Monday night proved to be par for the course as Oakdale Joint Unified School District’s Board of Trustees gathered for the first meeting of the 2016-17 school year. With the opening of the new year just two days post meeting, the session was a short 30-minute gathering reviewing financial reports and general business.
State Assembly candidate Ken Vogel was in attendance and introduced himself to the board during the Public Comment portion of the meeting. During his address of the board he noted his past experience in education including close to 36 years as a school administrator and 14 years serving on school board.
Mark Mutoza, Representative for CSEA, Chapter #830 addressed the board during the Organization Reports portion of the meeting.
“I’ve made a decision to retire,” Mutoza stated. “I want to enjoy myself a little bit while I’m still able to … It’s been a pleasure to work for this district. I’m going to miss it.”
Following the announcement of Mutoza’s Sept. 2 retirement, multiple members of the board spoke of their appreciation for his service to Oakdale schools, its staff and students during the past 21 years.
“Probably more so than anyone, I really appreciate the last five years I worked with you,” Assistant Superintendent Terri Taylor said to the CSEA representative. “Having that relationship between CSEA and the district be so positive. You’ve done a great service to your members and to the district and I really, really appreciate what you have done.”
Superintendent Marc Malone reminded the board as well as those in attendance of the rough times experienced financially throughout the state, which impacted OJUSD and the pivotal part Mutoza played in maintaining a positive relationship with the district during those times.
“Through that time your leadership never wavered,” Malone said. “Because your leadership didn’t waver we were able to keep the harmonious relationship that we had had and it made this district survive. It’s leadership that allows that to take place and your leadership was rock solid. As a result we forget how rocky those waters were. For that I’ll forever be indebted to you. I wish you well and thank you for that.”
Oakdale High School Student Board member Autumn Neal was officially seated and sworn in by OJUSD President Tina Shatswell. Neal will serve as student representative for the 2016-17 school year.
Assistant Superintendent Larry Mendonca gave a report of the Wellness Policy/Action Plan Evaluation.
“We have a board policy that calls for the district to provide an action plan by which we promote and put things in place within our school district to make sure we are advocating for healthy eating and physical activity for our students,” Mendonca said.
He noted the involvement of a Health and Wellness Committee that focuses on implementing policies to maintain a focus on Health and Wellness within the school sites. Included in that is a survey periodically given to staff to offer feedback for review and continued improvement. Overall, Mendonca shared he felt the district was doing a good job in this area, highlighting a few items for future improvement including Professional Development Opportunities for the staff.
Malone concluded the meeting with a reminder that Oakdale schools resume for the 2016-17 school year on Wednesday, Aug. 10, warning there will likely be a corresponding increase of traffic throughout the city during the morning hours as well as afternoons.
Back to school nights will be hosted on the following dates: Oakdale High School, Aug. 16 at 6:30 p.m.; East Stanislaus High School Aug. 17 at 7 p.m.; Elementary sites Aug. 18 at 6:30 p.m.; Oakdale Charter Aug. 19 and Oakdale Junior High Aug. 25 at 6:30 p.m.
The next OJUSD Board meeting will be hosted on Monday, Sept. 12 at Oakdale City Council Chambers. Open session will begin at 6:30 p.m. Monthly meetings are open to the public.