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Justin Adie

Mr. Hawkins
American Government Period 5
12 February 2016
School Board Meeting 2/4/16 Summary
Firstly, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised at the school board meeting. I
was surprised in the way that I assumed it was going to be tedious, and boring. I was
quite pleased by how wrong I was. I found the majority of the school board meeting to
be engaging and interesting in a way that I was able to maintain focus and keep track of
the events in the room. It wasnt exciting, but it was far from boring.
In terms of how democratic the process is, I must say that it appears to be very
democratic. For example, after one of the presentations (regarding the possibility for a
later school start time for middle and high schools), the board members asked the
presenters questions on their research, their opinions, and so forth. I find this to be
democratic because the board members are asking for the input from others, then
balancing it with their own opinions and agendas.
There are many positives to a school board meeting. For one, it allows the public
to get some behind the scenes info about the inner workings of the school board. In
other words, the board meetings discuss topics that normally wouldnt make the
newspaper, or wouldnt be in the newspaper until after they happen. At the board
meeting, I learned about the implementation of certain programs that may be phased

into schools in the near, or distant future. In terms of negatives, I cant really think that
there are any. Perhaps the scheduling can be considered a negative, where the
meetings occur only a few times per month. More meeting dates could flip this
negative, but at the same time, the meetings would be shorter due to the agenda(s)
being spread out over more dates.
In terms of time allotted for citizens to express their concerns, I believe that
people were given enough time to make their presentations. For example, the
presentation regarding the school starting times was allotted about 20mins according to
the agenda. In this 20 or so minutes, the presenters (who were the principals from
Jepson, Vaca High, and Will C Wood) were able to present their case in thorough detail,
and then receive questions from the board members. They had fairly decent answers to
these questions. For example, as the secondary schools would be starting later,
elementary schools would be starting earlier in order to prevent bussing issues/parental
drop-off issues. In one of the other presentations, the principal of, and students from
Callison Elementary School presented some of their school-wide programs to the
school board. Some of these programs include anti-bullying initiatives and reading
programs. Lastly, the principals from Vacaville High School and Will C Wood High
School presented their Rule of 85 program to the board. This program was in regards
to the attendance of students. According to the Rule of 85, or 85%, students should
maintain at least an 85% attendance rate. Students who are not meeting the 85%
baseline are subject to different kinds of consequences, including an event called
Super Saturday, where certain students will attend school on a Saturday in February.

At the board meeting, several issues were brought up. The one that I find to be
most important to me was the issue regarding school starting times. This is the most
important one to me because I find waking up in the mornings at 7am to be extremely
difficult, even after getting a good nights rest. Their research was quite convincing, and
their argument for why it is relevant was also convincing to me. I think that the board
was thoroughly intrigued by the presentation, due to the nature of their questions.
Another issue brought up briefly at the meeting was that of student safety and
crosswalks. One crosswalk in particular was of special interest to board member Whit
Whitman, which is the crosswalk at Edgewood and Alamo Drive. He noticed that since
Alamo drive is an especially busy street, and the fact that Alamo Drive has a lot of blind
corners, that the crosswalk there should have either blinking lights, or a stoplight.
However, this issue is not necessarily in the hands of the school board, but in the hands
of the City of Vacaville.
All in all, my attending of this school board meeting has left me satisfied. I would
definitely like to sit in on another one in the future if time permits.