The Davis school board discussed the soon-to-be-formed Strategic Planning Committee on Thursday night. The trustees are seeking a diverse group of broad-minded volunteers willing to serve on the new panel — and a related set of “action teams” — which will consider the long-range needs and prepare a detailed report making recommendations to the school board.
“We want to have a wide range of perspectives,” said Superintendent Winfred Roberson. Ideally, the committee will include a mix of parents, high school students, district administrators, teachers and school staff members, as well as people with links to the business community, UC Davis, city government, community service groups and other portions of the community. Roberson added that “for this to work, we need to have a reflective committee,” so volunteers should be prepared to “think outside the box” and consider the needs of the community as a whole, in addition to reflecting the perspective of a particular constituency.
An application will shortly be available on the school district’s website — www.djusd.net — and at local schools and the district office, 526 B St. Interested persons can also call the district office, 530-757-5300. The deadline for applications will be Sept. 5. Applications will be reviewed during September, and the nascent committee will hold a three-day organizing session in October.
The trustees’ discussion of the upcoming strategic planning process was not a quick one. The conversation ran long, with trustee Gina Daleiden fretting that “no matter who we appoint, there are going to be any number of people who think we picked (the wrong appointees) with the wrong set of perspectives…” and also worrying that when the strategic planning committee eventually turns in its final report, “we could have (the Community Chambers) filled with people, and a fire marshal at the door. That’s happened (before).”
Trustee Nancy Peterson, on the other hand, said she sensed “negativity” about the planning process coming from Daleiden, adding “If you think it’s not going to work, it’s not going to work,” and reminded Daleiden that she had voted against approval of formation of the strategic planning committee some weeks ago.
But eventually the school board reached a degree of consensus, concluding that there will be 26 members on the new strategic planning committee — 13 drawn from within the school district, and 13 drawn from the community at large. Committee members will be picked from the pool of applicants by the superintendent and the school board trustees.
Parents Robert Poppenga and Chuck Rairdan expressed satisfaction that there would be an open application process, and expressed hope that the panel would be formed as a Brown Act committee (subject to public disclosure requirements and other aspects of that state law). Poppenga encouraged the trustees not to pick too many insiders, suggesting that “often, those furthest removed from the day-to-day workings are able to offer the most creative and forward-thinking ideas and minimize ‘group think.’ “