• word on the street

    Word on the Street 

    We all know how quickly misinformation and rumors can spread and grow. Have you heard something about CUSD and want to hear the facts straight from us? Submit your question/what you heard through our form (linked to the right) and we'll post answers for you! Questions on the same topic will only be posted once. This page is not for California Public Records Act requests. Please see our CPRA page for requests.

    *Word on the Street (WotS) posts are presented as submitted - they are not edited in any way, including for spelling or grammar.

    September 7, 2022

    WotS: “Word on the Street is that CHS is not in compliance of the required DSA parking stalls.”

    Here are the facts: DSA does not mandate the number of parking stalls, just the number of ADA compliant stalls based on the overall number. We are in compliance with the number of required ADA compliant stalls for the CHS parking lot. 

    August 31, 2022

    WotS: "I keep hearing different things about plans for Late Start in CUSD. Is the District now committed to implement Late Start in Academic Year 2023-24? Thanks"

    Here are the facts: Please see response from August 5th WotS on Late Start - CUSD prioritizes and values student health and although as a rural district, we are exempt from the late start law, we are leading a comprehensive effort to explore all options for a later start that benefits our students TK-12 without harming marginalized families. To learn more about the various aspects of this decision and how to be involved in this process, visit our Late Start webpage here.

    August 30, 2022

    WotS: “The Word on the Street is that the group "Carmel Truth Bomb" is being fed content by a board member running for re-election.   I am wondering the "Who" of this group.  I am bothered by the secrecy and lack of transparent association with the organization.  Just wondered if you had access to who the group actually is.  I find the slogan so misleading and the approach of secrecy shady.  Thank you”

    Here are the facts: CUSD has no direct knowledge of this group’s membership.

    August 29, 2022

    WotS: "I'm still unclear - why is CUSD allowed to redistrict past the legal deadline of February 28, 2022?"

    Here are the facts: The date you reference was a deadline for those school districts which had already implemented by-trustee area elections. They had until the end of February 2022 to review and revise, if necessary, existing trustee area boundaries to make sure they remained population balance in light of the 2020 Census results. That deadline did not apply to school districts making the transition from at-large to by-trustee area elections - that transition may occur at any time. As such, the District is working to make this change in a deliberate and considered manner well in advance of the 2024 Board elections.

    August 24, 2022

    WotS: “This may not be a viable question but I have received numerous solicitations for "save Carmel" organization.  I am wondering the "Who" of this group.  I am bothered by the secrecy and lack of transparent association with the organization.  Just wondered if you had access to who the group actually is.  I find the slogan so misleading and the approach of secrecy shady.  Thank you.”

    Here are the facts: CUSD has no direct knowledge of this group’s membership.

    August 22, 2022

    WotS: “On August 19, 2022 CUSD published in the Carmel Pine Cone an official notice of public availability for the Revised EIR for the proposed CHS Stadium Lights. The District also posted the same information on its website.  Is the RDEIR really available now, nearly a week before the published release date?  If so, where can this document be found?  The link you provided does not connect to the RDEIR and, as far as I can tell, there is no "CUSD Announcement section".  There is no evidence of the RDEIR anywhere online.  Also, if the document has truly been released early and without warning, will that shorten the period for public review, which is currently set to end on Oct. 10, 2022?  Thanks for clarifying this important issue.  As you know, there's a lot at stake in making the RDEIR available to the public.”

    Here are the facts: The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires the public to be noticed prior to the date of availability, therefore the public notices placed in the Pine Cone and Herald on August 19th and the notices mailed, emailed and posted to our website on August 22nd. The notice is to alert the public that the RDEIR will be available on Thursday, August 25th and public comment period commences on that date.

    August 22, 2022

    WotS: “It's a citizen’s legal right to pursuing a CPRA request, so why is the Superintendent using intimidating language that individuals are taking away money from students when the information should be free?  Why is CUSD’s legal team reviewing the documents and running up costs if there is nothing to hide?”

