10 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY june 27-july 3, 2024 www.montereycountynow.com The state of California is trying to transform the education system beyond classroom instruction to make it more accessible for parents to get information they need to support students. One effort is to close the gap between educators and parents, especially with those who speak Mexican Indigenous languages. In January, Santa Rita Union School District in Salinas added services in Mixteco, available during and after school, from 10am-6pm. The district is working with the nonprofit Centro Binacional Para El Desarrollo Indígena Oaxaqueño, or The Binational Center for Oaxacan Indigenous Development. Summer Prather-Smith, director of engagement and school climate at SRUSD, says the idea originated because parents wanted additional support in Mixteco. Now, parents in Greenfield are demanding an Indigenous after-school program in Greenfield Union School District. On Thursday, June 13, more than 50 people attended a school board meeting to show their support. South County has the largest concentration of Mexican Indigenous people in Monterey County; Greenfield’s nickname is Little Oxnard, a nod to the large Indigenous population in that Southern California city. Parents say some children have faced bullying and discrimination at school. Prather-Smith says it is too soon to know quantitatively the impact on students’ success, but qualitatively, staff have observed a difference. Having Mixteco speakers on campus “has really helped us to make sure that our students feel included in our spaces,” she says. Two Centro Binacional staff work at the SRUSD resource center at Santa Rita Elementary. They assist teachers, parents and students with things ranging from homework help to managing a mental health crisis. The cost to SRUSD is $230,000 to date. Clarisa Reyes-Becerra, the nonprofit’s program director, says the program at Santa Rita is working. Kids feel confident to speak their native language and parents are getting more involved in their kids’ education. “We saw the success there and we thought, ‘Why not in Greenfield too?’ The parents are having similar concerns,” she says. Both SRUSD and GUSD’s boards have passed resolutions against speech denigrating Indigenous students. The day after Greenfield’s was approved, the superintendent’s office reached out to CBDIO to talk about starting to build a similar program to Santa Rita’s for the 2024-25 school year. Ever since the City of Seaside entered into a purchase and sale agreement with KB Bakewell Seaside Venture II, LLC in 2017 to develop the Campus Town project, which envisions 1,485 housing units and more than 150,000 square feet of commercial space on 122 acres at the city’s border with Marina, progress has been slow. The City Council approved the project in 2020, and while there have continued to be regular meetings behind the scenes, visible progress has been nil. But it appears that things are finally starting to ramp up: On June 20, City Council approved allocating another 130.2 acre-feet of water to the project— on top of 180.6 acre-feet already granted over the years—which will be more than enough to supply the first phase of the project, and even part of the second. About 30 acre-feet of the newly allocated water is being reallocated from the Main Gate property. As a city report states, “[The Main Gate] property is in the process of undergoing updated planning and it is unlikely there will be a demand for the [water] in the near term future.” (The city recently paid $850,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by developer Paul Petrovich, who had been trying to develop Main Gate—he claimed there wasn’t enough water.) Other water being promised to Campus Town will come from in-lieu credits the city has been accumulating since shifting the irrigation at Bayonet and Black Horse golf courses to recycled water. Developer Danny Bakewell, Jr. says now, it’s just a matter of “getting all the ducks in a row.” He expects to break ground this fall, by late September or early October. The first phase, south of Lightfighter Drive between 2nd Avenue and Gen. Jim Moore Boulevard, will include a hotel, up to four commercial pads, 241 homes and 21 offsite low- or very low-income apartments at Greater Victory Temple. “We’ve got all the affordable housing stuff lined up,” Bakewell, Jr. says. Deep Roots Citing success in a Salinas school, Greenfield looks at an Indigenous-serving program. By Celia Jiménez news Wiping Clean The County of Monterey Public Defender’s Office presents the annual “Clean Slate Day” to help people clear past records of felony and misdemeanor arrests and convictions in Monterey County. Attorneys from the Public Defender’s Office will be on hand to provide advice on options. Various times and places on Friday, June 28. 9am-noon at County of Monterey Government Center courtyard, 168 W. Alisal St., Salinas. Noon3pm at Greenfield City Hall lobby, 599 El Camino Real, Greenfield. 1:303:30pm at Gathering for Women, 147 El Dorado St., Monterey (women only). Free. 755-5058, cleanslate@co.monterey.ca.us. Banking Blood The American Red Cross holds a blood drive to combat a shortage of donations over the past several weeks. Donors of all blood types needed, especially those who are Type O. 9am-1pm Saturday, June 29. All Saints Day School, 8060 Carmel Valley Road, Carmel. Free. Book an appointment at redcrossblood.org or 1-800-733-2767. Survey Says Salinas Public Library seeks feedback from patrons on how it can improve its customer service, equipment and programs. Survey is open through Sunday, June 30. Free. bit.ly/SalinasLibrarySurvey. Counting Costs The City of Marina wants public input on proposed changes to its master fee schedule. Fees include pulling permits, facility rentals and more. Feedback can be submitted by Monday, July 1 to lpruneda@cityofmarina.org. cityofmarina.org. Get Involved The City of Monterey accepts applications for its various boards and commissions, which include: Appeals Hearing Board, Architectural Review Committee, Building and Housing Appeals Board, Neighborhood and Community Improvement Program Committee and Parks and Recreation Commission. Applications accepted on an ongoing basis. Priority review will be given to those received by noon Friday, July 12. monterey.gov/bcc. Legal Aid The Monterey College of Law presents a series of legal clinics by phone, touching on topics such as immigration, small claims, restraining orders and more. 4-6pm, various days. $15-$50. 5823600, montereylaw.edu/clinics. Row of Ducks The stars are finally aligning for the developers of Campus Town to get shovels in the ground. By David Schmalz Santa Rita Union School District students participate in an after-school program run by Centro Binacional Para El Desarrollo Indígena Oaxaqueño. e-mail: toolbox@montereycountynow.com TOOLBOX “Kids feel confident to speak their native Indigenous language.” Daniel Dreifuss