News, Notes and Votes (ARCHIVED)

News, Notes & Votes
St. Helena Unified School District
June 21, 2012

1. Update on Bond Voter Opinion Survey 


Ms. Shakari Byerly, of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates – FM3, presented 

an analysis of the Bond Voter Opinion Survey FM3 conducted for the District to 

determine voter interest and support for a possible SHUSD school bond measure in 

this November’s election.  The key issues developed from the FM3 survey were:  (1) 

a solid majority of voters see a need for additional funding to improve St. Helena 

public school facilities; (2) 57% of respondents said they would support a school bond 

measure that might appear on an upcoming ballot, however, a notable proportion of 

this support is tentative; (3) voters place a high priority on investments that will 

address safety hazards and improve teaching and learning in core subjects; and (4) 

providing a source of funding that remains local, through a measure with strong 

accountability provisions is also highly important to voters. 


Ms. Sarah Stern, of TBWB Strategies, provided the Board with information on how 

they should prepare for a November, 2012, Bond Measure; and, Superintendent Bill 

McGuire wrapped up the Bond Voter Opinion Survey outlining the “Next Steps” in this 

process, which will include presenting the analysis to the District Facilities Committee 

and Community-at-Large.  The Board of Trustees would then need to call the General 

Obligation Bond election no later than the week of July 16, 2012. 


2. Approval of the 2012-13 Schedule for RLS Middle School 


The 2012-13 Schedule for RLS Middle School was presented to the Board by Principal 

Mary Allen.  The Board approved changing the RLS Middle School schedule from a 

quarter system to a trimester system to help facilitate increased student achievement 

in Math.  The Board tabled the idea of changing foreign language and electives from 

an alternating weekly schedule to a 5-day per week schedule, with alternating 

trimesters.  More information on this subject will be brought to the Board at a future 


3. Hospitality, Tourism, and Culinary Curriculum 


SHHS Principal Julie Synyard presented the plans for phasing in the Curriculum for 

the Hospitality, Tourism, and Culinary Programs to the Board.  She outlined the steps 

taken thus far in developing this curriculum, stating that the Advisory Committee is 

currently considering career pathways in the areas of Food Science, Dietetics, and 

Nutrition; Food Service and Hospitality; and Tourism and Recreation.  They have 

successfully partnered with key individuals to assist them in this project, including 

Gary Freund, Director of Hospitality Industry Relations, CSU-East Bay; Barbara 

Alexander, Executive Chef, Director of Culinary, Napa Valley College; and Alycia 

Harshfield, Executive Director, California Restaurant Association Educational 

Foundation (CRAEF). 


Next steps include continuing to work with teachers, the Advisory Committee, and the 

Ag Boosters to create a unique program for students that prepares them to be college 

and career ready; seek the help of experts in our community to help unite the 

classroom with the restaurant and hospitality industry; and recruit a local master chef 

to help with the day-to-day operations and development of the culinary classes. 


4. Trustee Kevin Alfaro Resigns 


Trustee Kevin Alfaro submitted his resignation from the Board to Board President Jeff 

Conwell at last night’s Board meeting.  Trustee Alfaro read his statement to the 

Board, advising that his job requires he live outside of the St. Helena Unified School 

District; consequently, he is ineligible to continue to serve on the Board of Trustees. 


In an emotional moment, Trustee Alfaro stated, “It has been a great honor and 

pleasure to have been a part of so many positive changes in the District,” 

commenting that he takes great pride in what has been accomplished since his 

election in November 2009.  He expressed his appreciation for those individuals who 

worked on his two campaigns, affirming, “We need to continue to push for excellence 

in our public schools and remain diligent about the way we spend our precious 

dollars.  I have the upmost respect and confidence in our current leadership and hope 

someone in our District is willing to step up and help continue the effort we have 

been making.”  


President Conwell accepted Trustee Alfaro’s resignation and, joined by Trustees 

Maher, Smith, and Kerr, thanked him for his service to the St. Helena Unified School 

District and wished him well in the future. 


5. Final 2012-13 Budget Approved 


CBO Greg Medici presented the Final 2012-13 Budget to the Board, explaining the 

various balances and expected expenses for the 2012-13 fiscal year.  The Board 

unanimously approved the 2012-13 Budget as presented by Mr. Medici.