Shoreline Unified Regular Board Meeting
March 16th 2017
6:00PM @West Marin
A Message from Superintendent Bob Raines
Many times, we school folks are forced to respond to issues beyond our control that affect our district. That’s the case with a couple of items recently; immigrant rights and Trustee elections.
At the February Regular Meeting of the Board our Trustees adopted a resolution affirming that we will enforce all laws and federal and state regulations that pertain to the rights of all of our students and their families. It probably comes as no surprise to anyone reading this that we are dealing daily with a whole maze of legalities. I honestly believe that each and every one of them was drafted with good intentions, though I may find more than a few of them pretty irritating. The Resolution, which you can find on our website, cites a few of those that ensure each child’s right to a public education, and many others that respect each family’s right to privacy. Additionally, parents have a right to be notified if any law enforcement agency asks to speak with their child, unless they have a warrant that specifically prevents that. Law enforcement officials also must present their warrants and/or subpoenas to me in the District Office, before they would be allowed to exercise them on a school site.
Our Board approved this resolution because we all want all of our parents to know that their children are safe when they are at school. They approved the resolution because all of our families deserve that we protect their rights. Some in our community are worried that we may be jeopardizing our federal funding. While that’s a legitimate concern, given some of the political rhetoric that has gone around, we face no threat, whatsoever, from enforcing folks’ legal rights.
Another external issue that our Board had to address is SB 415. That law was passed last year by the California Legislature. It required all districts (school districts, fire districts, mosquito abatement districts, hospital districts and on and on) to hold their trustee elections in even-numbered years, along with the state general elections, unless they can prove that their voter turnout drops by less than 25%. That’s an incredible bar, given the impressive turn out in Marin County for general elections.
Shoreline doesn’t meet that requirement, so our Board was mandated to change the cycle of our elections. Government code allows this to happen only by extending current terms of office. While the Board considered doing this for the 2020 election, or perhaps the 2022 election, they decided that it was most prudent to make the change immediately, moving the November, 2017 election to November, 2018.
As it turns out, this was a financially sound move, as most other districts in Marin County have made that shift as well (most elections in Sonoma County, which covers the northern portion of our district, are already on the even-year cycle). The consequence is that odd-year elections will now cost somewhere between $7.00 and $10.00 a voter, much higher than the current $1.35 per voter.
Sometimes the tail wags the dog, as they say. Our Board didn’t go out looking for these issues, they came looking for us. I can say that our Board did the right thing in both instances, with the well-being of our community, our families, and our students at heart.