School Board Meeting Roundup, By: Suzanne LaBarre

Friday March 17, 2006

At Wednesday’s regularly scheduled Berkeley Board of Education meeting, directors approved: 

• The second year interim report on district finances. The district expects to earn a “positive” certification, meaning the budget can meet its fiscal obligations. Board President Terry Doran pointed out that the district has received positive certifications for each of the last three rounds of financial reporting.  

• The Five-Year Deferred Maintenance Plan, which outlines facilities improvements the district will undertake with monies from the state’s deferred maintenance fund, a matching fund. Projects the district will embark upon in the 2006-2007 school year include painting and flooring at Emerson Elementary School and replacing roofing for administration at Willard Middle School. 

• The 2006 Facilities Master Plan. The first comprehensive plan since 2005 corrals budgets, scheduling and accounting information for all current and future facilities projects. The document highlights several projects likely to pose challenges in the coming year. Among them: finalizing plans for the West Campus, which will be used as the district’s central administrative facility, finalizing development of the East Campus (see articl, Page One), gaining approval for a new transportation facility, and resolving planning issues for the district’s various child development sites, namely assessing how many children will use the facilities in years to come. 

• Several education policies. The board gave final approval of a modified high school exit exam policy, thus allowing students who have not yet passed the exit exam to walk on graduation day with their peers. Directors also revised high school graduation requirements, approved details of the annual Standardized Testing and Reporting Program (STAR) and adopted Student Study Team academic intervention policy. 

The board also heard a report on a special education model called “Learning Center” that will be recommended for districtwide implementation. Cragmont Elementary School and Willard Middle School are currently piloting the model, which gives students with special needs access to general education in addition to special education services. 

—Suzanne La Barre