    Here are the facts: The Superintendent is stating facts that taxpayer dollars are being used to review CPRA costs due to community members' threats of legal action against the stadium lights.

    August 22, 2022

    WotS: “Karl Pallestrini's comments and behaviors during the redistricting exercise during the board meeting was very disrespectful.  Why does the current board who is the not the right representation get the right to choose how it's being redistricted?  Isn't that like having the wolf watch the hen house?”

    Here are the facts: Maps are drawn in accordance with federal law and decisions will be based on feedback received by the trustees and from the community during the public hearings, board meetings, or any feedback sent to the district. To learn more about the Districting process, visit our webpage here.

    August 22, 2022

    WotS: “Is Word on the Street dead?”

    Here are the facts: No!

    August 19, 2022

    WotS: “Did Karl Pallestrini seriously ask how many students live in Carmel-by-the-Sea during the redistricting session?”

    Here are the facts: Board meetings are live streamed and recordings are available on the CUSD Board YouTube channel.

    August 19, 2022

    WotS: “School Board Member Karl Pallestrini quoted a Word On the Street post in the board meeting last night that we don’t see visible here.  Are all the questions being posted and do the board members see questions not visible to the community?”

    Here are the facts: We believe the comments you refer to are Mr. Pallastrini referring to requests for public records. Only the Chief Communications Officer has access to the submission form. Posts are also created based upon information shared with staff which needs to be clarified/corrected. Questions are posted if their topic has not yet been addressed, if it is not related to an employee matter and if the information is a piece of misinformation to correct as opposed to a personal opinion. 

    August 15, 2022

    WotS: "School board member Tess Desmond Arthur follows a controversial anonymous accountant that attacks private citizens."

    Here are the facts: The district does not monitor the personal social media use of its school board members.

    August 15, 2022

    WotS: "Do any of the community members posting to this site have children in the school system?"

    Here are the facts: We do not know who is sending the questions, so we are not sure of their relationship with any of our students.

    August 12, 2022

    WotS: "Celebrity Allen Funt had a daughter on the school board the year the performing art center was built?"

    Here are the facts: The district does not have knowledge of/nor do we keep records of the family members of current or past school board members.

    August 11, 2022

    WotS: “Did Warren Buffet's sister fund the building of the Performing Art Center?”

    Here are the facts: Bertie Bialek donated one million dollars toward the 10 million dollar project.

    August 11, 2022

    WotS: “We've heard the school district will continue to hold "father / daughter" dances despite the persistent request we become a more inclusive community to all people who want to celebrate caregiver and child relationship.”

    Here are the facts: CUSD will continue to follow all applicable policies and laws.

    August 11, 2022

    WotS: “Word on the Street is a legal team advised PTA members not to publish meeting notes to reduce their risk of being sued and that is why there is no public record of meetings and outcomes.”

    Here are the facts: CUSD provides no legal counsel to PTA. Please contact your site PTA for more information on this topic.

    August 11, 2022

    WotS: “You indicate "Questions on the same topic will only be posted once" -- so only one question per topic on father/daughter dances, religious rights of a menorah at the Carmel River School tree lighting, stadium lights, late start and mascot? All will be lumped into a referenced hyperlink to a generic landing page with a "no answer" brush?”

    Here are the facts: We do not believe it fiscally responsible to spend taxpayer-funded staff time repeatedly answering questions on the same topic. There are many opportunities for community members to engage in dialogue with the district and its schools; however, this page is meant to dispel rumors that may be in the community.

    August 11, 2022

    WotS: “Will you be posting and responding to all questions that don't contain profanity?  Is your legal team reviewing answers and will this cost tax payers money similar to the article in the Pine Cone?”

    Here are the facts: Questions/comments on the same topic will be posted and responded to once. CUSD is not utilizing any legal counsel to review questions or responses.

