Category Archives: Communication

Highlights of the SVUSD March 8th School Board meeting

During the March 8th SVUSD school board meeting there were several key points meeting which I feel need to reach the broader community. A few days after the meeting, knowing they’re captured on tape I email Brenda Spalding, Assistance to the Superintendent, and Dr. Silver asking if the audio could be made available on the web. I was pleasantly surprised when Dr. Silver indicated they were working on converting the tape to digital format and the result was posted to the district’s website (see Audio of meeting).

Here are the items I recommend listening to with the start time as indicated:

I’d like to especially thank Brenda Spalding and Dr. Silver for making this recording available.

OFA Stand up for Teachers

I subscribe to the Organizing for America mailing list and just received the following which I thought I’d share:

Organizing for America

Steve —

President Obama said this week that any budget that sacrifices a commitment to education is a budget that sacrifices our future:

“And I will not let it happen.”

Here’s why he’s taking a stand:

The cuts in the House Republican budget to education would be devastating for teachers, students, and families — costing 55,000 jobs, slashing financial aid for 8 million college kids, and dropping hundreds of thousands from Head Start, an early-education program proven to help low-income children graduate high school.

This week, the House passed another short-term extension of the federal budget that will fund the government through early April — between now and then, we need to find common ground.

President Obama is committed to commonsense spending cuts that allow us to live within our means without sacrificing key investments that will help us win the future.

With your support today, we can redouble our campaign for a responsible budget as the deadline nears, with OFA volunteers calling lawmakers and hand-delivering petitions to congressional offices.

Together, we’ll work to make sure that every family, principal, teacher, and student across the country understands that critical funding for education is at stake — and what they can do about it.

Will you donate $75 or more today to support Organizing for America and fight to protect our investments in education?

House Republicans are proposing reckless cuts that would undo our progress on health reform, prevent the EPA from protecting our air and water, and hurt our economy and job creation.

The cuts are particularly bad for education, and when we’re talking about investing in children and schools, we’re talking about investing in our future.

If the House Republican budget cuts are adopted:

— More than 16,000 classrooms would close;

— 55,000 teachers would lose their jobs;

— Nearly 200,000 pre-kindergarten children would lose access to Head Start; and

— More than 8 million college students currently receiving tuition assistance would see their Pell Grants cut.

The budget the President signs must have bipartisan support, but he’s made it clear it also must invest in — not sacrifice — education.

Anything less is irresponsible and not worthy of our children.

Your support today will ensure all Americans understand what’s at stake. We’ll stand together and support the President as he tries once again to reach common ground with Republicans.

But we need your help.

Please donate $75 or more to support Organizing for America today:

Thanks for standing up for teachers, kids, and jobs.


Mitch Stewart
Organizing for America

Scotts Valley Unified School District Communications FAQ


The following questions pertain to the Scotts Valley Unified School District and concerns centered around communication between the District leadership, teachers, the Board of Trustees and parents.

Where can the public get information on district finances?

The school district provides access to financial information in electronic form on their website here and here. Additionally, budget information is also available at the district office where you can review printed copies of the budget.

Can finances be compared to other districts?

Yes. Ed-Data provides extensive tools for comparing school districts.

How can information on bond or parcel measures get out to the public?

Does the public realize that bond and parcel money stays in community?

How can we reach more people, especially those outside the District’s contact list? 

The District maintains an email list that’s largely directed towards parents of students and thus the list does not have broad community wide reach. Perhaps a general mailing list could be created and for more details the District office should be consulted.

Have we considered using Facebook to get wider distribution of content posted on the district website?

Here is one such Facebook group.

Have we considered making short (1 minute) info videos that can be posted on the District website and then uploaded / distributed via Facebook and Youtube?

Yes. While the idea has existed for awhile as of May 31, 2010 no videos have been recorded.

Can we use parking lot banners to advertise for donations?

Yes, this is now being used widely across the district by both SVEF and site specific PTA’s.

Is the information posted on the District website accurate?

Questions regarding the accuracy of the information presented on the district website should be directed to the appropriate personal at the district office. The phone number for the district is (831) 438-1820.


OFSVS Update #3 August 2010

Steve Trefethen just sent supporters the following message:

Hi Everyone,
Hope this latest update finds you all enjoying the Summer! The last OFSVS update was May 23rd, 2010 and recently there has been quite a bit of activity related to the school board I wanted to bring to your attention. First, there are now two openings on the SVUSD school board for which there are only two community members (John Abel and Art Bubb) running meaning unless other candidates register there will be no election and the two new members will simply join the board.

