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Minutes of Board of Directors Meeting

   October 19, 2021  6:30pm  Creative Arts Classroom #202

1601 Turk St. San Francisco, CA 94115


Notice of Virtual Meeting - English Aviso de Reunión Virtual  - Español

Publish-to-web version of these meeting minutes.

A meeting of the Board of Directors (“Board”) of CREATIVE ARTS CHARTER SCHOOL (“CACS”) was held at 6:30 pm on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 at 1601 Turk St, San Francisco, California via a virtual meeting.

[2021-10-19] Meeting Notice & Agenda - English

[2021-10-19] Aviso de Reunión y Agenda - Español

The Spanish version of this document was translated using Google Translate, apologies for errors.

La versión en español de este documento se tradujo con Google Translate, disculpas por los errores.

Following are the minutes of the meeting.

Welcome & Check-in Eric T. and Janina

Meeting called to order at 6:38 pm




Board Members

Eric Talbert, President


Justin Amirault, Treasurer


Laura Farley, Staff Representative


Janina Floyd, Secretary


Alecia Barillas


Melanie Brooks



Janice Cavaliere


Grace Cortez


Scot Gensler


Manda Simpson


Kristine Waggener


Staff Members

Fernando Aguilar


Maria Jenerik



Jenny Kipp


Ann Ledo-Lane


Approve Consent Agenda =

This meetings agenda + Prior meeting minutes - Eric T. & Janina

[2021-10-19] Meeting Notice & Agenda - English

[2021-10-19] Aviso de Reunión y Agenda - Español





Public Comment on General Matters - Eric T.

Board actively listens to comments shared by CACS community members.

Vote on CACS new  Independent Study (IS) Policy

One update was made to the IS policy;

Language in section 3 was updated from physician to licensed medical professional based on feedback on the discussion from the meeting last week on the IS policy.

While modified quarantine is done in school, parents may choose to keep children at home, on a quarantine due to Covid exposure, the child will not qualify for IS but the absence will be  excused and students will be able to get their work sent home.

While the policy is complete once approved, it will take a while to implement as we need to train the staff on all the requirements.

AB361: Ralph M. Brown Act

Vote on board meetings to be virtual or in-person due to covid

Motion to stay virtual for the next 30 Days.

Essential Question (EQ) & Sharing - Eric T.

Board members were asked to read Anti-Racist Pivots to Defencesiveness (from Be The Change Consulting) as part of our ongoing work towards becoming an anti-racist board.  

Review and Approval of ESSER III Expenditure Plan - Fernando

ESSER III Expenditure Plan

Funding from the state was $204K in response to Covid.  Plan was developed on how to utilize the funds, input came from surveys by the community and teachers, along with meetings we held with the  Labor Management Committee, teachers and staff to get input.  It was determined we needed to fill the learning gaps that existed pre-pandemic.  The decision was made that the funds would be used for ongoing support in math and the continued support for african american students and families.

The funds for 2022-2023 will go towards the onboarding of a Math Intervention Specialist and the Director of the AAAI (African American Achievement Initiative) position .

Laura: Since the Math Interventionist and the AAAI staff is coming from ESSER funding will this be ongoing or until the funding goes away?

Fernando: Math Interventionist will fade after one year, and the AAAI Director position  will continue on from our general funding in the years to follow.

Board Election - Eric T.

Motion to approve certified elections results for 2021-2023 board of directors election: Eric T.

Grace Cortez, Manda Mora Simpson, Laura Farley as Staff Representative, and

Justin Amirault as Treasurer

Melanie, Janice, Kristine, and Scot will be transitioning off the board.  

Melanie and Janice agreed to continue to support the development committee

We thank Janice, Krisitine, Scot, and Melanie for their dedication.

Another Board Election is planned for June 2022.

Executive Directors Report - Fernando

Important Dates


Jenny: Correction, there was one Covid Case in October so far.

Laura:  Is there a plan for breaking the teachers for their lunch breaks when the kids stay indoors for rainy day lunches?

Fernando:  We must make sure the lunch breaks are taken, but I will let Ann answer how that will work.

Ann: We will let the staff oversee their breaks and the admin will step in for extra support.

Laura: Will students be staying in their own classrooms for lunch  versus the normally combined process in the past.

Ann: Yes, they will stay in their own classrooms.

