Having said their goodbyes to outgoing members at the last meeting, the Los Alamitos Unified School District welcomed two new members and elected leaders for the new term.
District Supt. Dr. Andrew Pulver swore in three members from the Nov. 3 election, including Meg Cutuli, who won a fourth term on the board and two new members, Chris Forehan and Scott Fayette.
Cutuli thanked her husband and “whoever voted for me because I wouldn’t be here and wouldn’t have been here the number of years, I’ve had without the support this community has shown me,” said Cutuli.
“I have always kept kids first in my heart and I think we do great work in Los Alamitos,” she said. In addition to her re-election, Cutuli is the outgoing board president.
Fayette, elected to represent Trustee Area 2, thanked his wife, children and key supporters for expressing their support. In addition, Fayette also thanked former board members Karen Russell and Dave Boyer for “leaving an impressive, intimidating legacy we are going to try to follow.”
Forehan, a retired educator now representing Trustee Area 4, thanked the community for their “trust” and said “I feel very honored to be part” of LAUSD. “I promised I won’t let you down,” he said.
With two grandsons attending district elementary schools, Forehan promised to work hard for them “and for every student in all five trustee areas.”
Continuing with their reorganization agenda, Cutuli nominated board member Marlys Davidson, a former teacher, as President of the board for 2021. Davidson thanked the board and said she would welcome their help to get through he first meeting as President.
The board also nominated and voted to elect Diana Hill as Vice President of the board.
Davidson began by making “a deep expression of gratitude” to the district’s classified employees, “who literally are the needle and threads that stitch it all together.”
“The board is truly grateful to the classified members of our Los Al family that gives tires with tirelessly to our students staff families and community,” said Davidson.
Especially during the pandemic, said Davidson, classified employees “have worked so hard to keep us safe,” she said.
In his report, Pulver again recounted the “countless hours of collaboration” with 80 administrators over the summer that assembled a plan with multiple contingencies. He said the plan is “allowing us to be nimble as the goalposts continued to change.”
The superintendent also provided a brief explanation of the “compounded” COVID data that prompted the brief pull back from hybrid learning at Los Alamitos High School.
The decision was difficult to consider,” said Pulver, but high school students are expected to be in class Jan. 14 in time for finals at the end of the month.
In addition, he briefly explained his message to parents informing them the district’s goal of having traditional elementary classes restored by February is no longer an aspirational goal. “We haven’t taken it off the table,” said Pulver, saying staff will reassess conditions later in the year to see if elementary schools can move from hybrid to traditional in-person instruction.
Davidson expressed confidence in Pulver to “figure it out” because “I think it’s obvious when, from Northern California to Southern California, they are seeking your guidance and your recommendations.”
Other systems “wanting to model themselves” after the Los Al plan is indicative of the planning and collaboration within the district. Davidson said the district “created an incredible plan” so she urged everyone to take a winter break and enjoy their families.
She said the board stands ready to support their future decisions. “We are just so proud,” she said, “and we are incredibly grateful.”
Also, the board voted to approve a resolution introduced by Hill revoking outdated emergency authority given to Dr. Pulver at the start of the pandemic.
Finally, the board accepted another $43,042.96 in unsolicited contributions from the general public, expressing astonishment at how much district parents and others voluntarily contribute to the district. So far this year, the public has voluntarily contributed $156,487.92 to the Los Al Unified School District. Ma