Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day: Lasting Gratitude

The willingness of America's veterans 
to sacrifice for our country 
has earned them our lasting gratitude.

These fallen heroes represent the character 

of a nation who has a long history

of patriotism and honor - and a nation

who has fought many battles

to keep our country free 

from threats of terror.
  --Michael N. Castle

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Issues Concerning Portables at Jenny Lind Elementary

Previously Posted Nov. 2012
Portables set up on school sites are considered “temporary,” and used for specific short term periods of time. This period of time allows a school district (adequate time) to build permanent (long-term) structures.

Some of the portables in question at JLE are celebrating their 24th  year. The acceptable period of time is typically 15 years. Because they are portable buildings they have higher maintenance issues; as they age, portables require more attention (maintenance) to meet safe standards for occupancy.

Below is a short list of maintenance issues concerning portables (Pods 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9) at Jenny Lind Elementary:

(Landscape): The landscape at the rear of a number of the portables have improper slope; water does not drain away from the building; it drains toward (and underneath in some cases).

(Temporary Support/Foundations): Many of the portables (most notable at the rear) are set up using treated lumber for support—temporary in nature.

(Down Spouts and Gutters): Many of the downspouts end (flow out) just above the ground at the base of the foundation or support. The purpose of gutters and downspouts is to channel water away from the portable foundations. Many of the downspouts pour out and send water directly under portables.

(Concrete at Floor Level): The concrete around and between the portables is poured to just below the floor level; this puts the floor joists and foundations of the portables below ground level—and (by gravity) water will flow and collect to this lowest level/area.

(Air Vents, Air Flow, and Cross Ventilation): The air vents at the front and sides of the portables (where concrete exist) are covered up. This creates insufficient air flow and not enough cross ventilation under the foundations. The purpose of air vents in the foundations is to pull air in through the vents so air can circulate in the foundation area to minimize moisture and stale air issues. Channels under the portables (when built) were created to allow air to circulate. But because the vents around the portables (except at the rear and landscape areas) are below ground, air can not circulate to cause adequate air movement. Because some of the portables have moisture, mold, and foul odor issues, inadequate air circulation must be considered.

(Expansion Joints): Some expansion joints between the portable foundations and concrete walkways have been removed or are missing, leaving a 1½ inch gap between portables and concrete. This gap allows water to flow under portable foundations—creating potential moisture problems.

(Water Directed Against/Toward Portable Siding): The downspouts flowing onto concrete and sidewalks are directed toward and splash against portable sidings. One downspout in the sidewalk area has a 4 inch flexible drain-line attached and tied to the portable foundation allowing all roof runoff to drain against the siding which leads to dry-rot and moisture issues.

(Gutters and Downspouts Removed or Missing): A couple portables have had the gutters and/or downspouts removed or missing, allowing roof water to splash onto the ground and against the portable siding.

    Saturday, May 23, 2015

    Are Schools Making Kids Sick?

    Removed classroom wall at Jenny Lind Elementary
    First Posted February 2013
    Our local school district (Calaveras Unified School District) is not immune to the health issues and risks discussed in the CNN report --"Toxic America"--presented below.

    At Jenny Lind Elementary an entire wall was removed and rebuilt on a 24 year old portable classroom that had been severely damaged from a leaking roof. (Portable Classroom #53)

    Similarly, a number of the portable classrooms on the Jenny Lind Elementary school campus have original carpeting ... dating back to 1988.

    "Children are particularly at risk because their bodies
    are still developing and they breathe in more air,
    pound for pound, than adults."

    Are Schools Making Kids Sick?
    By David S. Martin, CNN
    updated 5:29 PM EST, Sat January 14, 2012 

    (CNN) -- As a third-grader in Winsted, Connecticut, last year, Matthew Asselin was sick -- a lot. He was lethargic and plagued with a persistent wet cough, respiratory infections and painful headaches.

    As the school year wound down, Matthew's health worsened. He was out for two weeks in the spring with pneumonia and then developed a sinus infection so severe he needed to spend the night at the hospital, where he received intravenous antibiotics and breathing treatments.

    In all, Matthew missed 53 days of school.But over the summer, a strange thing happened. Matthew was healthy. He was energetic. He could ride his bike for hours at a time.

    "When we put him back in school this year, within three weeks, he missed 10 days with a respiratory infection," Melissa Asselin said. That's when Matthew's mother had an a-ha moment.

    "When he was out of school, he was well. When he was in school, he became ill," Asselin said.

    Matthew's parents concluded that the 9-year-old's school, Hinsdale Elementary, was making their son sick.

