The Galt Joint Union High School District (GJUHSD) Trustees met via zoom on Jan. 14 to discuss board protocols and hear the latest on reopening campuses. Lisa Pettis, director of educational options, opened with the latest graduate from the Galt Adult School.

“Riley Sanders attended Liberty Ranch High School,” Pettis said. “She began at the Adult School in August 2020. She works full time and now with her diploma will be able to advance at that company.”

The trustees have been working on board protocols since last year and gave more time to Trustee Pat Maple to review the agreed on protocols.

Maple had a lot of questions and asked whether board members could ask questions of those making public comments. Board President Melissa Neuburger told him board members could discuss it in private with each other when they had questions but not with the public speaker.

Maple said he didn’t think that was correct.

The next item board members discussed was who would disseminate public information. Neuburger said the superintendent would be the official spokesperson for the district. If for any reason a superintendent were unable to speak, the president of the board would step in but only to read a pre-approved message.

“I am simply the messenger,” Neuburger said.

Maple said, in the past when he was on the board with Dennis Richardson, they put together a three-person group who decided on what would be said to the public and who would be saying it.

“The president cannot speak for all the board members,” Maple said.

The protocol procedures passed 5-0.

Director of Curriculum Sean Duncan discussed next month’s “hybrid Zoom meeting.”

“The board will meet at the Liberty Ranch High School Library,” Duncan said. “The only other people attending will be other presenters, and they may come by invitation. Of course, all must abide by COVID-19 protocols. Board members would have laptops in front of them and a camera to capture the board members as a group.”

The hybrid zoom meeting passed 5-0.

Chief Business Official Corey Riehl asked the trustees to approve him applying for a transitional loan for the district.

“We could need a loan until our funding comes from the state,” Reihl said. “The loan will help us get through until the end of the year.”

Board members approved the application unanimously. Reihl will apply for up to a $4 million loan. He added the district may not need it but he’d have to apply now to have the option.

After Pettis gave the COVID updates, Maple said he had lots of information on the virus and would bring it to the next board meeting to share. He said there wasn’t any reason to keep students out of the classrooms and he would bring information to show that many states had their students back in school.

Trustee Mark Beck told Maple it did not matter what other sources say, it only matters what state guidelines they must follow for the district.

Maple did not agree. He said you have to speak out and fight back when what you’ve been told is nonsense.

Annette Kunze spoke during public comment, imploring the board to make concrete plans on reopening, how to reengage students and to be a vigilant advocate for Galt schools.

Michelle Reed also commented.

“Listening to this has been really interesting,” Reed said. “I have two students, one is special needs and one is not. I had a two-year-old nephew pass away from COVID. Roseville just closed their schools again. I would like my son who is a senior to have a prom and go to Disneyland. But I would trade my son’s senior year for my nephew’s life in a second. I am not sending my kids back – this is serious – do you hear me Mr. Maple? They are missing out but, above all, I want my son here, with me.”

Duncan said teachers would be back in the classrooms for the next few Mondays for training on how it will be with students back in class. He said the district would not be preparing new cohort groups but concentrate on getting in-person instruction going.

The district is tentatively planning a Feb. 23 reopening date if possible. Sacramento County must be in the Red Tier for two weeks before reopening schools. Half the students choosing to return to campus will report on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The other half will be in classes on Wednesdays and Fridays. All students at home will join the class via zoom.

Duncan also said the district is looking to expand its summer school program, have extra tutoring and credit recovery programs.