Jenny: We have use of the cafeteria as well.

Manda: Can you give a status update on the onboarding of the candidate for the AAAI Director position?

Fernando: We are interviewing teachers for the 1st grade position to backfill for the selected candidate Ja'Melia, so that she can transition out of her current position as the 1st grade teacher.  We have a candidate we are interested in that will be coming in to do a demo lesson and if they work out we hope to have the role active soon.  We just need to fill the first grade position before we can move Ja'Melia into her AAAI role.

Manda: How has the return been for our students and families overall, how is everyone doing?

Fernando: It’s been a bumpy road, but how each student is responding also depends on their grade.  Some students have come back and jumped right into it because being online was not a good experience for them and they are happy to be with their friends.

We had a substitute today and when I asked her how the day went, she said; “The students at Creative Arts are caring, they are kind, they are  highly evolved little  human beings.” That really made me happy so I wrote it down.

Another part of this is their safety as well. We are still in a pandemic and want to make sure all the kids are still being seen in all this chaos, so we have to take it slow.  We have about 100 new students that we are trying to connect with. This has been the hardest year for me personally and professionally but also the most rewarding.  So when I hear the substitute say what she said about our students, it lets me know that we will get there, we will get through this.

Laura: I also noticed what Fernando has said, a quarter of my class are new students so allowing them to adjust along with getting everything back on track has been a challenge. I also notice some gaps in learning that I would not usually see at the start of 5th grade which I know is due to the pandemic and the past year of online learning. Overall being back is so much better and students are much happier being back in person so I know this return to school is what’s best for our students.

Alecia: I agree it’s been a bumpy road. Fernando, I appreciate you acknowledging the positive things that are happening, with all that’s going on it can be easy to focus on the negative.  This is the first year since 1st grade that we have experienced outbreaks in class and physical altercations, and Fernando and the team has been very supportive through the issues and I want to appreciate him and the team for that.  Not only for my family but other families as well.  Thank you.

Ann:  Thank you for saying that Alecia.  I agree it has been a pretty rough start to the school year, one of the hardest in my 24 years of education.  Challenges with students and their adjustments with behavior and different frustrations, building relationships with new families along with some staffing challenges where Admin is stepping in to cover classrooms. With all of that I am  still grateful to be back in person.

Jenny:  I would agree with everyone else, this has been a very challenging year, we are pretty maxed out but shining through it all we are maintaining at our core.  Usually I am managing basic family connections, and schoology accounts and now we have Covid on top of that.  This year we have 100 new families which is more than we have ever had so I wouldn’t be surprised if families didn’t feel as supported as they should.  With me being in charge of safety which I take very seriously I haven't had the extra time to do all the things I usually do so I encourage any families that feel they need more support to please reach out and let us know.

Eric:  Thank everyone for sharing, I thank Maria also and the teachers for all they do as well.  Once volunteering opportunities open up I know we will all be looking for ways to help and relieve any stress we can as a community.  We will get through this together and provide all the support we can.  A huge thank you to all.  

Justin: Can we get an update on filling the openings and where they are?

Jenny:  Openings are:

8 open in Kindergarten

1 open in 1st grade

1 open in 2nd grade

2 open in 6th grade

1 open in 8th grade

Justin: I encourage all board members to reach out to their friends and family to help fill those open spots.  Jenny, how far have we gone into the waiting list to fill these spots?

Jenny:  We are well  over 100 deep into the waiting list. The normal amount for us is by the time we hit 80-100 of the 500 or so on the waiting list, the openings are filled, but we are way past 100 and still have over 8 spots to fill.

Finance Presentation - Justin Amirault

October Financial Update

We are only at 436 students of our budgeted 448 in ADA funding creating a $108K deficit.

We adjusted our overall budget down $100K due to concern we will not be able to fill the open seats.

We need to look at integrating TK into our program, there is likely to be a State requirement to have TK available in the near future, and I think space will be our issue.

We are still in a good financial position, we have done a good job as a board with fiscal planning over the past two years.

We will likely get two additional years added to our charter renewal, which means we will not have to renew until 2026.

Laura: Out of curiosity, does anyone know why it is so hard to fill our open spots this year?

Justin: The vacancies are worse at other schools and I believe it has to do with the new structure.

Alecia: Based on SFUS data, it has a lot to do with people migrating out of SF.

