Skip To Main Content

March 20, 2019

MARCH 20, 2019


Redwood City, California


March 20, 2019

  1. Call to Order

President McBride called the regular meeting to order at 7:01 p.m. at Taft Community School, 903 Tenth Avenue in Redwood City.

Present at the meeting: President Dennis McBride, Vice-President Janet Lawson, Alisa MacAvoy, María Díaz-Slocum, Cecilia I. Márquez, Superintendent John Baker, Assistant Superintendent Wendy Kelly and Assistant Superintendent Linda Montes.

Others present: Priscilla Aquino-Dichoso, Antonio Pérez, Jorge Quintana, Kyle Brumbaugh, Nick Fanourgiakis, Erin Kekos, Marie Gil, Keysha Bailey, Kevin Wagner, Jackeline Solorio, Anthony Zamora, Heidi Benitez, Nicole S., Lila Vázquez, Alma Valdez, Brenda Cabrera, Patricia López, Christina González, and many others that did not sign in.

  1. Welcome

President McBride welcomed those present. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

  1. Changes to the Agenda

Trustee Díaz-Slocum requested that Action Item 9.1 be moved to precede Item 6, Community/Staff Recognition.

  1. Approval of Agenda

The board approved the agenda as amended, (Díaz-Slocum, Márquez; 5-0)

  1. Oral Communication


9.1 Recommendation re: Conditional Approval of Rocketship Redwood City Prep Charter School Renewal

Superintendent Baker commented that the Redwood City School District and counsel have worked closely with Marie Gil and Keysha Bailey from Rocketship. Superintendent Baker assured the School Board that he, together with CBO Aquino-Dichoso and Dannis Woliver Kelley counsel Janet Mueller reviewed documents thoroughly to make sure there were no misconceptions. Superintendent Baker expressed feeling comfortable and confident with the Memorandum of Understanding.

Superintendent Baker expressed that he would like to meet with the entire School Board individually, regarding any questions or concerns they might have. Superintendent Baker reiterated that the Rocketship renewal would only be a conditional approval for the evening of March 20th and the final approval would come to the School Board in April 2019.

Chief Business Official Aquino-Dichoso stated that the four fiscal concerns that had been addressed at a past board meeting had been incorporated onto the Memorandum of Understanding.

Trustee MacAvoy commented that she felt uncomfortable conditionally approving Rocketship’s renewal. Trustee MacAvoy reiterated her concern about Rocketship’s budget, financial situation, low enrollment of students, and their low special education enrollment compared to the other charters in RCSD and RCSD schools. Furthermore, Trustee MacAvoy commented that she was concerned about Rocketship’s lack of transparency and accountability with decision making around their board meetings and committee meetings.

Speaker’s Cards:

  1.  Kevin Wagner, 3rd grade student at Rocketship, commented that he loves Rocketship, math, and learning. Kevin expressed that his teachers are great and he has learned about other cultures. Kevin stated that he would love to keep Rocketship open for 5 more years.
  2. Jackeline Solorio, 5th grade student at Rocketship, stated that her teachers at Rocketship have helped her to improve academically. Jackeline commented that she is proud of her teachers and loves that teachers can communicate with parents. Jackeline expressed that she would like for Rocketship to remain open for 5 more years.
  3. Anthony Zamora, 5th grade student at Rocketship, expressed gaining a new level of confidence at Rocketship. Anthony commented that students help each other and teachers help students grow. Anthony added that teachers are preparing him for middle school and teachers do a great job in assisting students with tests. Anthony expressed that he would like for Rocketship to be renewed for 5 more years.
  4. Heidi Benitez, Rocketship alumni, commented that Rocketship prepared her for middle school. Heidi added that she believes Rocketship should remain open. Heidi stated that aside from academics, Rocketship teaches students about life skills, core values, animal rights, and civil rights. Heidi expressed that she would like for Rocketship to be renewed for 5 more years.
  5. Nicole S., parent at Rocketship, commented that Rocketship’s office manager greeted her immediately and gave her a tour of the school. Nicole stated that her daughter has blossomed since she started school at Rocketship. Nicole expressed her gratitude towards Rocketship teachers and staff for instilling in students the importance to attend college.
  6. Lila Vázquez, parent at Rocketship, commented that Rocketship was the best option for her family. Ms. Vázquez expressed that her daughter has made significant academic gains. Ms. Vázquez added that Rocketship’s education is exceptional and would like for Rocketship to remain open for 5 more years.
  7. Alma Valdez, parent at Rocketship, stated that she has a great level of communication with her children’s teachers and administrators. Ms. Valdez commented that her children have made great academic gains and would not feel comfortable sending her children to a different school. Ms. Valdez urged the School Board to renew Rocketship’s proposal for 5 more years.
  8. Brenda Cabrera, parent at Rocketship, stated that her experience at Rocketship has been a great one and urged the School Board to keep Rocketship open for 5 more years.
  9. Patricia López, parent at Rocketship, expressed her desire to keep Rocketship open. Ms. López stated that she has advocated for Rocketship since the beginning of its journey and urged the School Board to renew Rocketship’s petition for 5 more years.
  10. Christina González, teacher at Rocketship, commented that she became an educator to provide students with a quality education. Ms. González expressed that she would like for Rocketship to be renewed for 5 more years.

