this week’s meetings | TheUnion.com

this week’s meetings

TODAY Nevada County Resource Conservation District Special Meeting – 6 p.m. 113 Presley Way, Suite One, Grass Valley. Agenda: Probationary employee evaluation. Nevada County Sanitation District No. 1 Advisory Committee – 10 a.m., Department of Transportation and Sanitation Conference Room, second floor, Rood Center, 950 Maidu Avenue, Nevada City. Agenda: Updates on Lake Wildwood, Lake of the Pines and Cascade Shores wastewater treatment plant projects. Sierra Economic Development District – 1 p.m. in the SEDD Conference Room, 560 Wall St., Suite F, Auburn. THURSDAY Economic Resource Council – 7:30 a.m. at the Houser Room, Nevada County Superintendent of Schools, 112 Nevada City Highway, Nevada City. Agenda: Sierra Business Council, fundraising campaign, telecommunications infrastructure. NCTV Advisory Board – 6 p.m. in the NCTV Classroom, 161 Nevada City Highway in Nevada City; Agenda: Review criteria for new community board members at large; review of draft of underwriting policy update; Review NCTV Board Letter opposing AB 2987.

MEETINGS

5:30 p.m. tonight, 113 Presley Way, Suite 1, Grass Valley – Watershed Coordination Grant update, resolution to support Bear River Watershed Coordinator position. – Conservationist of the Year nominating committee. – Letter of resignation from Cynthia Brinkhurst, closed session. Nevada City City Council 7 p.m. tonight, Nevada City City Hall, 317 Broad St. – Adoption of findings on various appeals of Nevada City Cohousing Project. – Discussion on historic preservation and review. – Transit Joint Powers Authority modification of agreement. 17th District Agricultural Association board of directors 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nevada County Fairgrounds boardroom – Consideration of new policy regarding political appearances at association sponsored events. – County Christmas report. – 2004 budget review and approval. Peardale-Chicago Park Fire Protection District Wednesday, 7 p.m., Station 1, 15057 Colfax Highway – Report on Station 2 addition. – Administrative reports. Nevada Irrigation District 9 a.m. Wednesday, district boardroom, 1036 W. Main Street, Grass Valley – Lease for gravel dredging on Bear River. – Consider additional work for Banner Cascade pipeline project. Nevada County Board of Supervisors 9 a.m. Wednesday, Rood Administrative Center, 950 Maidu Ave., Nevada City – Resolution requesting the U.S. Postal Service to designate new ZIP code for Big Oak Valley that is currently designated 95977. – Request by county Resource Conservation District for a letter of support for submission of a grant request to fund a watershed coordinator position for the Bear River Watershed. – Report on the status of providing additional assistance to elections functions, recruitment process for clerk-recorder, and legal and administrative possibilities for alternate configurations of the clerk-recorder functions. Grass Valley City Council 7 p.m. Wednesday, Grass Valley City Hall, 125 East Main St. – Wastewater Treatment Facility Expansion report. – Wastewater Discharge Order treatment facility investigation and studies. – Bear River Watershed Coordinator RCD grant application.

MEETING

Nevada County Resource Conservation District Board 6 p.m. today, 113 Presley Way, Suite #1, Grass Valley • Monthly meeting

