In-depth interview with superintendent Joe Koski
Part I: Construction & Measure H-12 and School Accountability
Editor’s Note: This interview was done a couple of weeks prior to the start of school and addresses a number of topics of interest including Common Core Implementation, Math acceleration, School Accountability, Construction and Measure H-12, and how Budget Recovery is being implemented. The topics will be published in segments, starting with Construction & Measure H-12 along with the Local Control Accountability Plan in this edition.
Construction & Measure H-12
Soaring Eagle Press (SEP) – Let’s talk about construction!
Templeton Superintendent Joe Koski – Well, we have been busy and are going to be busier still – I’m happy to say that the middle school project – where we replaced the first six of our outdated portable classrooms is on pace – students are due to arrive in about 10 short days – the classrooms are going to be finished and the teachers are going to be able to move in.
We also have a new parking and drive/drop-off arrangement at the southern end of the middle school campus – it’s now a one way only – so you enter at what would be the most southern part on Old County Road and go north to exit back on to Old County Road – turning right or left out of that driveway.
SEP – Will folks still be able to use the original turn-in?
Koski – Yes – that pick-up and drop off is unchanged.
SEP – What is the school district currently working on?
Koski – We are in the midst of designing Templeton High School as well – that’s likely going
to be about a $15M renovation – lots of new classrooms and eating spaces for new students –
there is likely going to be a state bond that will be on the ballot in 2014 – if that should pass, then
Templeton is eligible for about another $30M to coincide with the $35M that we have from Measure H-12.
If we should be fortunate enough for the State of CA to pass that bond, we would probably see the high school project move from a $15M project to a $25M project – and allow us to do some of the extra things that we want to do.
SEP – How can folks learn more about these projects?
Koski – I do want to make sure that everybody knows that we have a very important community forum coming up Sept. 9 from 6 to 7:30 pm at the VES Multi-Purpose Room – the same content will be covered the very next morning – Sept. 10 from 7 to 8:30 am – and that is held at our training center which is at 950 Old County Road – it’s one of the buildings in the district office parking lot – what is known as the school board room.
There will be three topics on our community forum – the first one is – we’re talking about our proposal to develop the land that’s next to Vineyard Elementary School – between the Dog Park and Vineyard Elementary School – we also have been looking at developing a solar project – and so we want to tell the community about that at its earliest stages so that we can get – not only some feedback – but for that [the solar project] what I’m looking for is for the community to tell us – frankly – what kind of homework they expect us to do before we would make a decision about whether we would use H-12 dollars for a solar project.
And then finally – and I think most importantly – since Measure H-12 was advertised for – and I think supported by the community – because it’s primary focus was to replace and update our portable classrooms – I want to show the community classroom by classroom how we intend to use Measure H-12 dollars to replace all of the portable classrooms that we currently have.
SEP – Anything else you’d like to share on construction and Measure H-12?
Koski – It’s been – seems like short years – they’ve certainly gone quickly – we’ve done a lot of planning – we’ve done a lot of thinking – frankly – we’ve had some trial and error – some things that we thought would work for us – without spending any money thru the planning process – we realized they wouldn’t work for us – but the community should expect to see some real evidence that those dollars are being invested in improving our facilities over the next two to three years – as they will see at the Middle School and Templeton Elementary School at the beginning of this school year
Local Control & Accountability
Koski – I think that an area that is always important for an effective school system – since we’re in a state of flux and change now – CA changed how they’re funding schools – they’ve put a new accountability system in place – we have a document we have to fill out every year that’s called the Local Control Accountability Plan – so community and parent involvement is going to be more critical over the next three to four years in Templeton than I think it has been for probably 15 or 20 years.
I really encourage parents and community members – even if you do not have children who attend our schools or they never attended – schools are an asset for a community – and the more involved the community is, the better the schools are – so it’s kind of a win-win situation.
So I would ask people to please attend board meetings – they happen the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of pretty much every month – you can go to the [school district] website and find out exactly what date and time it is for every single month – we also have a committee that we’re going to be starting in September – it’s primary purpose is to develop that local control accountability plan – LCAP is what it’s called if you hear about it on the news – we need parents and community members to be on that committee – you don’t have to have children in our school district to be involved or to help up make wise decisions or to be part of these committees.
I also am going to have – in addition to those forums that are on September 9th and 10th – three or four more forums throughout the year – the topics will vary – it might be on technology – it might be about instruction – might be about safety – but please look for those – and I encourage the community to come and give us feedback.
A very important document is going to be available on our website in about 2 to 3 weeks – it’s a survey about traffic that is going out and available to anybody in the community – we want to figure out how we can best mitigate the traffic that’s on Old County Road, Vineyard Drive, and Main Street – near the beginning and the end of all of our school days.
We have lots of ideas about what we should do – but we want to get community feedback and help us prioritize those ideas.
And then finally – my door is always open – my email is on the [school district] website – love to hear from the community – questions – concerns – and great things about the school system is wonderful to hear as well