Members of the Carpinteria Unified School Board met Tuesday, Nov. 26, to approve the first step in the $4.2 million sale of district property on Bailard Avenue to the county of Santa Barbara Housing Authority. Despite some concerns voiced by Trustee Rogelio Delgado, the board voted unanimously to continue the process. Members also heard from Superintendent Diana Rigby, who described events in the Aliso Elementary robotics program, as well as the inaugural year of the district’s new Destination College Advising Corps.
District legal counsel Craig Price presented the board with an update on the $4.2 million sale of the Bailard property to the Santa Barbara Housing Authority. “Obviously, this has been a long time coming,” said Price, noting the importance of adding “much-needed affordable housing for Carpinteria.” Price described the property sale as “being for a good purpose,” and noted the $4.2 million price is well above the property’s $3.9 million appraisal.
Trustee Rogelio Delgado argued that parking is already limited in the area, that he is afraid of construction noise, and that “crime will go up.” Price responded that “the city and the planning commission and the council are very attentive to the impacts that are associated with any development” and reflected on the city’s rigorous approval process for new housing growth projects. Board President Andy Sheaffer added his strong endorsement to the proposal, reminding the board of Carpinteria’s long-running struggles with maintaining affordable housing stock, and noting that parking concerns will be at the top of the list of concerns of local government agencies.
Superintendent Rigby, in her regular report, praised the elementary students in the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program, led by coordinator Teresa Koontz, who demonstrated their robotics projects to representatives from oil giant Chevron and the Carpinteria Education Foundation. The students showed off their work in the school’s Innovation Lab. The robotics program is the brainchild of Project Lead the Way, a national STEM education organization.
The Superintendent introduced the district’s new Destination College Advising Corps (DCAC), a program designed to support college goals for low income, minority and first-generation students. Carpinteria High School is one of the first five schools in the state to participate in the inaugural year of the program, which is a result of a partnership between the University of California Santa Barbara and the College Advising Corps. Rigby praised the work of CHS’s new college adviser, Leslie Perez, and announced an ambitious goal of 100 percent of the graduating class pursuing four-year, community or technical college education.
The trustees unanimously approved a host of updates to board policy on such topics of tuberculosis testing and probationary periods for new hires. Board members also voted to pursue a competitive grant for matching funds for Career and Technical Education facilities. The goal is to modernize the former wood shop at CHS, a space that has not been used for teaching purposes for over 20 years. Under Rigby’s plan, the state would supply $1.2 million in matching funds while Measure U funds would cover the rest. Both Rigby and Sheaffer praised CHS principal Gerardo Cornejo for developing the grant proposal and identifying creative avenues for increasing investment in Carpinteria schools.
In a sign of its increasing importance, the district’s Special Education Office has relocated from outdated portables on the CHS campus to the site of the former Rincon school on Foothill Road. Special education spending has risen at a notable clip over the past decade, mirroring trends throughout California and nationwide. The board also approved contracts for completed Measure U construction projects, including campus modernization at Canalino Elementary. There will be a Measure U comprehensive update at the board meeting on Jan. 14, 2020. Finally, both Rigby and Sheaffer extolled coach Sergio Castaneda of CHS for being named Coach of the Year by the Citrus Coast Water Polo League.