Parent group upbeat about future of Bear River High School

During a Nevada Joint Union High School District board meeting on May 14, members of the Bear River Community Parent group aired its concerns about the board's lack of community engagement around academic services, faculty layoffs and district budgeting. But after a May 28 town hall meeting centered around the district's 2014-15 school year budget and new Local Control Accountability Plan, also known as the LCAP — a new funding model for California schools — the parent group is optimistic about Bear River High School's future and their role in helping to craft that future. "It was great; a lot of people showed up from the community," Bear River Community Parent group President Susan Kirk said. "The board heard our concerns from the board meeting previously, and they answered some of our concerns in a very positive way. So we're happy that we are working with them and they are receptive to what we have requested." The board provided all town hall attendees with a copy of the district's proposed budget, splitting the audience into several small groups. Board members and district staff then sat with each individual group to address any concerns or questions that community members had. Bear River High School Principal Jim Nieto attended the town hall and helped the community understand what the district's funding looks like while getting perspective from parents on what their kidsneed. "Some parents expressed concerns about how the funding formula was going to work and wanted to make sure their voices were going to be heard," Nieto said. "I do feel now that they all feel that they are being included in that process." District board President Katy Schwarz said the town hall was beneficial not only for parents, but for the board. "Parents are concerned about losing teachers, and that's what happens when you have declining enrollment, so we're trying to work with them on that," Schwarz said. "There are a lot of community members down there that would be so beneficial and helpful in us working together." To tackle the school's decline in enrollment, parent group member Sonia Delgadillo said parents want to help in branding Bear River as a destination for future high school students in an attempt to keep students at their school from moving to out-of-county districts. "I don't think we've been able to reach out to the community as well as we should be," Delgadillo said. "There are so many great programs and accomplishments that Bear River students have every year, and we need to make sure people know about these things so they can understand what Bear River has to offer students and their families." In March, the Bear River Future Farmers Association competed in the Agriculture Mechanics contest at the University of California Davis where they took first place at the team event, with students Emma Jones placing third, and Shane Green placing fourth in the individual ranking. "That program benefits our students because they learn social and communication skills that are necessary for them to be successful in life after high school," Delgadillo said. Kirk added that the town hall meeting helped to make parents feel comfortable in participating in spreading the word about Bear River and its positive aspects. "We feel like we have a good relationship with the board," Kirk said. "They listened to our concerns and really broke everything down for us. So we want to push forward to let the community know what we have at this school and how we can make it better for our students." While members of the parent group say they are pleased with this first step in becoming involved in the budget process, they still want to see specific changes in Bear River's academic services ­— sooner than later. "We are happy the district listened to us and heard our concerns," Delgadillo said. "But we are still concerned and pushing for restoration of a full-time librarian, not just a part-time librarian that the district has proposed, because it is very important for our students to have specialized staff that can help them in their academics. A librarian is an extremely important and integral part of that process." Principal Nieto said that the board plans to continue to include input gathered from parents and community members from the town hall at a June 11 board meeting, where district Superintendent Louise Johnson will give a presentation for the public on what academic services the board and community want to prioritize. Nieto says the next board meeting is just another step in the process of building a bridge between the community and the district. "In the fall we'll … continue that work," Nieto said. "Because even though the plan has kind of a three-year layout, annually you kind of take a look at it and revise it. And we'll do that together." To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email inatividad@theunion.com or call 530-477-4236.

Resource Conservation District meeting moved

The Nevada County Resource Conservation District’s Board of Directors regular meeting has been moved to Feb. 10 at 6 p.m. The change applies only to this month. The meeting will be held at the NCRCD office at 113 Presley Way, Suite # 1 in Grass Valley. For more information call 272-3417.