    August 10, 2022

    WotS: "Is there friction between Board Member Karl Pallestrini and Ted over consistent misquotes that Ted makes in the Pine Cone?"

    Here are the facts: Dr. Knight and Board Member Pallastrini are both veteran educators who are very passionate about students, staff and their school district. We can understand how, in a world where it might appear that people can’t respectfully disagree, some may think that there’s friction between these two, but they are simply two adults who are both passionate about what they do and are able to have difficult conversations over topics that they both know are extremely important to our community. There is no friction, there is respect, transparency and a dovetail of philosophy and practice.

    August 10, 2022

    WotS: "Regarding the proposed stadium lights, word on the street is that CUSD is avoiding installing ridge poles with flags or balloons or anything else for that matter, which would help the neighborhood and community at large understand what the real visual and environmental impacts the four 80 foot tall stadium lights would be. Word on the street is that CUSD fears a huge negative response once everyone sees the impacts. It's a requirement for all new proposed residences on the peninsula, and makes sense for CUSD to be fully transparent and do the same early on. You might be surprised at the responses and table the stadium lights at CHS idea, and look for reasonable alternative locations for a real sports complex."

    Here are the facts: The District is in the process of revising the draft EIR for recirculation in response to timely comments received during the original public review period. Any comments on the revised draft EIR or proposed project before the revised draft EIR is circulated for public review and its comment period are premature and untimely. At the appropriate time, the District will provide public notice of the availability of the revised draft EIR, at which time members of the public are encouraged to submit comments during the 45-day public review and comment period. Please be advised that, in order to be included as part of the administrative record and receive a response as part of the final EIR, comments must be received during the 45-day public comment period. In accordance with law, any future Word on the Street comments regarding the specific Stadium Lights project should be referred to our Stadium Lights page and the proper channels for submitting feedback at the appropriate time.

    August 10, 2022

    WotS: "A religious discrimination claim was filed against Carmel Unified School District when you refused to allow a menorah to be displayed at a community holiday ceremony on school grounds. What is your game plan to be more inclusive of religion freedom this year?"

    Here are the facts: CUSD did successfully defend a temporary restraining order brought forth by a parent in the district who claimed they were prevented from displaying a 6-foot, inflatable menorah at the Carmel River School tree lighting. 

    August 10, 2022

    WotS: "Whatever became of the Student Advisory Council's surveys about the District's proposed stadium lights at CHS. Were the surveys conducted? What groups and communities were polled? How was the data collected, analyzed and interpreted? When were the results presented?"

    Here are the facts: CUSD has partnered with Hanover Research to produce a research brief on rural districts throughout the country and their various approaches to the Late Start decision as well as to develop the survey related to Late Start options and implications. The survey is expected to be released in the fall.

    August 10, 2022

    WotS: "CUSD claims it cannot begin Late Start without first installing stadium lights at CHS to allow sports practices in the darker afternoons. However, many schools throughout California, including MPUSD, have successfully switched to Late Start without harming their sports or academic programs. Are we really such a special case in Carmel, or is the much-needed Late Start being held hostage as a cynical bargaining ploy to get the stadium lights over growing objections?"

    Here are the facts: To learn more about the Late Start process underway and how CUSD is unique to other districts in the area, please visit our Late Start page. Presentations are given at each board meeting highlighting the various aspects of the decision-making process being undertaken by the community as a whole. To learn more about the Stadium Lights project, please visit our webpage here.

    August 10, 2022

    WotS: "No one believes this Q&A platform is anonymous. Are you tracking IP addresses? Please be transparent on the data you are capturing on the back-end. What rights are individuals wavering in this process when a question is submitted?"

    Here are the facts: The platform is anonymous. The submission form is a simple Google form with no identification tracking whatsoever - no email addresses, no IP addresses, etc. The data on the back-end is a timestamp for when the question/comment was submitted and the question/comment itself. 

