On Thursday, August 19th, the Long Beach Green Schools Campaign met with Dr. Juan Benitez, who serves as the LBUSD Board President and represents the third district. Dr. Benitez congratulated us on our work and informed us that he supports our initiative and its goals. He also informed us that our cause deeply resonates with him as the area he represents has a disproportionate number of families in poverty, higher rates of asthma and pollution, and the highest proportion of Title I schools.
Dr. Benitez also informed us that on the August 18th school board meeting, the LBUSD Board of Education approved a Sustainability Coordinator, and our campaign was an influencing factor in the appointment of this position!
Our campaign informed Dr. Benitez of our upcoming Long Beach Youth Climate Rally, scheduled for the 18th of September, 10 am - 12 pm, at MLK Park. He mentioned that he would like to attend and even speak at the event as long as there is no schedule conflict! Regardless, Dr. Benitez said that he can include information about our rally on his newsletter and social media platforms.
Dr. Benitez suggested that we keep working with LBUSD Facilities Director, Alan Reising, in connecting to the district's legal team to work on the language of our proposed 100% Clean Energy Resolution. Board President Benitez also mentioned that he would be happy to help our team review and edit our resolution, and will sponsor the final product!
We then discussed our proposed timeline with Dr. Benitez, mentioning that we hoped to be on the Board Meeting agenda as soon as possible. Because the next couple of weeks will be heavy in starting schools and keeping students safe from the Covid pandemic, Dr. Benitez and our team are looking at presenting our initiative to the Board of Education at an October meeting. The campaign will be working with Board President Benitez and Superintendent Baker to be placed on the agenda for an upcoming board meeting. Dr. Benitez mentioned that he found a lot of value in our presentation, and thought it would be beneficial for the rest of the board to hear it as well. This would also provide our team with the opportunity to present to the board members with who we have not yet been able to meet!
We would like to thank Board President Dr. Benitez for taking the time to meet with us during this busy time as schools begin to reopen! We look forward to continued collaboration as we take steps to make LBUSD communities more sustainable and equitable.