Additional personnel and adult meal price rising at Winters JUSD

Photo by Crystal Apilado/Winters Express

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Motion roll calls for a provisional internship permit, a new administrative designee, and a rise in staff meal prices passed unanimously at the Sept. 1 Winters Joint Unified School District (Winters JUSD) meeting.

The first vote of approval allows Vanessa Vasquez, a Winters preschool teacher, to serve as a multiple subject teacher at Waggoner Elementary. To do so, Vasquez must have a provisional internship permit, which allows someone to teach while they prepare for an internship program, according to Human Resources Director Lisa Dennis. Vasquez was approved based on her degree, relevant experience, qualifying coursework, and commitment to enter an internship program in August 2023.

 “The Board of Trustees may employ individuals preparing to enter an internship program to fulfill the district’s need for additional instructional resources and to assist future teachers in meeting state credentialing requirements by linking teaching theory with practice,” Dennis said.

When placed in the role, Vasquez will attend an orientation and have guidance and assistance for the duration of the permit. 

According to Dennis, Wolfskill Career Ready Academy (CRA) students and staff can benefit from the appointment of an administrative designee based on 2021-22 Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) recommendations.

“Among these were that the school and the staff receive additional oversight to promote the adoption of standards and align curriculum and assessment practices, make data-informed decisions, access professional development and training, and assess ongoing progress,” Dennis said.

The district chose Raena Lavelle, a 14-year Winters educator who started her career as a Winters High School math teacher before becoming the Coordinator of Technology. Lavelle will oversee all recommendations, manage student behavior, and support site staff.

Lavelle’s repour with students and staff “in addition to many others, make her an outstanding choice to take on this role,” according to Dennis, noting Lavelle will receive $17,280 in one-time grant funding for the position.

Board President Carrie Green said Lavelle’s new position is the best of both worlds.

“You get to be with the kids again and have some class time and help out and offer some assistance there,” Green said to Lavelle, who was present for the meeting.

Meal price rise
Nutrition Services Director Cathy Olsen informed the board of increased adult meal prices based on the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) non-pricing meal program mandates coupled with shortage and demand. According to Olsen, adult meal payments must be sufficient to cover the overall cost of the meal, including the value of any USDA entitlement.

In the end, the cost of an adult lunch is now $4.75, up 50 cents from $4.50. Based on the mandated minimum raise of $4.71, Green said the half-dollar increase is realistic and logical. Before approving the increase, Board Clerk Joedy Michael questioned how many adult meals were served during the last fiscal school year. Olsen said the total of 417 equals a few sold every school day.

Olsen said that the adult staff had not been informed of the increase.

“We did not anticipate this change,” Olsen said, adding when she submitted the Winters JUSD application for the program, she found the district slotted in the non-pricing program, unlike in the past.

“We are a community eligibility provision school district; the pricing is set for us,” she said.

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