Sonora, CA — After devoting a good chunk of Tuesday to a closed session culling potential superintendent candidate options, the Sonora Union High School District trustees tackled a chock full agenda over the course of a nearly eight-hour meeting.
According to Superintendent Mike McCoy, budget-wise, after “five awful years and one mediocre,” the district is holding the positive trend line it has maintained for the past couple of years. Next year looks good enough that he reports, “We are offering all bargaining groups in our district a two-percent raise, and so we feel we are in a very strong, positive position, financially.” No significant changes have been made with regard to staff for the next school year with hiring activities and retiring personnel numbers remaining in balance.
Among the presentations made, McCoy provided an update on construction at the school. “We’re nearly a month ahead on the Humanities Building remodel…and that’s slated to be done by August 1,” he reports, adding that power at Sonora High School will be shut down for the next month in order to facilitate construction needs. Overall, the $4 million project is going well, he states, as the district remains on hold for another bond sale in order to move forward on the stadium project.
Student Focus, Looking Ahead
With regard to new programs and student curriculum trends, McCoy points out that expanding the school’s strong career technical education remains a focus. Among these, he calls the freshmen engineering program a strong program and “really positive addition,” and gives a shout out to the advanced placement classes, which now number 12.
During a closed session on student matters within the board meeting the subject of bullying was specifically addressed when a parent came forward to share what McCoy calls “some very sincere concerns.” The district has been working on bullying policies for ten years, according to McCoy. His comment: “We’re continuing to be mindful. Unfortunately, so much happens off-campus…with social media, texting…in the neighborhood which is hard for us to control at the school site.” The parents, he says, are now working with school administrative staff over the matter and the board plans to further address it at its June 23 meeting.
Although McCoy indicates he has completed his superintendent’s contract with the district he plans to work through the month, also sharing that he just started working in his new position as superintendent of Muroc Unified School District in Kern County. “I spent 17 years there…grew up…and my family’s there,” he explains. Shortly after his move, McCoy plans to marry his fiancée Susan, a teacher. In contemplating his time in the Mother Lode, McCoy says he is proud of his past seven-plus years working with his district’s board of trustees, adding programs and improvements under very financially challenging times.