Bear River parent asks board to consider school district switch

A Bear River High School parent is asking the Nevada Joint Union High School District Board of Trustees to consider a realignment that would make the school part of the Pleasant Ridge Union School District — a move she says would better connect the high school with its feeder middle school, ensure the high school's academic and extracurricular needs are met and allow the Bear River community to have "significantly more input" into decisions that affect the school. Sonia Delgadillo, a Bear River parent and member of the school's site council, presented the idea to the board at its Oct. 21 meeting. "Schools are at their most successful and popular when teachers, students, parents and administrators work together," Delgadillo said, adding, "but their voices have not always been heard, respected or acted upon over the 30 years of (Bear River's) history." The move to the Pleasant Ridge district — an approximately 1,200-student South County district that includes Cottage Hill and Alta Sierra elementary schools and Magnolia Intermediate School — would address several concerns that Delgadillo said have been voiced by Bear River parents at meetings, club gatherings and athletic events over the past several years. "This is something that people talk about down here," Delgadillo told the board. She noted that because Bear River draws students primarily from Magnolia School, one cohesive K-12 district would allow for a better alignment of course materials, the potential development of an International Baccalaureate program and shared school programs, including the high school's agriculture program and the Pleasant Ridge district's career technology program. Delgadillo said Bear River is often grouped with Nevada Union High School because they are both comprehensive schools. But she pointed out that Bear River is smaller and more rural than Nevada Union, and has unique needs that haven't always been met within the high school district. For instance, she said, when the board decided last May to approve a later start time for students at Nevada Union and Bear River beginning next school year, the only town hall meeting to solicit community input was held at Nevada Union. Delgadillo said Bear River parents and students asked the board why there wasn't a similar meeting held at Bear River, but weren't provided an answer. That's a common theme, Delgadillo said. As the school has endured staff and program cuts over the past several years, parents have begun vocally advocating for student needs, and they feel as though their input has often been met with "resistance, impatience and sometimes anger" from board members. "This is a representative government, and parents, teachers and students have a right to be heard and respected," Delgadillo said. "We can't do that if we don't have a warm, welcoming environment where input from all is listened to and thought about seriously." There are several ways that a school district realignment can take place under California education code, but Delgadillo said she is only interested in pursuing the method where the consolidation is initiated by a majority approval from school boards of both districts. She gave a similar presentation on the topic to members of the Pleasant Ridge district's board of trustees on Sept. 8. If both school boards decide to explore reorganization, the process would be lengthy, as it is carefully regulated by the state. There are nine criteria that need to be met in order to move forward, including proving that the reorganization will not disrupt educational programs or have a negative financial impact on either district. If the process were to progress, the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools would eventually convene a committee composed of elected members responsible for holding public hearings, formulating plans and analyzing proposals. In an email, Lauretta Muzio, the president of the Pleasant Ridge district board of trustees, called the curriculum alignment and continuity of programs that could result from incorporating Bear River into the district "attractive," but also said the potential impact on the district's financials, teachers and current academic programs would be important factors for the board to consider. She wrote the board has "expressed positive interest in moving forward with fact-finding," but it is "not interested in making unwanted advancements" on the high school district. High school district board trustees did not hold a lengthy discussion on Delgadillo's presentation at its Oct. 21 meeting. Board President Katy Schwarz said the board will discuss the topic if a board member puts the issue on an upcoming meeting agenda, but added "there doesn't appear to be a lot of enthusiasm about pursuing it." Schwarz said she believes both Bear River and Magnolia would benefit from a closer relationship, but "we can serve those needs with the way things are now." While she said board members "have tried really hard to reach out" to stakeholders from Bear River regularly, she also acknowledged "we could try harder." However, she doesn't feel the board needs to hold specific conversations around improving communications with the Bear River community, instead saying Bear River Principal Amy Besler, who was hired prior to the start of the school year, has made it a priority to reach out to parents frequently to let them know what is happening at the school. "I think she's really doing what she's supposed to be doing as far as getting the word out there and making the school feel important and heard," Schwarz said. Delgadillo doesn't plan to pursue the idea further if there is not significant support from both boards, or from Bear River parents or teachers; change, she said, should be driven by "collaboration of all stakeholders." She believes there's a way that the Bear River community can be heard by and work with the high school district board — but only if the board is willing to incorporate community input. "I hope the board will consider how to best meet the needs of Bear River students and will give great thought on whether it's prepared to actively engage with the community or whether it would be willing to consider another alternative," Delgadillo said. To contact Staff Writer Emily Lavin, email elavin@theunion.com or call 530-477-4230.

Ophir Hill Fire proposes a fire suppression fee for property owners

The Ophir Hill Fire Protection District Board of Directors is proposing a special assessment, or fire suppression fee, on properties within the district so they can staff the Colfax Highway fire station 24 hours a day. The fee would raise the amount received by the district from property taxes on a $450,000 a single family residence, for example, from approximately $10.10 – currently a percentage of property tax – to a flat assessment amount of $113.90 per year. That breaks down to 31.2 cents per day, which would enable the fire district to hire two additional permanent firefighters and one seasonal firefighter. The figures were determined by an engineering firm hired by the district. District staff say the additional staff is crucial for the safety of district residents.

