In an annual reorganization meeting Tuesday, La Cañada Unified Governing Board members unanimously selected Joe Radabaugh to serve as board president for the upcoming calendar year, appointing member Ellen Multari vice president and naming Dan Jeffries clerk.
Outgoing Board President Brent Kuszyk used his final president’s report to thank the board, LCUSD Supt. Wendy Sinnette and cabinet members for their professionalism and expertise throughout his tenure.
“When I threw my hat into the ring 4½ years ago to run for the Governing Board, I described this group of folks as a dream team,” he said. “Upon completing my fourth year on the Governing Board, I can tell you this group has grown significantly over the years, and the dream has expanded.”
After describing important milestones in 2019, Kuszyk treated attendants to a special performance by the La Cañada High School Marching Band who, under direction of Jason Stone, delivered a rousing rendition of the holiday classic “Sleigh Ride.”
Board members, in turn, expressed gratitude for Kuszyk’s leadership in guiding the district through a busy year. Sinnette said she often hears stories from superintendents about board presidents harboring personal agendas or generating work not in line with the district’s vision.
“Brent was, in fact, the opposite of that,” Sinnette said. “Of any board president I have worked alongside, Brent has paid the greatest attention to detail. He is incredibly thoughtful and kind — he cares so deeply for La Cañada Unified School District because it serves his community.”
The organizational shift followed a full regular meeting, during which board members were updated on several districtwide security and safety measures, asked for their input on securing the perimeter of La Cañada High School and heard a quarterly report from Sinnette on air-quality impacts from the county’s Devil’s Gate Dam sediment removal project.
Drawing a line around LCHS safety
In a presentation on LCUSD’s progress implementing priority recommendations made last year by a districtwide safety, security and well-being task force, Chief Technology Officer Jamie Lewsadder and Director of Programs and Services Karen Hurley asked for board input on securing the perimeter around La Cañada High School.
Task force members were split about closing off the campus entirely, Lewsadder explained, so further direction would be required in order to begin planning for fencing or security measures by next summer, as anticipated.
Board members discussed possible options — fencing off the senior lawn by Oak Grove Drive and the campus’ northwest corner near Foothill Boulevard and restricting parking and traffic by LCHS 7/8 — weighing the drawbacks or impacts of each.
Harold Pierre, a project manager consulting the district on Measure LCF bond projects, said while time was of the essence, it was more important consensus was reached before any plans were drawn or submitted.
“Timing is important,” Pierre said. “It’s probably more important to take time to know what you want before we start designing something that you may not like or the community can’t support.”
Board members recommended district staff focus their efforts on fencing LCHS’s northeast corner by the band room and along Oak Grove between the A and B building, securing the back portions of the lot and determining how student and vehicle traffic behind the middle school would be impacted by fencing and gates.
“I can’t say how appreciative I am of the fact that we continue to look at this and refine, define and look at it again from so many perspectives because it’s so imperative,” board member Kaitzer Puglia said.
Superintendent delivers Devil’s Gate report card
LCUSD Supt. Wendy Sinnette delivered a quarterly report on air quality index (AQI) readings taken by the district from September through November, while the county removed sediment from behind Devil’s Gate Dam in as many as 425 round-trip daily truck trips.
The district had five monitors on the La Cañada High School campus measuring particulate matter of 2.5 microns, defined as a size of interest for sensitive receptors, including children.
In October and November, there were 20 days where the AQI for a one-hour period ranged in the moderate zone, she said, defining a score of 51 to 100 as acceptable and of moderate risk to unusually sensitive groups.
“There were 12 days where the AQI … ranged in the unhealthful for sensitive groups range, which would be from 101 to 150,” she said. “These days required ongoing administrative monitoring.”
There was only one day where administrators deemed it necessary to cancel outdoor after-school activities and move P.E. classes indoors. Sinnette said it was believed the readings were due to nearby wildfires.
After the monitors were recalibrated to account for cool autumn humidity levels, no alert days were recorded. LCUSD continues to monitor air, even though the county’s hauling ended last month and won’t resume until April, the superintendent added.