School board to revisit minutes reflecting nonexistent vote

Approved written record of June 2 special meeting includes reference to procedural vote that didn't occur

The San Ramon Valley school board plans to correct recently approved meeting minutes that reflected a procedural vote that never took place, district officials said this week.

"It was just a mistake, an oversight that was reflected in the minutes," Terry Koehne, community relations director for the San Ramon Valley Unified School District (SRVUSD), said late Monday afternoon.

The school board members typically vote at the outset of a meeting whether to accept the agenda schedule as presented or whether to add, remove or rearrange agenda items.

That discussion did not occur during the board's special meeting about elementary school boundaries on June 2, but the meeting's minutes -- the official administrative record describing what took place during the meeting -- stated that the board voted unanimously to accept the agenda. The inaccurate minutes were approved by the school board on June 24.

The school board plans to revisit and amend the June 2 minutes during its next regular meeting, scheduled for Aug. 5, according to Koehne.

"We strive always to be accurate in reporting and regret any omissions or mistakes that were made," SRVUSD superintendent Mary Shelton said. "This was a special meeting designed simply to collect community input, and that was our focus."

The two-hour June 2 special meeting occurred on a different evening and at a different location than traditional board meetings.

On that night, board members and nearly 100 attendees met in the Dougherty Valley High School Commons, a larger venue closer to residents most affected by the main topic -- discussion of how to redraw the elementary school attendance boundaries in the Dougherty Valley community in eastern San Ramon.

The school board opened the meeting, recited the Pledge of Allegiance with the audience and then moved into the staff presentation on school boundary options. The posted agenda, however, called for discussion of whether to accept the agenda and for public comment on non-agendized items -- neither of which occurred.

School board president Rachel Hurd said Tuesday that she thought the non-traditional setting on June 2 contributed to the board skipping over two routine, procedural items listed on the agenda.

"Just before we started, the board members and staff were preoccupied with many logistical things like the sound system, microphones, positioning of the visual aids so that the audience could see them and the arrangement of our seats so that we could see both the visuals and the audience," Hurd said. "I also think I was following the agenda listed on the first slide of the PowerPoint presentation for the meeting rather than the posted agenda."

Five-page written minutes describing what happened during the June 2 meeting were prepared by district staff and circulated to the board members and public before the school board took a vote on the minutes June 24.

The approved minutes stated that the five board members voted during the June 2 special meeting to accept the agenda, on a motion made by board vice president Denise Jennison and seconded by member Greg Marvel.

Marvel was absent from the June 24 regular board meeting in Danville, but Jennison and the three other board members voted that night to approve June 2 minutes with the agenda-acceptance discrepancy.

"My understanding is that the Open Session Agenda Approval is not a Brown Act requirement, but merely our practice," Hurd said on Tuesday. "The vote to accept the agenda in open session is a formality, and it's also a courtesy, in that it allows for the request of an item to be taken in a different order or removed from the agenda."

The approved June 2 minutes also reflected that before beginning the boundary discussion, the board took "public comment on agenda items" -- the minutes entry included a typo, as the agenda called for "public comment on non-agendized items" to occur at that time.

There were no other apparent discrepancies in the minutes, which primarily described comments from district staff members, citizen speakers and school board members about the boundary issue.

Hurd said she wasn't sure how the errors made it into the minutes, but added that the administrative assistant who drafts the document for board consideration typically "starts with the posted agenda as her outline/template and fills in information from her notes, referring to her recording of the meeting as needed."

Of the incorrect details in the minutes, Hurd added, "I suspect (the assistant) may have inserted it as a placeholder to check in the recording and then missed it."

Editor's note: School district officials reviewed June 2 meeting audio and confirmed the minutes discrepancies this week after a representative questioned whether the agenda-acceptance vote took place as recorded in the approved June 2 minutes.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 16, 2014 at 9:32 am

Maybe they should concentrate on building more schools.

Like this comment
Posted by Julia
a resident of Alamo
on Jul 16, 2014 at 9:43 am

Look, Listen and Understand the situation folks. This is a great example of total incompetence.

Think about it...don't allow them to hide the truth...

They all do it and you naive people allow it to happen.

Thank you for listening, Julia Pardini form beautiful Alamo

Wake up people, these type of thing are happening everyday and you just allow it. Shame on you

Like this comment
Posted by concerned parent
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 16, 2014 at 11:32 am

This is scary, and maybe an indication of why the developers have targeted our town to fill with houses on tiny lots. The schools are so overcrowded, and the City of San Ramon wants to fill another parcel of land with 700+ homes. The San Ramon Valley Unified School District cannot keep pace with the City of San Ramon's aggressive development of every open acreage. That is the real problem--why is the City allowing overdevelopment without adequate school growth??? And is looking to build out more land??? The schools that would serve the newer development are not adequate to educate another thousand students...Our school district is one step behind, and why?

Like this comment
Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Jul 16, 2014 at 1:17 pm

We live in Danville C.P. but I've made the same point many times on these boards.
Residents of the 680 corridor need to make it clear to the developers that we will not accept more of their nasty cracker boxes until they cough up the full cost of new schools. Talk about corporate welfare - why should I subsidize some wealthy developer who only pays a small fraction of the cost of primary, middle, and high school construction?
And at the same time, we must let the council members, mayors, and city planners know that they will be voted out if they let the developers pay any less than the full share of their impacts. Enough of this sprawl. The Toll Brothers in Dublin alone have built stack & pack's to fill half a dozen schools easily.
Even if Shapell, KB, Toll Bro's, and all the others were willing to pay the entire costs of their impacts, including now infrastructure, how much more population can this narrow valley hold? How much more open space is going to be converted to residential at the whims of local politicians?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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