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La Cañada Unified school board asks for greater mention of public safety in planning document

La Cañada Unified Supt. Wendy Sinnette unveiled a proposal Tuesday for how state funds could be best spent next school year.

But upon reviewing the document, school board members found it didn’t address campus safety explicitly enough.

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The Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), a three-year plan prioritizing projects and programs to which millions in state dollars will be applied, is a document district officials are required to update annually. The La Cañada Unified School District currently receives roughly $32 million a year, according to recent estimates.

A 32-member LCAP committee made up of officials, LCUSD employees and parents prepared an extensive 11-page executive summary of the document for the 2018-19 school year, using survey results and districtwide outreach efforts as input, Sinnette said.

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Nearly 100% of students in grades 4 to 12 participated.

Among its seven overarching goals, the district aims to:

  • Retain the highest-quality teaching, support and administrative staffs;
  • Provide high-quality instruction to all students;
  • Provide programs and resources to boost students’ social and emotional wealth;
  • Reduce and maintain class size reductions to increase student performance;
  • Enhance student engagement through program offerings;
  • Provide quality instructional support for English language learners;
  • Maintain district facilities while initiating capital improvement projects.

“We’re really trying to identify nonvoluntary ways to recruit and retain teachers, administrators and support staff,” Sinnette said.

Although student safety has been a top-tier goal throughout LCUSD, spurring the formation of a special safety, security and well-being task force, such efforts received just a bullet-point mention under the third LCAP goal, related to creating a “holistic campus safety plan.”

“I was a little surprised there wasn’t a more specific goal on campus security,” said board member Ellen Multari. “I don’t think this is going away. I wish we could embed this more within the actual goal itself.”

Board member Dan Jeffries agreed.

“We really should call it out individually in the future,” he said.

As the district is in the second year of the current three-year plan, Sinnette said campus safety and security will receive a more concentrated focus, being listed as its own separate LCAP goal, in first year of the next LCAP period.

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