Behind the Scenes at UUSD
At Ukiah Unified, we have a whole team of people who work behind the scenes to support students and staff, including Food Service, Fiscal, Maintenance, Operations/Custodial, Transportation, and Grounds. Many of the people who work in these departments do not work directly with students, but everything they do helps assure that students learn in safe, clean environments with the supplies and equipment they need.
FOOD SERVICE OFFERS FREE MEALS TO ALL STUDENTS
The Food Service team makes sure students have the nourishment they need to concentrate on their studies. This year, I’m thrilled to announce that we’re able to offer free meals to every UUSD student, regardless of their family’s income level. This has amounted to an additional 3,000 meals per week, and our Food Service employees, led by Director Jim Stuart, are doing an incredible job keeping up with demand.
FISCAL GOES PAPERLESS
Speaking of dollars, the people who make sure the budget is balanced, paychecks go out and bills are paid are part of the Fiscal team. These folks have spent the last year preparing for the July 2018 implementation of new accounting software, which has helped us move toward a paperless system. The Fiscal team follows strict business practices to prevent fraud and assure internal controls so taxpayer dollars are spent appropriately.
TRANSPORTATION GOES ELECTRIC
In Transportation, our exciting news is the arrival of new buses. We’ve started replacing old diesel buses with new, fully electric buses, thanks to Steve Spackman, lead mechanic who wrote a grant that was funded by the North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District. We’ve purchased three buses and a charging station so far. We’re in the process of applying for additional grant funding to purchase five more electric buses. We’re very happy to put our 30-year-old diesel buses out of commission.
GROUNDS TEAM GOES GREEN AND SUPPORTS ATHLETES
Just like Transportation, the Grounds crew is also going green, working with Deborah Edelman of the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District to install grant-funded rain gardens at Ukiah High School. These gardens will help capture and clean rainwater, rather than allowing it to get flushed down storm drains. In addition to campus landscaping, the Grounds crew maintains all UUSD athletic fields, allowing our athletes to perform at their best.
MAINTENANCE PUTS SAFETY FIRST
While our Grounds crew keeps landscaping in good condition, our Maintenance team keeps many other things in good condition. They complete hundreds of workorders every year, doing basic carpentry, fixing plumbing, heating, and air conditioning, managing locks and keys at all our schools, removing graffiti, and many other things. If a problem affects the safety of students or staff, it goes to the top of the priority list.
CUSTODIANS KEEP IT CLEAN
While the Maintenance crew is busy fixing stuff, our Custodial team is busy cleaning stuff. They sweep and mop and clean everything from bathrooms to classrooms. They also empty trash cans to keep garbage where it belongs. Our warehouse manages district mail and paper distribution, as well as running online auctions to sell surplus items.
WE INVEST IN SCHOOL FACILITIES AS FUNDING ALLOWS
Led by Director Gabriel Sherman, many people collaborated this summer to improve campus facilities. At South Valley High School, we remodeled the bathrooms, repaved the parking lot and basketball court, and have almost finished replacing the dilapidated old house that served as the Administration building. A new CTE classroom for our culinary arts program is on hold because of a lack of funds, mainly due to skyrocketing construction costs since the fires. Unfortunately, the demand for skilled tradespeople has far surpassed the supply.
At Pomolita Middle School, we painted the exterior. At Eagle Peak Middle School, we replaced the roof. At Calpella, Frank Zeek and Nokomis Elementary Schools, we put in new carpet and flooring in select areas. At Frank Zeek, we installed new playground equipment, thanks to the generosity and hard work of the Frank Zeek Parent-Teacher Organization and our Grounds and Maintenance crews. These are just a few of many summer projects we completed.
It takes a dedicated team to support our 6,000 students. Luckily, that’s exactly what we have at UUSD!