School board, city host joint meeting

Members discuss future development, facilities and more

SOLEDAD — Soledad City Council and Soledad Unified School District Board met Nov. 2 to talk about communication, facilities, future development and more.

The Thursday night meeting at the Soledad High School multipurpose room was the first summit of both council and board of the 2017-18 school year. Facilitating the joint meeting was Bridget Massie.

After the two groups had a couple ice-breakers it was time to get to work and discuss what the two partners — city and school board — wanted to see in four different areas.

The first area discussed was communication with team members Carla Stewart from the City Council and Jaime Fernandez from the school board. Stewart and Fernandez said the two groups should have communication regarding projects that affected finances of either agency and anything related to housing or development.

The second area was services consisting of Council Member Anna Velazquez and Board Trustee President Jodi Massa.

"We spent a little bit more time talking about the concept of the youth council," said Velazquez. "We talked about the existing model that we have with the Gonzales Youth Council and how do we involve our youth in that civic engagement."

Velazquez says that there are a lot of existing leadership groups already at the school district. The next steps would be continuing to coordinate efforts to what resources are already available for the youth and how do the two organizations work together to form an effective youth council.

The school board and council also discussed facilities. Superintendent Tim Vanoli, Mayor Pro-Tem Alejandro Chavez and Board Trustee Javier Galvan spoke about Frank Ledesma Elementary School regarding the gate between the school and the ball field so it can be used separate from the school.

"There's not enough fields in town," said Vanoli. "We're developing Gallardo Park as we speak and we still have a lot of year-round little league, winter league, etc. We need more space."

The group also spoke about having more lighting for the soccer at the city parks.

As for future development, the final area, Mayor Fred Ledesma pointed out that the City of Soledad has the largest percentage of 0 to 18 year olds in all of Monterey County, so recreation facilities are a necessity.

"Not just athletic fields, but joint use facilities," said Ledesma.

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