SUPPORT THIS INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM
The article you’re about to read is from our reporters doing their important work — investigating, researching, and writing their stories. We want to provide informative and inspirational stories that connect you to the people, issues and opportunities within our community. Journalism requires lots of resources. Today, our business model has been interrupted by the pandemic; the vast majority of our advertisers’ businesses have been impacted. That’s why the SC Times is now turning to you for financial support. Learn more about our new Insider’s program here. Thank you.
By Collin Breaux
A vote on regional bond measures to upgrade schools will be a big topic for the Capistrano Unified School District in 2020, along with other issues, CUSD Board of Trustees President Jim Reardon said during a phone interview.
The bond measures will be on the March 2020 Primary Election ballot and, if passed, will secure educational facility upgrades and school renovation funds for San Clemente, Dana Point, Aliso Viejo, and Laguna Niguel. Classrooms and buildings at San Clemente High School will be renovated, among other upgrades, if voters approve the bond.
“That’s something we are hopeful for, because it addresses some needs,” said Reardon, who was selected as the board president at a December board meeting during an annual council reorganization.
Reardon said facility upgrades are necessary, particularly in San Clemente. Reardon was opposed to a previous districtwide bond measure in 2016 that failed to get enough votes, but he supports the bond measure on the March ballot, because it is split up into various areas based on specific needs.
“I do support this bond, and I think it’s reasonably tailored,” Reardon said. “I’m urging people to vote for this.”
Other developments in play for 2020 include a recent successful negotiation with teachers on a multiyear contract. Reardon said the decision is a big change in direction for CUSD, which was previously in perpetual negotiations.
“The teachers got a reasonable increase in compensation,” Reardon said.
On the educational side, Reardon said a topic expected to come up in public meetings—and which has already been discussed in the background—is a mechanism for high school students to get an associate degree while co-enrolled in college. The co-enrollment model will be with Saddleback College and will probably take more than a year to come together, Reardon said.
Some students are currently co-enrolled, but there is no official mechanism to facilitate the co-enrollment, and CUSD wants to facilitate co-enrollment so more people can take advantage of it, Reardon said.
Special education is also expected to receive more attention in 2020.
“We’ll see some renewed focus there,” Reardon said.
Further down the road, there will also be elections in November for a number of seats on the Board of Trustees. “We’ll be switching into election mode come fall,” Reardon said.