This week’s meetings

TUESDAY Board of Supervisors – First floor, Eric Rood Administrative Center, 950 Maidu Avenue, Nevada City: Various consent items; After-action report for the December 2005 Storm Emergency Response; Presentation by Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council regarding the development of the Land Conservation Plan; Resolution approving an application to the Workforce Housing Reward Program; Status Report on Help America Vote Act compliance. (Please visit http://www.theunion.com for the full agenda.) Nevada County Resource Conservation District Board Meeting – 6 p.m., 113 Presley Way, Suite One, Grass Valley. Agenda: Annual report, various committee reports. Nevada City School District Meeting of the Board of Trustees – 6:30 p.m. at Nevada City School District Administrative Offices. Agenda: Approval of the 2005-2006 Second Interim Financial Report; approval of the Nevada City School District Summer School Meal waiver; approval of the student and staff calendars for the school year 2006-07. Creek Elementary School District – 6 p.m. at Clear Creek School, Room 7. Agenda: Approval of resolution to adopt the second interim budget changes for 2005-06; approval of revised calendar for 2005-06. Grass Valley School District – 6:15 p.m. at District Administrative Office, 10840 Gilmore Way, Grass Valley. Agenda: Consideration of annual certification of temporary athletic team coaches; consideration of proposal to add the equivalent of a 3.5 percent salary increase applied to the business manager’s contract retroactive to July1, 2005; consideration of resolution to adopt second interim budget report. Union Hill School District – 6:30 p.m. at Union Hill School District Office. Agenda: Consideration of resolution to reduce particular kinds of services for 2006-07; consideration of resolution to decide to terminate certificated categorical service; consideration of resolution to adopt second term interim budget. Twin Ridges Elementary School District – 6:30 p.m. at the District Service Center, 18847 Oak Tree Road, Nevada City. Agenda: Selection of district auditor; approval of the second interim budget appropriations for the 2005-06 school year. Pleasant Valley Elementary School District – 6 p.m. at Williams Ranch School COLT Library. WEDNESDAY Nevada County Schools Bus Agency, Transportation Board Meeting – 11:30 a.m. at the Durham Transportation Conference Room. Agenda: approval of the positive certification for the 2005-06 second interim report; approval of resolution 2/05 -06 to amend the adopted budget in accordance with the projected year actuals presented for the 2005-06 fiscal year. Nevada Joint Union High School District Governing Board – 6 p.m. at the Bear River High School. Agenda: Approval of the Five Year Plan for Deferred Maintenance Program; approval of the revision to the 2005/2006 calendar to reflect the use of one snow make up day in April; authorization of the district to proceed to bid on Phase II & III of the NUHS Artificial Turf Project.

High school district’s search for new Bear River principal under way

One week after reassigning Bear River High School Principal Jim Nieto to a teaching position at the school, the Nevada Joint Union High School District has begun the search for the school's next leader and is aiming to fill the position by the end of June, said district Superintendent Louise Johnson. The district's board of trustees voted unanimously during the closed session portion of its June 10 meeting to reassign Nieto, who has been principal at Bear River since 2006. Both Johnson and district board President Katy Schwarz declined to explain why Nieto was reassigned, citing state privacy laws that protect employees. The district posted the open principal position on June 11; the closing date for applications is June 22, Johnson said. Johnson said all candidates selected for interviews will go through a one-day, two-step process. They'll be interviewed by a panel of stakeholders — generally a mix of staff and parents — as well as by Johnson; the district's board of trustees has final approval on the candidate recommended by Johnson. The district is currently in the process of assembling the stakeholder panel, Johnson said. Though the panel's exact makeup hasn't been decided yet, Johnson said that "we'll be sure all stakeholders are represented." She said the district's goal of having a new principal in place by the end of the month is geared toward ensuring the chosen candidate is prepared for the 2015-2016 school year, which begins on Aug. 19. "It takes a lot of work and energy to get ready for the school year, so it's essential that we have some resolution as quickly as possible," Johnson said. However, the district's time line has raised concerns among some members of the Bear River school community, said Sonia Delgadillo, a Bear River parent who serves on the school's site and parent advisory councils. She noted that the search process for a new principal is typically a significant undertaking. Conducting a thorough search and vetting candidates, she said, takes time. "If they really want to do a good job, and do it right, this seems very sloppy and short," Delgadillo said. On Friday, Delgadillo sent an email to members of the board of trustees, as well as to Johnson and district Assistant Superintendent of Personnel and Pupil Services Trisha Dellis, asking them to clarify the selection process for the new principal. She said she received only a response from Schwarz, who assured her that Johnson was handling the situation. Delgadillo said she's frustrated with the lack of communication from the district to the larger school community about the hiring process. She said that, aside from the board announcing the result of its vote at its June 10 meeting, the district has not sent out any notice informing parents and students of the school's change in leadership or next steps for filling the vacant position. "To not communicate, there's really just no reason for that," Delgadillo said. "All it does is give people an opportunity to speculate, what is the motivation, what are the future plans." Johnson said the district did not send out any communication immediately following the June 10 board meeting because it was "working with very confidential information" regarding Nieto's reassignment. She said she planned to send out an update in her annual superintendent's letter, which is both emailed and mailed to families, as well as posted on the district web site, on July 1. However, acknowledging that "hindsight is always 20/20," Johnson said that she understood criticism from members of the school community about the district's lack of communication and said, "I own that criticism." She said the district now plans to send out a communication to Bear River families "as soon as we have the arrangements made" for the candidate interview process. Johnson said the district is also working on a communication about the process that will go out to Bear River staff; she said staff have been notified that Bear River Vice Principal Cathy Peterson is currently administering the school, with assistance from Dellis. Johnson said that Dellis "has been spending a large amount of time down there (at Bear River)." While the district's goal is to adhere to its hiring time line, Johnson said the first priority in the hiring process is finding a qualified candidate. "There's always an option if the candidate pool doesn't pan out, we won't recommend that we hire someone that we're not fully confident in," she said. In that situation, Johnson said, the district would appoint an interim principal while it continued its search. Schwarz said the board supports Johnson's hiring time line. "I think we have to have some confidence there in our superintendent that we've hired," Schwarz said. "And we are confident that she has the ability to do that as part of her job." Schwarz said she understands frustrations from members of the school community, but asked them to let the process unfold. "Please be patient with us. We're doing the best we can to get things organized and the ball rolling so we can get someone in place down there," Schwarz said. To contact Staff Writer Emily Lavin, email elavin@theunion.com or call 530-477-4230.