    August 10, 2022

    WotS: "As the former assistant superintendent for Douglas County Schools in Castle Rock, Colorado -Ted Knight does not have warm and fuzzy reviews from his previous students, parents and teachers in the district.  Was he fired from that role?”

    Here are the facts: No, Dr. Knight was not fired. He left Douglas County to take the job as CUSD’s Superintendent.

    August 9, 2022

    WotS: "Is CUSD being sued by the unmasked parent who had a legitimate medical excuse for her daughter not having to wear a mask on school grounds last year?"

    Here are the facts: CUSD has no knowledge of legal action on this matter.

    August 9, 2022

    WotS: "The tennis courts at Carmel Middle School are so beyond disrepair that even the team coach deems them unfit for students and unsafe. Parents of tennis team members were told that the courts are so dangerous that the coach wouldn’t play on the courts himself in fear of injury and he has spoken to the district for years to no avail. Why is the district putting money into the high school football field again before at minimum, making sure all school fields and play areas are safe for students. What is the district’s plan for making sure Carmel Middle School students are safe on the tennis courts?"

    Here are the facts: Tennis courts at CMS are on our future project list. The Superintendent and Chief Operations Officer met with the CHS Athletic Director to discuss moving all tennis activities in CUSD to CMS and tennis court improvements were part of the conversation. 

    August 6, 2022

    WotS: "The Superintendent has not relocated his family to Monterey County. His official residency is in another state. He files taxes in Colorado. This conveys he is not invested in our community. This is especially concerning when he is in charge of the health and well-being our of children."

    Here are the facts: This is not true. Dr. Knight resides in Monterey County, is a registered voter here and has a California driver's license.

    August 5, 2022

    WotS: "The district cares more about plants then human health and the water shed. They have posted dangers to health info sheets regarding toxic chemicals used on campuses. Yes, we were warned and had to agree to it when we signed up our kids for school."

    Here are the facts: The California Healthy Schools Act (HSA) was enacted in 2000. It is a right-to-know law that provides parents and staff with information about pesticide use taking place at public schools and child care centers. The law encourages the adoption of effective, lower risk pest management practices, also known as integrated pest management (IPM). CUSD utilizes eco-friendly pesticides and provides the required notification of all products and active ingredients to families and staff. We also focus on IPM strategies for long-term prevention or suppression of pests through a combination of techniques such as monitoring for pest presences, making habitat less conducive to pests, improving sanitation, physically removing pests, and using least-toxic pesticides when necessary as a last resort. CUSD does not use any pesticides not allowed to be used at/near schools (list found here).

    August 5, 2022

    WotS: "We’re ignoring the state’s late start mandate instead of prioritizing kids’ health."

    Here are the facts: CUSD prioritizes and values student health and although as a rural district, we are exempt from the late start law, we are leading a comprehensive effort to explore all options for a later start that benefits our students TK-12 without harming marginalized families. To learn more about the various aspects of this decision and how to be involved in this process, visit our Late Start webpage here.

    August 4, 2022

    WotS: "The Superintendent's contract wasn't renewed and/or the Superintendent has quit."

    Here are the facts: Ted Knight is currently under a three-year contract with the Carmel Unified School District (2021-22 school year through the 2023-24 school year). He is currently employed by the Board.

    August 4, 2022

    WotS: "Not having stadium lights at the high school designates us as a rural district."

    Here are the facts: CUSD is a rural district for several reasons, but stadium lights are not one of them. CUSD spans over 600 square miles and e-rate designates the following sites as rural - Carmel Valley High, Tularcitos, Carmel Child Development Center, Captain Cooper, Cachagua Children's Center and Apple Pie Preschool. Therefore, the entire district is considered rural. 

Submit a Word on the Street

  • Have you heard something in the community you'd like to have us clarify? You can submit your anonymous question through our Google form here.

    Jessica Hull 
    Chief Communications Officer
    Ph: 831 624-1546 x2022
    Fx: 831 624-1726