Trustee Díaz-Slocum thanked all audience members for attending the board meeting and sharing their testimony. Trustee Díaz-Slocum stated that in the past, she had many concerns, but having Superintendent Baker reassure the School Board that he, CBO Aquino-Dichoso and counsel reviewed the MOU thoroughly, makes her confident to move forward with the conditional approval of Rocketship.

Trustee Márquez thanked all the students and parents that addressed the School Board with their comments. Trustee Márquez made reference to Pages 10 and 20 of the Renewal Packet regarding the number of times that parents meet with teachers and the weeks during the summer dedicated for professional development.

In response to Trustee Márquez’s references to Pages 10 and 20, Issa Howard, Director of Communities commented that on Page 10 of the packet, it explains that there are 3 formalized meetings with parents to make sure all data points and student’s academic progress are addressed. Furthermore, Ms. Howard commented that there are 3 weeks during the summer dedicated to teacher professional development.

Trustee MacAvoy thanked the students and parents who spoke and said she appreciated their enthusiasm for Rocketship. She reminded the audience that the Board hears similar things from students and parents at our 16 district led schools. They feel equally passionate about their schools and teachers. Trustee MacAvoy commented that it is difficult to operate with a declining enrollment and she was concerned that Rocketship is now smaller in student number than some of the schools our district that just had to merge and shut due to low enrollment. She added that she had many questions pertaining to the possible financial liability that RCSD could incur if Rocketship were to become financially insolvent.

Trustee Lawson expressed having the same type of concerns as Trustee MacAvoy about Rocketship’s budget.

President McBride commented he was happy to have the Memorandum of Understanding in place. President McBride expressed trusting Dannis Woliver Kelley Counsel Janet Mueller, in addition to all the work done by Superintendent Baker and Chief Business Official Aquino-Dichoso.

The School Board conditionally approved the Rocketship Redwood City Prep Charter School Renewal (Díaz-Slocum, Márquez; 4-0). President McBride (Ayes) Vice-President Lawson (Ayes) Trustee MacAvoy (Abstained) Trustee Díaz-Slocum (Ayes) Trustee Márquez (Ayes)

  1. Community/Staff Recognition

6.1 Recognition of McKinley Institute of Technology

President McBride, School Board and Superintendent Baker recognized Annette Bacab, Blanca Benavides, América Reyes, Minda Hurd, and Dolores Moreno for their tremendous hard work, leadership, and support of McKinley Institute of Technology.

President McBride, the entire School Board, and Superintendent Baker presented Annette Bacab, Blanca Benavides, América Reyes, Minda Hurd, and Dolores Moreno with a Certificate of Recognition for their countless hours of support and dedication to McKinley Institute of Technology.

  1. School/Community Reports

7.1 McKinley Institute of Technology Report

Principal Nick Fanourgiakis updated the School Board on McKinley’s Institute of Technology programs and activities. Principal Fanourgiakis presented the School Board with a Power Point presentation that demonstrated MIT’s demographics, test scores, reading proficiency levels, math levels, ELD strengths, extracurricular activities, enrichment, technology, and parent engagement.

Principal Fanourgiakis thanked his staff, teachers, students and parents for supporting McKinley Institute of Technology.

