Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District update

What’s happening in the neighborhood?

Concerns are growing among students and parents as many experienced and successful principals, teachers and administrators have left the Placentia-Yorba Linda School District in the past year. This unexpected departure has raised important questions about what is happening at school board level.

Why do we think so many teachers and administrators have left this year?

First the backstory…

The PYLUSD school board searched for a new superintendent just over a year ago. Three of the five school board members have approved a private search firm. However, other local districts have dismissed the same search firm due to poor performance.

In appointing Superintendent Alex Cherniss, the same three board members approved a significant salary increase for the superintendent and the replacement of all existing assistant superintendent positions. The same three board members have Dr. Cherniss has seemingly been given free rein to implement any policy or initiative he wishes, without any board oversight, budget consideration, or overall impact on the district.

What has been the effect on teachers and staff?

Many of the remaining teachers and staff in the district believe that the superintendent and ongoing administration policies directly influenced these departures, but they have chosen to remain silent to avoid possible retaliation.

Has anyone else noticed what’s happening?

The Cal State Fullerton College of Education has withdrawn teacher candidates from teaching students in the PYLUSD district due to policies implemented by the board.

What is the Universal Sports Institute (USI)?

The goal of the Universal Sports Institute, which Superintendent Cherniss leads, is to provide elite athletes with additional time to train in their sports by enrolling in an independent, study-based education program that allows them to homeschool throughout the district . The total number of athletes is expected to be around 200, and the program is open to any student in the area, regardless of their home district.

This institute is being built in a building that previously supported the district’s online school, the Buena Vista Virtual Academy, which was moved with little notice to make room for the new institute.

How did USI become part of the district’s plan?

The majority of the superintendent and school board have not provided an in-depth analysis of the district’s cost-benefit ratio or the general justification for this institution.

They haven’t sought public input on their plans, and more importantly, they only set the total budget for the project a day ago. The fees for athletes to visit the institute are freeSo local taxpayers will pay all costs.

In addition, all registered athletes can participate in one of the district’s four high school athletic programs, regardless of their home school district.

This means residents of Placentia and Yorba Linda are paying elite athletes from other school districts to take potential team spots from local athletes.

USI in numbers

According to PYLUSD’s new budget, the total costs of the Universal Sports Institute are the same $3.6 million.

It does not appear to include the significant ongoing costs of staff salaries, consulting fees, software subscriptions or equipment upgrades, which would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in addition to build-out.

In there $3.6 million budget, the local gym providing counseling services will be paid $400,000 throughout the contract.

The budget also shows one $250,000 subscription to a training software application that may or may not be necessary.

These in themselves are staggering figures. Considering that only one bid was received to run this sports facility, and it was won by the exact same gym that helped prepare the original request for proposal, then this project should be halted until clear conflict of interest has been investigated. .

According to many sources, that same gym is conveniently (and suspiciously) located in Yorba Linda and helps train the Superintendent’s children.

The majority of the board approved the first $1.2 million during a hastily scheduled special board meeting on May 14 at 3 p.m.

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