Leslie Schelly honored by board

The Hemet Unified School District Board of Trustees held its Sept. 4 meeting at Idyllwild School.

After the roll call, Vicky Lovett, an eighth-grade student at Idyllwild School, led the board and audience in the “Pledge of Allegiance.”

The first action of the evening was the announcement that the board had selected Leslie Schelly, secretary at the school, as the September recipient of the Governing Board Recognition of Excellence Award.

Leslie Schelly, Idyllwild School secretary, received the Governing Board Recognition of Excellence Award from Vic Scavarda, trustee of the Hemet Unified School District. The board’s September board meeting was held at Idyllwild School.
Photo by JP Crumrine

Idyllwild Trustee Vic Scavarda nominated Schelly for a variety of reasons. Not only is she the current secretary, but she was a very involved parent as her three children — Logan, Chad and Chloe — attended Idyllwild School on their way to graduating from Hemet High School.

Scavarda presented her with the award and a $500 certificate to be used toward the district program of her choice.

As he made the award, he shared Schelly’s accomplishments with the audience.

“Idyllwild’s attendance has vastly improved due to Leslie’s efforts,” he said. It has now reached the 96-percent goal.

“Mrs. Schelly is a true asset to Idyllwild’s positive office environment. She is usually the first friendly face students and parents see when they enter the office,” Scavarda continued. “She is extremely conscientious and conducts herself with the utmost integrity. Leslie truly serves as an outstanding ambassador for Idyllwild School.”

During the board meeting, Assistant Superintendent Vincent Christakos presented the unaudited final financial report for fiscal year 2017-18, which ended June 30, 2018.

Net revenues were nearly $12.6 million greater than the original estimate (in June 2017) of $256.9 million. Expenses for the year were $278 million, which was about $9.6 million more than the initial budget planned.

Vicky Lovett, an Idyllwild School eighth-grade student, led the “Pledge of Allegiance” during the Hemet Unified School District board meeting at Idyllwild School, Tuesday, Sept. 4. As she introduces her father to the audience, Idyllwild School Principal Matt Kraemer hands the recognition certificate from the board to Vicky.
Photo by JP Crumrine

For the year, HUSD had a $8.3 million deficit, which reserves covered. Salary agreements, textbooks and utilities resulted in the expenses growing during the fiscal year.

Beginning FY 2018-19, HUSD has a reserve balance of $26.2 million, which is expected to grow over the next four fiscal years, Christakos told the board.

All of the trustees thanked Idyllwild School Principal Matt Kraemer for the afternoon, food and dinner. Each complimented the school, too.

When Trustee Rob Davis spoke, he also mentioned concern about Senate Bill 328, which the state Legislature passed the week before. It restricts the starting time for high schools and middle schools to no earlier than 8:30 a.m. Gov. Jerry Brown has not decided whether to sign the bill, which Sen. Anthony J. Portantino, D–La Cañada Flintridge, introduced.

In a press release after its passage, Portantino said, “I am beyond thrilled that our children’s health came first today. It is fundamental to put the well-being of our students first and I am glad that this important measure is moving forward. From day one, this has been my top priority. The science and results are clear, our teens are healthier and perform better when school starts later.”

Last year, Portantino authored SB 328 based on strong research and the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics, whose policy statement advised school districts to change the school day start time for middle schools and high schools to no earlier than 8:30 a.m. Studies have confirmed that insufficient sleep in teenage adolescents poses a public-health risk. A later start time has resulted in more on-time attendance, higher grades and graduation rates, according to Portantino’s press release.

Davis felt school start times should be the decision of local school boards rather than the state Legislature. Each district should make the decision based on the needs and services provided to its students and parents.

Further, if it applied to all school activities, some, such as some athletic programs, might be harmed, Davis felt.

And Trustee Stacey Bailey opined, that the “zero” period, which precedes the first class of the day and is often used for extra class time or special subjects, might be eliminated. And a later school day could impose difficulties for parents or students getting home and time to study.

The legislation does exempt the “zero period” from the school day, which otherwise could not start before 8:30 a.m. for middle and high schools. If Brown signs the bill, it would go into effect July 1, 2021, or the date on which a school district’s collective bargaining agreement that is operative on Jan. 1, 2019, expires, whichever is later.

The bill did not garner overwhelming support in the Legislature. The Senate passed it 23-14 and the Assembly voted 41-34 in favor of it. Local representatives were split. Sen. Jeff Stone opposed the bill and Assemblyman Randy Voepel supported it.

The Riverside County Office of Education was the only county opposing its passage.