    Click on link below to follow remainder of CNN report:

    Monday, May 18, 2015

    9 Signs Your Workplace Needs Civility

    Some signs of an organization infected with incivility include:

    ·          Higher than normal employee turnover
    ·           A large number of employee grievances and complaints
    ·           Lost work time by employees calling in sick
    ·           Increased consumer complaints
    ·           Diminished productivity in terms of quality and quantity of work
    ·          Cultural and communications barriers
    ·           Lack of confidence in leadership
    ·           Inability to adapt effectively to change
    ·          Lack of individual accountability
    Civility is essential to defining the culture and establishing a foundation of proper business behavior. It is a value that successful organizations strive to achieve.


    From--"9 signs your work place needs civility, 6 steps to achieve it"
    January 27th, 2011
    By Danita Johnson Hughes, Ph.D


    Sunday, May 3, 2015

    CUSD Salary Schedule (Management)


    2014-15 SCHOOL YEAR

    Link to CUSD Management 
    2014-2015 Salary Schedule

    Saturday, May 2, 2015

    Next CUSD School Board Meeting: May 5, 2015 (6 PM)

    Next CUSD School Board Meeting: Tuesday, May 5, 2015 (6 pm) District Office

    On Tuesday's Agenda--

    Third Interim Presentation: Kassandra Booth, Director of Fiscal Services, will give a presentation on the CUSD Third Interim Report. This presentation is informational only. The report will be brought back to the Board for approval/certification on May 19, 2015.

    also ...

    Adoption of Resolution 2014/15-26, Authorization to Establish Temporary Inter-fund Transfers 
    of Special or Restricted Fund Monies. This resolution allows the District to participate in the California School Cash Reserve Program sponsored by California School Boards Association Finance Corporation for the 2015-16 school year. 

    CUSD Attempting to Apply for Loan

    I was very surprised and disappointed that Calaveras Unified School District added an addendum to the CUSD Board agenda dated April 21, 2015: Adoption of Resolution 2014/15-26, Authorization to Establish Temporary Inter-fund Transfer of Special or Restricted fund monies. It is my understanding, with CUSD being in the "Qualified" Certification Status, they would be unable to borrow any monies. This Resolution sounds like an application for a line of credit ... to borrow. Furthermore, it is noted that the interest rate is 12% per annum. (Maximum amount of borrowing $5,000,000)

    What does it mean when it is reported that Calaveras Unified has a "Qualified Budget" status?

     Positive: The district is projected to be able to meet its financial obligations all three years.

     Qualified: It is projected that the district may not meet its financial obligations in one of the three years.

     Negative: It is projected that district will not be able to meet its financial obligations in the current or next fiscal year.

    To find out more concerning QUALIFIED & NEGATIVE Budget Certifications click on blue link below and proceed to pg 6:

    Friday, May 1, 2015

    Echoed Words (and Definitions) from Recent CUSD Board Meetings

    Words & Definitions


    The practice of giving unfair preferential treatment to one person or group at the expense of another.
    Favoritism refers to the act of giving preferential treatment to someone or something.
    The disposition to favor and promote the interest of one person or family, or of one class of men, to the neglect of others having equal claims; partiality.
    Showing of special favor: partiality.
    A display of partiality toward a favored person or group.
    The state of being held in special favor.


    Favoritism shown to old friends without regard for their qualifications, as in political appointments to office.
    In regards to government, politics & diplomacy: the practice of appointing friends to high-level political posts regardless of their suitability.
    Favoritism shown to friends and associates (as by appointing them to positions without regard for their qualifications).


    Favoritism shown or patronage granted to relatives, as in business.
    Favoritism (as in appointment to a job) based on kinship.
    Patronage bestowed or favoritism shown on the basis of family relationship, as in business and politics: She was accused of nepotism when she made her nephew an officer of the firm.


    In a democracy, transparency should be defined as disclosure and discussion.
    Providing information about an issue, event, project, policy, program etc. and then providing a way for people to find and view that information.
    Openness, accountability, and honesty define government transparency. In a free society, transparency is government's obligation to share information with citizens. It is at the heart of how citizens hold their public officials accountable.
    Governments exist to serve the people. Information on how officials conduct the public business and spend taxpayers’ money must be readily available and easily understood. This transparency allows good and just governance.

    The combination of traits and qualities distinguishing the individual nature of a person or thing.
    Moral or ethical quality: a man of fine, honorable character.
    Qualities of honesty, courage, or the like; integrity: It takes character to face up to a bully.