Colfax High assistant principal to replace BRHS’s Nieto

After a two-week search, Bear River High School has its next principal. At a special meeting Monday afternoon on June 30, the Nevada Joint Union High School District Board of Trustees voted 4-0 to appoint Amy Besler to the top position at Bear River for the 2015-2016 school year. Trustee Georgie Coulter was not present at the special meeting. Besler, who has been Colfax High's assistant principal for the last four years, called Bear River "a great fit" for the next phase of her career. "I know it's a great staff and I'm just looking forward to getting to know everyone and doing some great things," Besler said. Besler will replace former Bear River Principal Jim Nieto; at its June 10 meeting, the district's board of trustees voted unanimously to reassign Nieto to a social studies teaching position at the school. Nieto had been principal at Bear River since 2006. Both district Superintendent Louise Johnson and board President Katy Schwarz have declined to say why Nieto was reassigned, citing state privacy laws that protect employees. After demoting Nieto, the district began the search for his replacement almost immediately, posting the open principal position on June 11. Johnson previously said the district's goal was to have the new principal in place by June 30. Johnson was not present at Monday's board meeting due to a prior family commitment out of state, but the district did release a letter written by Johnson recommending Besler to the board of trustees. In the letter, Johnson said the district interviewed five candidates for the principal position on June 25. Each candidate met with "a diverse panel of 14 certificated and classified staff from Bear River, parents, community leaders, administrators and our employee bargaining unit representatives," as well as with Johnson. Johnson said Besler's experience at Colfax High, where she also served as an English teacher, curriculum and instruction coordinator and dean of students before being promoted, makes her well-prepared to lead Bear River. She noted Besler has led Colfax High's professional learning communities, designed a school-wide intervention system and developed a master schedule for the school. Johnson said Besler "comes highly recommended in the areas of teaching skills, attendance, communication, work ethic, trustworthiness, working relationships with students, parents, supervisors and employees." Besler graduated from Ottowa University in Phoenix, Arizona, with a bachelor's degree in English and secondary education. She also holds a master's degree in education with an emphasis in curriculum and instruction. Prior to the nine years she spent at Colfax High, Besler spent five years teaching English at Oakmont High School in Roseville. Besler said her experience in instructional leadership, including developing and implementing curriculum to meet the state's Common Core standards, will serve her well in her new position. Also key, she said, is fostering open communication with the school community. One of her first priorities will be to learn as much as she can about the school's culture and background. "I'm really open to people," Besler said. "I really welcome parents and members of the community to come see me, meet with me and talk to me." She said developing a comprehensive vision for the school will be a collaborative process. "It's not about my agenda, it's about the needs of the school, the students and the community," Besler said. To contact Staff Writer Emily Lavin, email elavin@theunion.com or call 530-477-4230.