Laura: Justin, Based on what you said about the TK requirement, what if physical space is an issue? Is that something we just have to work around?

Justin:  Yes, there are Rules around Prop 39 that would require us to find additional space.

Committee/Task Force Updates - Eric T.

Provide context to the feedback you provided in the document shared to collect progress towards goals.  Goals were set 2 years ago before Covid.

This year’s board retreat was in February with Verta Maloney on supporting the EQ and anti-racism

        Set 5 goals:

  1. Accomplished Board Recruitment.

Working on Board Election, Next Steps Board Retreat

                ***In-Person retreat planned Nov 6th***

  1. Accomplished Committee Structure.

Working on Generative Conversations, Next Steps Committee Meetings

  1. Accomplished Online Voting.

 Working on Hybrid Voting, Next steps Access to Voting

  1. Accomplished Administration.

 Working on Culture, Next Steps Orientation

  1. Accomplished ED (Executive Director)Contract renewal for 3 years.

 Working on ED Review how we can provide more support, Next Steps ED being more  specific on the type of Support we can provide




        Set 1 Goal: 

  1. Accomplished Updated Charter.

Working on Unity Group

Next Steps Board Committee Charters and making sure they have that same anti-racism lens.



Set 1 Goal:

  1. Accomplished teacher/ staff survey completed, analyzed and presented to various stakeholders.  

Working on code of conduct which came from a staff survey done 2-3 years ago and is ongoing based on the survey data  We are also working  translating survey results to more learnings relevant to in-person learning.

***Plea to other board members to join this committee as Kristine and Scot will be transitioning off the board.  Any board member interested in supporting the teachers of CACS and helping with collecting data acting on things teachers identity as needs, Laura would love to work with you.***

Overall goal/ focus we strive for a strong fundraising year that balances the value of equity and inclusion with the importance of raising the funds needed to make all of our goals a reality.

Set 1 Goal:

  1. Accomplished meeting and planning for the year.

Working on; formalizing this year's committee members, a more formal fundraising calendar with emphasis on the annual fund, and Auction Planning.

Next Steps; updated schedule and calendar invites, sending out an annual fund email out to the community shortly, defining the Auction team and schedule.

Auction planning will be a big push and we are hoping to do an in-person auction event this year which may help raise more.

Also anyone interested in joining this committee would be greatly appreciated.

         Set 2 Goals:

  1. Accomplished Have a Facility that provides safe and properly equipped & supplied, clean, up-to-code Learning Spaces for all of our 440 Students, Faculty, and Staff.
  2. Accomplished Sufficient Security Equipment and Protocols In order to Ensure Safe Learning Environment. And Drill it.

Working on; the Drill portion of security protocols, removal of K structure and installing new one -funding needed.

Next Steps; Implement Systems in Place to be able to operate Facility in order to meet Goals 1 and 2. And a manner to evaluate how we are doing and Implement Information Technology Plan & Goals that meets needs of Students, Faculty & Staff.

Alecia has followed up with the SFUSD real estate office about removing the play structure. We hoped to have it removed in the summer but we haven't heard back from them.  We hope to have an update by the next board meeting.

We have shifted some safety protocols around due to Covid needs so we are behind where we should be in the regular school year with all the training and drills but we are working on it.

We also need an IT plan, we currently don’t have an IT department and our hardware for our internet is expiring and needs to be replaced as soon as possible which will cost about 12k as outlined in the finance report.  Anyone on the board interested in supporting the development of a new IT structure and has expertise in that area assistance is welcomed.

Set 2 Goals:

  1. Accomplished Verified budgeting matters for base case to start the year.
  2. Updated budgets to reflect more stringent views of consultants/ad-hoc - implementing not to exceed contracts.

Working on; Real time accuracy of budgeting is a continued push for the committee.

Improving financial oversight for billings related to consultants and ad-hoc work and Prop J matters.

Next steps; Prop J Push / Continues push for more accurate financial oversight and Long term figuring out a way to optimize cash reserves


Closed Session - Personnel: Eric T.

Open Session - Report Back from Closed Session: Eric T.

Closing check-in and action items: Updated 20-21 Approvals List

Questions on the updates from the board? None

Action Items -

Adjournment - Eric T.

Adjournment 9:18pm

If any questions come up after the meeting please reach out to Eric T. or Fernando.