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By Jeff Pack
Staff Writer 

FUHSD board approves resolution for district solar project


Last updated 8/13/2020 at 6:04am

Workmen add spikes to the top of the fence at Fallbrook High School, July 30. The fence was talked about during the district board meeting but no action was taken on altering it.

The Fallbrook Union High School District Board of Trustees on Monday, Aug. 10 approved unanimously a resolution to implement a comprehensive solar project for the district's facilities.

Jeff Prosswimmer of Johnson Controls presented the board via Zoom with multiple options to consider regarding how to finance the project, which would include solar carports installed in the school parking lot and more grounded solar units in an open space of property near the district offices.

"Our goal has been from the very beginning to help Fallbrook Union High School District have a more productive learning environment with a comprehensive solar photovoltaic battery program," Prosswimmer said. "I think the first thing is that for a lot of different reasons that I will get into, now it's a great time to go forward with this."

The project will have a backup battery that would be able to power the school for at least two hours in an emergency; substantial electrical work will need to take place to install the system and Johnson Controls said they could provide STEAM programs for the school's CTE department.

The timeline on when the project would commence would depend on how the district chooses to finance the project. If the district chooses to finance through a Tax-Exempt Lease-Purchase Agreement, the project would begin in October. If they choose another direction, it would begin in December 2021.

No money would come from the school bond passed by the community in 2016 as the Measure AA bond did not cover solar projects.

During the superintendent's report, Ilsa Garza-Gonzalez introduced Fallbrook High's new Associated Student Body director, Lauren Gardener.

"Lauren comes to us from Ohio but is a California native and has a very strong background not only in ASB but also in CTE and freshman Intervention Program," Garza-Gonzalez said. "We are very excited and very pleased to have Lauren back in California and at Fallbrook Union High School District."

"I just wanted to say thank you for allowing me to be a part of this amazing district," Gardener said. "I have quite a bit of a background in both teaching and administration. I previously worked for Capistrano Unified prior to my journey to Ohio. I work both in the traditional academic side and technical education, but my heart has always been with activities and student interaction in building the school culture and climate because I know it can make such a difference for our students.

"I'm excited to be part of the Fallbrook family."

Garza-Gonzalez also reported on training that teachers have undergone in regard to distance learning at the Orenda Summer Institute.

"It was a wonderful experience," she said. "All of the administrators attended with them, either in the English or the math, and were not only given an opportunity to create curriculum and plan out their year and assessments, but they also received training on how to manage online learning, how they could set the online schedules to be the most effective for students."

Garza-Gonzalez also thanked the district's food service employees that have continued to provide meals for students and the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Starting on Monday, Aug. 17, the grab-and-go lunches will look a little bit different as we will now only be able to serve our own students," she said. "Unless something changes with the law, we will now only be serving Ivy High School students and Fallbrook Union High School students, but we are creating a schedule that will allow our students and their families to pick up their food later in the day so that it doesn't interrupt the instructional."

Principal Dr. Narciso Iglesias talked about how registration went for the school, which ended on Friday, Aug. 7.

"The process was very, very smooth and streamlined," he said. "We had over 50% of our parents participate during registration days and I'm happy to report that we are around 80% data confirmation as of today. We're going to use some of our time this week to have additional support for our parents and students so they finish the registration process."

Dr. Iglesias said that roughly 1,500 have completed registration, but almost 400 students have yet to complete registration.

Ivy and Oasis high schools principal Michael Gray also gave an update on registration, which he said was about 90% complete. He said Ivy was nearly full and there was a waiting list for Oasis.

"Which is kind of neat, we don't get that too often, but there is a need there," he said. "I suspect we'll be able to meet the needs of students as we go there. We have about 90% of both high schools that have confirmed and registered and are ready to go, and our teachers are ready to take on whatever COVID is bringing to us."

In action items, the board unanimously approved the proposed goals for Fallbrook Union High School District, a 45-day budget revision for the 2020-21 school year, and contracts with non-public schools – Provo Canyon School, T.E.R.I., Oak Grove, Winston and New Haven – to meet the needs of special education students.

The board briefly discussed potential modifications to the black metal fencing at Fallbrook High, which some members thought looked like "a prison" and wanted to consider having the no-climb features of the fence removed. Other board members disagreed with spending money, some $180,000, to remove them.

The board also approved consent agenda items that included a personnel report, the acceptance of a grant from Fallbrook Healthcare District in support of the Wellness Center, and approved the renewal of the piggyback bid option for food services fresh produce and services with Riverside Unified School District for Sunrise Produce Company.

They also approved the PCard financial reports for January-June 2020 and the warrant and purchase order reports for April-June 2020, the instructional minutes for the 2020-21 school year, the renewal of an agreement with Off Duty Officers, Inc. to provide additional security to students for the 2020-21 school year.

The approved consent agenda also included the ratification of an agreement for student teaching, teacher interns and practicum students with Alliant International University, the renewal of an internship agreement with BYU Idaho University, and a memorandum of understanding with the San Diego County Schools Fingerprint Clearinghouse.

The next meeting of the board will be Monday, Sept. 14.

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at [email protected]


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