Vape detectors recently installed at the Galt Joint Union High School District’s schools are making a rapid impact, principals told the board of trustees at its Oct. 13 meeting. The board also heard a school safety update, re-upped the superintendent’s contract and authorized some accounting changes.

Liberty Ranch High School Principal Joe Saramago said that the vape detectors quickly began alerting staff when students used electronic cigarettes in restrooms. He called the influx of alerts during the first few days of operation “eye-opening” for both him and Galt High School Principal Kellie Beck.

“I will say that I do believe it’s having an impact. I mean, the kids know, and they’re very accurate,” Saramago said. He continued that he had seen a “significant decline” and felt the program would protect students from drugs.

The principals noted that the detectors distinguish between e-cigarette vapor and other aerosols, since hairsprays and other products are sometimes used to “mask” vaping.

In her own remarks to the board, Beck noted that late Galt High football coach Erv Hatzenbuhler was going to be inducted into the Sac-Joaquin Section's Hall of Fame on Oct. 16. Beck and other school representatives looked forward to attending the ceremony in Sacramento. Trustee Pat Maple shared fond memories of Hatzenbuhler and hoped for a local hall of fame.

Superintendent Lisa Pettis gave a school safety update, saying district staff checked for classrooms in which a teacher wouldn’t be able to see outside during a lockdown. They found 33 such classrooms and purchased peepholes to be installed in the doors. The superintendent added that the district would work on updating its radio system.

The board unanimously agreed to extend Pettis’ contract for an additional year. Before the vote, Trustee Melissa Neuburger said the board is “very pleased” with Pettis’ performance since her appointment last year.

“(We are) happy to have you aboard and happy to approve the contract,” Neuburger said.

The district’s chief business official, Douglas Crancer, presented some revisions to the district’s revenue and expenses for the 2021-22 school year. He originally described the unaudited actuals at the board’s Sept. 9 meeting.

Crancer described changes to “clean up” the district’s accounting: Some expenditures for document scanning and internet monitoring, and items related to the district’s membership in the K12 Strong Workforce consortium had to be recategorized. Additionally, certain temporary paychecks have been paid one from one account and reimbursed to a different account, which was rectified.

While making the changes, Crancer took the opportunity to approve some retroactive salary payments under the teachers’ union contract. The net change to the general fund balance was relatively small, a decrease of about $45,000 from more than $2.2 million, but it was enough to need board approval.

The trustees voted unanimously to reapprove the report.

Pettis administered the oath of office to Miguel Munguia, the student representative from Estrellita High School. Munguia joins fellow representatives, Sierra Dunnagan from Liberty Ranch and Julie Sporleder from Galt High.