Additionally, with the introduction of Bubb and Abel, we learn of a new political action committee formed by Derek Timm with a press release on Mr. Abel’s website consistent with Derek’s publicly stated opinion on Dr. Silver appearing in our local press.

Along with this OFSVS letter I’ve just written a post reflecting my experience working with the leadership of the district which has been dramatically different from that of Derek’s. The reality is SVUSD is faced with enormous challenges and it’s important to understand, regardless of who holds the  leadership positions, they’ll likely be tasked at times with making unpopular and difficult decisions regarding people’s careers and the future of students in the District.

Community Day
Please remember Community Day is September 18th!

OFSVS Blog Posts Since May

Reality Check
Scotts Valley Community Day 2010
Santa Cruz County School Board Openings
2010 Music At Skypark
Scotts Valley Unified School District Salary Comparison
California School District Furloughs
Effort To Reduce Parcel Tax Passage Rate To 55% Fails For November
Coffee Talk Questions In Need Of Answers
Scotts Valley District Office Staff Offers Two Furlough Days For 2010-2011
Community Fundraising Meeting June 1, 2010
Cupertino’s Their Future Is Now – How They Did I

OFSVS Members Update
There are now 32 people (up from 20) throughout Scotts Valley on this mailing! If you can please continue to spread the information about this group and help engage more people throughout our community.

Please let me know if you would like to see specific information posted to the site or if you’re interested in posti

ng items of interest I’d be happy to work with you. As always please feel free to forward this email to anyone who you feel is interested.

Apologies in for this late summer interruption but I felt several of the above items “newsworthy” and in the interest open communication on which this effort is based felt it necessary.

Enjoy the few remaining weeks of Summer!

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Community Fundraising Meeting June 1, 2010

Charlotte Multer SVEF President has organized a meeting for a fall Community Day fundraising event and all community members are invited to attend.

What: Meeting to discuss a Fall Community Day
When: June 1, 2010 7pm
Where: Community Center Main Room located behind the Chamber of Commerce office

The meeting will include information from several community members who attended the recent TFIN informational meeting.

OFSVS Update #1

Steve Trefethen just sent supporters the following message:

Hi All,

  You’re receiving this email because you’ve subscribed to the mailing list so first, thank you! In the initial 24 emails sent out 5 bounced and there are now 9 subscribers not including myself. While that number isn’t large I feel it’s a great start so again thank you. There are a number of items to mention in this first email so I’ll get right to the point:

Name Change

This effort isn’t about me and I was uncomfortable about having in the header of the site so that’s been changed to "Organizing for Scotts Valley Schools" (OFSVS) which closely reflects the efforts started here and appeals more broadly to leaders/people in other neighborhoods. The website address remains unchanged though if we need to change that I’d be happy to do that as well. Feedback is always welcome.

Building Our Mailing List

For this effort to succeed we need to reach out to our neighbors and ask them to subscribe and join us. I’ve gotten some great feedback and have been in contact with some other interested people outside of Skypark. To the end, I’ve made changes to my website to better support adding other neighborhoods so if you know of anyone who wants to lead this effort outside of Skypark please have them contact me.

Parcel Tax Happenings

The second Parcel Tax Exploration Committee (unofficial name) meeting is tentatively scheduled for May 5th at 6:30pm in the middle school library. I’m on this committee so feel free to contact/join/carpool with me if you’re interested. Michael Shulman (School Board president) has been digging in deep researching all of the available structuring options and has provided some great details so please let me know if you’re interested. I’ve cc’ed Michael on this email as he’s well aware of this effort.

Vine Hill PTA

I understand there are a large number of openings on the VH PTA that are coming up. My wife (Kristi) has been in contact with several people in Skypark about "tackling" this problem so please let me know if there are any connections/introductions I can help with. While my children happen to attend VH I want to be clear this effort is District wide as there are Skypark children attending Brook Knoll as well so if there are openings there or other issues that we should mention please contact me.

Dollar-A-Day Efforts

The Dollar-A-Day efforts are once again in the works looking to launch prior to the end of the school year. I missed the recent  SVEF meeting where I’m sure this was discussed. I’ve reviewed the letter that’s going out (not sure it’s appropriate to share via this list) and offered a suggestion to include the new $30/monthly subscription to SVEF via Paypal versus a single $365 one time donation. If you’re interested in this discussion please let me know.

What I’ve Been Up To

Since my last email I’ve met with Karen Jelcick (District CBO) to better my understanding of school funding and she was very candid and helpful. She mentioned she’s open to any additional questions so please let me know if you have questions and I can help work to get them answered. I’ve also written a new blog post about broadening the reach of PTA and Board meetings.

For smaller and potentially more frequent updates be sure to subscribe to my twitter account.

Thanks again, and please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you build this effort.


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