School Board Trustees and Superintendent Baker expressed their utmost thanks to Principal Fanourgiakis, Assistant Principal Kekos, teachers, staff, students and parents at McKinley Institute of Technology for all their hard work and dedication.

7.2 Update from the LCAP Steering Committee for the Development of the 2019-2020 LCAP

Assistant Superintendent Linda Montes provided the School Board and Superintendent Baker with a Power Point presentation on the LCAP Steering Committee and the development of the 2019-20 LCAP.

  1. Consent Items

The board approved the Consent Items (Díaz-Slocum/MacAvoy; 5-0), taking the following action:

8.1 Recommendation re: Approval of December 5th Board Minutes

8.2 Recommendation re: Approval of Field Trip Request to Great America, McKinley Institute of Technology

8.3 Recommendation re: Approval of Addendum to 2018-19 Measure U Application for Kennedy Middle School

8.4 Recommendation re: Approval of Disposal or Sale of Obsolete Equipment, Technology Department

8.5 Recommendation re: Approval of eRate Category 2 Hardware

8.6 Recommendation re: Approval of Construction Management Consultant Agreements with Kramer Project Development Company for John Gill School, Garfield School, Taft School, John Gill School, Interim Housing, and Garfield School Interim Housing Projects

8.7 Recommendation re: Approval of Add Services for Abatement Monitoring with ProTech for Kennedy Middle School’s New Administration Building and Parking Lot Project and McKinley Institute of Technology Classrooms 

8.8 Recommendation re: Approval of Personnel Report

President McBride (Ayes)

Vice-President Lawson (Ayes)

Trustee MacAvoy (Ayes)

Trustee Díaz-Slocum (Ayes)

Trustee Márquez (Ayes)

9. Action Items (Action Required)

9.2 Recommendation re: Approval of Term Waiver Request

The School Board approved the term waiver request for Deborah Hubert for the position of a preschool special day class teacher at Henry Ford School (MacAvoy, Lawson; 5-0).

President McBride (Ayes)

Vice-President Lawson (Ayes)

Trustee MacAvoy (Ayes)

Trustee Díaz-Slocum (Ayes)

Trustee Márquez (Ayes)

  1. Board and Superintendent Reports

10.1 . Report from Board Members and Superintendent 

Vice-President Lawson thanked President McBride and his wife Lori McBride for organizing the 17th District PTA Luncheon. Vice-President Lawson reported attending along with Trustee MacAvoy, the LCAP meeting, in addition to the Redwood City 2020 meeting.

Trustee MacAvoy reported attending the Redwood City 2020 meeting and commented that Superintendent Baker and Community Schools Director Patricia Ortiz were also in attendance. Trustee MacAvoy reported attending the 25th Anniversary Family Connections celebration, in addition to a San Mateo County School Boards Association meeting on housing. Trustee MacAvoy also attended the RCTA Fundraiser along with Antonio Pérez and Wendy Kelly and many of our teachers that raised money for the Paradise Teachers so impacted by the fires.

Trustee Diaz-Slocum did not have a report.

Trustee Márquez reported attending the Sequoia Awards Ceremony, in addition to the Superintendent’s Advisory Council meeting.

President McBride reported he is working with Don Dias, Hoover Community School’s Principal Ramiro Carranza and Redwood City Police Chief Mulholland regarding traffic issues on Stambaugh Street.

Superintendent Baker reported attending some of the same events as other school board members. Superintendent Baker acknowledged CBO Aquino-Dichoso for her great support throughout the Rocketship meetings and development of the MOU.

  1. Information

11.1 Information on San Mateo County Investment Fund – February, 2019

There were no comments/questions from Superintendent Baker and School Board members.

  1. Correspondence

President McBride reported receiving an email from a community member.

Trustee Díaz-Slocum reported receiving an email about wanting a Magical Bridge playground at Hoover Community School.

  1. Other Business/Suggested Items for Future Agenda


  1. Board Agenda Calendar

14.1 Changes to the Board Agenda Schedule

Trustee MacAvoy requested an update and presentation from the Technology Department.

  1. Adjournment (Action Required)

The board adjourned the meeting at 10:27 p.m. (Lawson/Díaz-Slocum; 5-0).

Alisa MacAvoy, Clerk