MODESTO — The Modesto City Schools board voted to move forward with designing Enochs High's pool and shifting boundaries to raise Davis High's numbers.
But first they faced about 150 community members gathered in support of Franklin Elementary Principal Michael Brady, Johansen High Principal Julie Moore, Elliott Principal Julie Beebe and Davis High Principal Lynn Lysko.
All were told in December that they would not be asked back at year's end. No reason was given for the dismissal of the at-will employees.
"I'm outraged by this as a parent, and I want to know why," Franklin Parent Teacher Club officer Angela Garcia told the board. Garcia said the club had folded and few parents volunteered before Brady came. Now it has 30 parents at meetings and lots of classroom volunteers.
Rotary Immediate Past President Betty Earle said Brady convinced several from her group to mentor at-risk kids. A probation officer who volunteers helping juvenile hall youth said Brady is a big supporter. Franklin sixth-grader Brianna Garcia told board members that Brady is "the best."
Several speakers complained that Johansen has had a succession of leaders "a revolving door," said staffer Debra Guenther each saying Moore stands out as connected and caring.
Big Valley Grace youth pastor Joel Boone said he sends volunteers to Davis and donations to Elliott thanks to connections he's made with the principals.
About 60 staffers, FFA students and Language Institute families stood to speak for Davis High's Lysko. The Language Institute there, which Lysko helped develop, serves students who are new immigrants.
"We are concerned. We want this program," said Iraqi immigrant Sajida Albayaty, whose son Mustafa is heading to college this year. He started the program three years ago, speaking no English.
Davis teacher Joy Koski said Lysko has been a role model for her and that the loss is a blow. Modesto is firing three of its four female high school principals.
The dismissals were not on the agenda, and no board members spoke to the issue.
First on the agenda were plans to go ahead with the Enochs pool. The board voted 6-1 to spend up to $80,000 to design the pool and get a closer read on actual cost. Ruben Villalobos dissented, saying this was not the time to go forward with a pool.
Member Amy Neumann said a better estimate than the $3.5 million rough guess was needed.
The board decided to limit spending to the design elements of the architect's total fee, estimated at $260,000. The vote does not approve construction.
Trustees voted unanimously to go ahead with shifting the district's high school boundaries, indicating they favored "option 2," moving Beyer families who live west of McHenry Avenue to Davis, affecting 90 incoming freshmen.
In addition, Enochs families south of Briggsmore would shift to Johansen starting next year. Another group, which lives east of Oakdale Road, south of Floyd Avenue and west of Roselle Avenue, will go to Beyer.
Public meetings will be held later this month, with the issue getting a final vote Feb. 4. In all cases, the plan leaves current high school students in place, changing boundaries for incoming freshmen for 2013-14.
Board member Stacie Morales said she knows parents who drive students between campuses every day to allow them to take Advanced Placement courses not available on smaller campuses.
Teachers and coaches spoke of disadvantages at Davis because of its low numbers. English teacher Trina Massa said the school no longer has a newspaper. A coach said teams are so small that the first string often has no backup players, exhausting the athletes before game's end.
The disparity of school size within the Modesto Metro Conference prompted officials of the Sac-Joaquin Section to move toward splitting the league last week, but Superintendent Pam Able said the governing athletic body "has taken notice" of the district's efforts to even out enrollment.
Gregori High Principal Jeff Albritton, speaking as MMC president, said the section likely will make its decision in April.
Bee education reporter Nan Austin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2339, and on Twitter, @NanAustin.