Apologies for taking two days to post this! I thought I had hit publish when I finished writing this late Tuesday night but apparently not.
Very short meeting tonight with only a few items of note, and all of those on the consent (routine) agenda. Normally, the first meeting in February is when we acknowledge the teachers who have received National Board Certification (we still have the most in California on a per-capita basis) but that recognition ceremony was postponed to a future meeting. So, after the Student Delegates’ and the Parent Advisory Council’s reports, the Board went right to the consent items:
- Awarding a $44.6 million design-build contract to Overaa Construction for the new Willie Brown MS. In 2010, the district closed the existing school and committed to building a state-of-the-art middle school in its place, with funds from the $531 million facilities bond passed in November 2011. Candidly, touring the former Willie Brown prior to its closure was one of the most upsetting and depressing experiences of my time on the school board. We owe students in the Bayview much better than what they were getting at the former Willie Brown MS and I believe our plan for the new incarnation of the school will deliver on that promise. There has been some controversy over whether the Willie Brown construction project will provide jobs to local neighborhood residents, but the contractor has voluntarily agreed to 20 percent local hire on the project. The project will also come under the 2006 Project Labor Agreement with San Francisco’s building trades/crafts unions. This means the contractor will be required to pay prevailing wages and abide by other union-negotiated protections. And contrary to what you might have read elsewhere, the district did conduct a competitive bidding process for bidders who qualified to bid on the Willie Brown MS project — a multimillion-dollar design-build construction contract.
- Rolling over the First Student transportation contract until 2015. The overall number of buses has decreased sharply in recent years so the overall cost of the contract will decrease, and since we are still in the middle of the implementation work on the district’s new elementary school attendance areas and middle school feeder plans it is not quite clear yet what a new transportation contract should look like. The current plan is to rebid transportation for a new contract starting in 2015.
Commissioner Wynns closed the meeting with a tearful appreciation of former Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, who passed away of pancreatic cancer last week. I only met Supt. Ackerman briefly years after she left San Francisco, but I know she cared deeply for the achievement of the district’s most vulnerable students, and left the district in better financial and academic shape than it was in when she arrived.
Finally: Happy Lunar New Year and President’s Day! And Happy Valentine’s Day!