School Board Votes on Pre-K Centers, Arts Magnet Schedule

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Tuesday March 27, 2007

The Berkeley Board of Education will vote on Wednesday on hiring an architect to design the Berkeley Unified School District’s pre-kindergarten projects. 

BUSD currently has three pre-kindergartens—located at King Child Development Center (CDC), Hopkins CDC and Franklin Para Nursery on Fourth Street—which need to be remodeled, said school district spokesperson Mark Coplan. 

“The design team will help to modernize the schools and bring them up to date with the current pre-school model,” he said. 

The board will also approve advertisements to solicit bids for the King dining equipment; modernization of the King Gym; heating, ventilation and air conditioning at Oxford and Berkeley Arts Magnet (BAM) Elementary schools and Jefferson kitchen phase II. 

The King Gym modernization project is part of BUSD’s Long Range Development Plan. The campus itself was recently remodeled for $20 million. 


Grade 6 elimination at BAM 

The board will vote on eliminating grade six from Berkeley Arts Magnet. At the March 16 school board meeting, the board discussed in detail the possibility of an elimination. BAM is the only elementary school in the district which offers a sixth grade. 

Although 50 students are enrolled in fifth grade at BAM, only six have requested to stay at BAM for the sixth grade. 


Peanut Policy 

The board will also hear the policy on allergies to peanuts. Currently, BUSD does not serve peanuts in its food, said Coplan. 

“Berkeley High might be an exception, but even then the nuts are identified. Children in high school are more aware of what they are allergic to than at the elementary or middle school levels.” The new policy, he said, would enforce the practice of not serving peanuts at the elementary school level and identifying food items that include peanuts at the high school level. 


Grant approval 

The board will approve the Adult Education Grant which consists of the Workforce Investment Act, Adult Education and Family Literacy funds. They will also approve the participation in the NSF Grant on Teaching Energy in grade 4-8 Science, the 21st Century Grants—which provide funds for after-school programs—and the Neil Soto Grant which provides funds for parent/teacher involvement. 


Public hearing on deferred Maintenance Plan 

The board will hold a public hearing on the Five-Year Deferred Maintenance Plan. It will then vote on approving the plan in order to be eligible for deferred maintenance funds from the state. 



The board will also hear a proposal to re-enroll students in grades 6 and 9. BUSD has been working to enforce a valid registration system that will keep out-of-district students from registering as Berkeley residents illegally. 

Coplan said that proof of residence at grades six and nine would be a good way of verifying whether a student lived in Berkeley or in another city. 


Contract extension 

BUSD will approve the extension of the contract with the firm Vavrinke, Trine, Day & Co. to provide independent audit services for the BUSD for Fiscal Years 2006-07, 2007-08, and 2008-09.