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5 Things to Know From the School Board Meeting

Watsonville High will get a new mascot costume, teacher layoffs have been curtailed and the district is borrowing $9M from the county—but that's standard.

The Pajaro Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees met in front of a packed house Wednesday evening. The light agenda gave way to honoring students and staff, but some key decisions and updates also came from the meeting. Here's a recap:

1. The Watsonville High junior class raised $6,000 to replace the Willie the Wildcat costume. The old costume was tattered and pushing 50 years old. This spring, a cheerleader spearheaded a campaign to update the mascot. The new costume will debut at the school's first fall spirit rally.

2. The board added a meeting to its schedule. It's set for May 30 to talk about the governor's third budget revise. Other upcoming meetings are May, 23 and June 13 and 27.

3. The board approved resolutions to borrow $9 million from the county, basically a loan against the state revenue the district will receive in the future. The loan is a safeguard because Brett McFadden, the business manager for PVUSD, anticipates the district will be cash-poor next year.

“We have a potential negative balance possibly in May and June of next year of negative $9.5 million," he said. "We're doing this one year in advance so we don’t have this problem long-term.”

The potential shortage is because of the state's apportionment and deferral schedule. Dorma Baker, the PVUSD superintendent, assured school board members “this is a standard procedure.”

4. Although some school district staff got layoff notices this spring, Dr. Albert Roman, assistant superintendent, told the school board that everyone is being hired back.

“We will not have an employee going out of the door at the end of the year," Roman said.

About 80 employees got notices personally delivered to their school sites this week. All but two of those notices have been rescinded as the school district accounts for leaves of absence, resignations and retirements. The remaining two employees will get a temporary contract before the end of the year.

The school board applauded the effort; it's the first time in several years that school staff hasn't been cut.

5. Lastly, four employees of the month were honored for the months of April and May, an award sponsored by Jacob Young Financial Services.

  • Sydnie Moore instructs mildly to moderately challenged students at . She inspires her students to achieve more, and makes extra effort to win grants that fund field trips. Moore told the board her job and her students are her life.
  • Carrie Marquez, attendance clerk at , is professional, calm and offers students, teachers and parents a warm smile when they walk into the office.
  • Joel Amrani, a former math teacher, is the Regional Occupation Program coordinator and independent studies teacher at . He helps his students find jobs, encourages them and helps them embrace responsibilities as they become adults.
  • Debbie Lerma, attendance specialist in the , juggles multiple duties from keeping track of students to helping with art projects. She's been with the program for many years.

School board agendas and other news are available online here. Also, the Board of Trustees publishes a blog on Patch with updates on school district news.

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