Class of 2015 Currently at MIT student / Internship at JPL-Nasa with Satellite development.
  • Steven Salazar – Class of 2014 – USCD Jacobs School of Engineering Graduate Mechanical Engineering. Projects include private sector development of Lunar Rovers
  • Hector David Murguia – Class of 2016 – UCSD Electrical engineering student with three Published papers co-written with UCSD and MIT professors. Currently in Italy presenting most recent findings at a lecture.
  • Kimmy Walker – Class of 2015 – Graduating Class of 2019 West Point Military Academy.
  • Kenneth Gervacio – Class of 2015 – 2019 SDSU Graduate Construction Engineering – Currently Safety Service Coordinator for LAZ MCS North Project valued at $1.6 Billion`.
  • Jack Griffin – Class of 2018 – USCD Jacobs School Mechanical Engineering student – Triton Robosub Build and Design Team member
  • LeAnn Mendoza- class of 2015 – UCSD BioEngineering Graduate Student – Research UCSD Shirley Eye Institute. Machine Learning / Deep Learning in Ophthalmology.
  • Janella Pizarro- class of 2013- Google software engineer working with sustainability issues.
  • Dr. Leo Ulloa, STEAM Coordinator for SUHSD was selected by the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) as the lead for the DoDEA Southwest Region VII. Dr. Ulloa will be coordinating professional development activities for all military-connected grantees in Region VII (AZ, CA, HI, NV, UT). Just as a reminder SUHSD is the recipient of a 5-year DoDEA grant that includes ELM, RDR, OLY with the goal of improving student math performance at the middle schools and increase AP STEM participation and success at OLH.
  • BVH 11th grader Derek Czapek will be attending the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Climate in Crisis Conference on Dec. 3rd at the Salk Institute where former VP Al Gore will be the featured speaker. Derek’s question, “What steps can we take to depoliticize crucial climate change dialogue and solutions?”  was selected for submission to the moderator at the conference.  Congratulations to Derek and his teacher Jennifer Ekstein.
  • Our schools have been scoring high marks in band and color guard competitions recently. CVH under Band Director Patrick Doerr has won 3 sweepstakes/caption awards, 18 1st place awards and 16 2nd Place awards by CVH, ORH- Director Shafer Burnett, BVH – Director Mark McCann, OLH – Director Eric Mabrey, ELH – Director Randy McCray, CPH – Director Rich Kellis. Congratulations to all! More amazing accomplishments by students and staff!
  • Congratulations to Debbie Nevin, CVH SCPA Coordinator, for being selected as this year’s Outstanding Administrator Award by the California Music Educator Association!
  • I finished my 23rd  day of my Listening Tour last week. Both certificated and classified staff have taken time to share ideas on how we can improve as a district as well as many of the excellent programs and services we offer our students every day. During my listening tour I have been asked about the number of days administrators are taking for furloughs and also the number of administrators, so I wanted to share this chart of the number of management positions and management furlough days in 2018-19 and 2019-20:
  • The information in the chart above shows the total number of management positions in the district last year (2018-19) compared to this year (2019-20). You’ll notice that we have a reduction from 193 positions to 172 positions. Sixteen (16) of the positions were eliminated from the district office (reduction of 30%) and five (5) positions were eliminated from school sites (reduction of 3%).
    • Great news – we received a letter from SDCOE on Nov. 8th that approved our Oct. 8 revised 2019-2020 Budget. We are happy to get the approval; however, we still have work to do to address the three big impacts of ongoing budget challenges for Sweetwater.  At the last Board meeting I talked about the impact of declining enrollment.
    • Tonight, I want talk about state costs that relate to pension requirements and contributions. Sweetwater and all districts are required to participate in the State managed pension programs for its employees. Certificated employees (teachers, certificated administrators, counselors) participate in the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) and classified employees (non-teaching) participate in Public Employees Retirement System (PERS). Rate increases for STRS is legislated by the State and increases for PERS is governed by its own Board of Directors. Changes for STRS must be legislated and PERS is able to change rates with their own Board’s approval.
    • In 2014, AB 1469 was voted into legislation because there was a funding gap for the pension fund, and as a means to stabilize funding before the pension fund went broke. AB 1469 created a plan to fully fund the CalSTRS Defined Benefit Program by 2046 through hefty increases to employers, employees, and State contributions. Although the rate increases phase in over a number of years, employers immediately felt the effects of the increases starting in the 2014-15 school year. Employer contributions prior to July 2014 were 8.25%. These rates are increasing each year, over seven years, to 19.1%. Employee contribution rates also increased from 8% to either 9.2% or 10.25% depending upon an employee’s start date and years of service. State rates also increased from 3 % to 6.3%. Here are the rates for STRS/PERS by year along with the actual costs for our district :
    • You can see by the chart that Sweetwater costs associated with STRS/PERS increased from $41.1M in 2015-15 to $65.3M in this current year 2019-20. Overall, the added funds districts received through LCFF are being offset by the sharp increases districts are required to pay into pension accounts.
      • As a result, districts across the state are approving budgets with “deficit spending,” meaning they are spending more money than they are receiving from the state. School Services of California, which advises more than four-fifths of the districts in the state, is on record saying that all districts they advise will be in deficit spending by 2020-21. Even with Governor Newsom’s reduction of the employer’s contributions in 2019-20 school year by approximately 1%, the increased pension costs combined with leveled LCFF funding results in decreased resources for districts.
      • At December’s meeting, I will share the third ongoing challenge to our budget development.
      • I want to end tonight with some advice about excellence from Tom Morris, one of the world’s top public philosophers and pioneering business thinkers. Traveling the globe working with world-class business executives, athletes, coaches, administrators, and entrepreneurs, Mr. Morris realizes everyone wanted to know how to succeed in any challenge. Here is what he calls The 7 Cs of Success:
      1. A clear CONCEPTION of what we want, a vivid vision, a goal clearly imagined.
      2. A strong CONFIDENCE that we can attain that goal.
      3. A focused CONCENTRATION on what it takes to reach our goal.
      4. A stubborn CONSISTENCY in pursuing our vision.
      5. An emotional COMMITMENT to the importance of what we’re doing.
      6. A good CHARACTER to guide us and keep us on a proper course.
      7. A CAPACITY TO ENJOY the process along the way.

      Tom Morris said above all we should focus on what we can control! Great advice for all of us!

      • Thank you for your support and collaboration!
  • LCAP_Goal_3_Update_PPT_ Nov 2019 – PDF
  • Project_Labor_Agreement_PPT – PDF