www.montereycountyweekly.com March 28-April 3, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 33 ers union president. “A good teacher can seal off the classroom. But at some point there’s got to be a limit to that.” Schrier says things are already calmer since Ofek has been appointed, that she’s been a steady leader in unsteady times, and having a known person in that role was a good choice by the board. Meanwhile, Carmel remains a high-performing district. It has roughly 2,400 students spread out over 464 square miles, from the Peninsula down the coast to Big Sur and east through Cachagua. According to data from the California Department of Education, English scores are 53 points above standard, math is 20 points above standard and 76 percent of students are college- or career-ready. (Compare that to neighboring Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, with a student body that is four times bigger and has more socioeconomically disadvantaged students and English language learners. There, English scores are 34 points below standard, math is 80 points below standard, and 54 percent of students are college- or career-ready.) Because property taxes within its boundaries are uniquely high, CUSD is funded primarily through property taxes, rather than per-pupil payments from the state, a formula that backfills revenue in other districts. This school year, CUSD is projected to receive $80.6 million in revenue. That is about $33,583 per pupil, more than double MPUSD. Still, CUSD is looking at needed facilities upgrades, and leaders are beginning to consider floating a bond. When the issue came up at a board meeting on March 14, Pallastrini acknowledged it would be a tough ask this November. “The climate needs to be right, both politically and financially,” he said. “Something like that requires a great deal of trust. I think we’re not there yet.” Wherever they land with a bond measure, there will be new board members after the November elections. CUSD is transitioning from at-large to district-based elections for the first time. In November, areas 1, 3 and 5 will be up for election, plus a twoyear, at-large seat that Remynse was appointed to mid-term. That means four seats on the ballot Nov. 5, one of them at-large. Unless they move, Karl Pallastrini and Seaberry Nachbar cannot run again—they, along with Sara Hinds, live in Area 2 in Carmel. (Hinds is midterm, and Area 2 won’t be up for election until 2026.) Rosen’s Area 4 won’t be up for election until 2026. “We are spending too much time on things that are not student-centric,” says Remynse, who was appointed as Knight was on the way out. “We need to be spending 85-90 percent of our time on student programs—not talking about the [stadium] lights anymore, or recalls, or politics, but talking about the students. “Now is the time to make progress, move forward, instead of relitigating the release of superintendents. What’s done is done.” CUSD hired the firm Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates to conduct stakeholder outreach before hiring a new superintendent. The top of the list for expectations was “fostering (ie: rebuilding) a positive, professional climate of mutual trust among all stakeholders.” According to HYA’s stakeholder survey, only 7 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the district is heading in the right direction. Michie, the student board rep, understands why the public is skeptical—he regularly meets with his constituents (students) as well as teachers to hear their concerns. He says a lack of knowledge about what happened to the former CHS principal and the former superintendent contributed to confusion, and to a lack of trust. “I just want students to be informed, to know what is happening,” he says. “And why we can’t know what we can’t know.” Michie is sensitive to the challenges the board faces, especially with matters that are confidential, such as personnel and student discipline. Transparency, he believes, will go a long way toward improving things. “It’s the board’s responsibility to convey to the community why their decisions are correct,” he says. “It shouldn’t be the public’s responsibility.” “I had been carrying this weight for so many years.” “I brought my Subaru to Hartzel on advice of a friend and I was so pleased with the service & attention I got from them. Not only finished on time, but under the estimate I was given. Very rare these days. So pleased with the whole experience & great peace of mind knowing it was done correctly. 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