BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
The board of the tax-funded Sequoia Healthcare District has scheduled a vote to say that it won’t be cutting $4 to $5 million in contributions it makes to the Sequoia Union High School District.
The action comes after the school board got an email from healthcare board member Aaron Nayfack, who doesn’t want the freshman honors program restored. School board member Sathvik Nori said he felt Nayfack’s email was a threat.
Nayfack lives in the high school district and wrote an email to the school district’s board on Tuesday (Sept. 19) that said in part:
“It has come to my attention that the study session tomorrow evening will be focused on undoing some of the strong equity reforms that SUHSD put in place in 2019. I strongly urge you to reconsider this path as I would hate to have anything jeopardize the long partnership between SUHSD and the Sequoia Healthcare District,” Nayfack wrote, identifying himself as the president of the Sequoia Healthcare District’s board.
The “equity reforms” Nayfack mentioned included eliminating honors classes for freshmen, and having the same classes for all freshmen, though school officials say the curriculum would be enhanced. Word spread among parents in the district. Last year, Nori, then a 19-year-old Stanford sophomore, won a seat on the board running on a platform of restoring the honors program.
On the spectrum of school curriculum, Nayfack is on the opposite end from Nori, favoring a curriculum that emphasizes equity.
Regardless of their personal views, Nayfack brought the healthcare district into the controversy even though its board hadn’t discussed this week’s school board item.
When the Post questioned Nayfack about his email, he said he had no intention of eliminating funding to the district, saying it would hurt the students his district is worried about.
School board member Nori said he read Nayfack’s email as a threat.
On Thursday, the healthcare board will have a meeting at Filoli Gardens in Woodside and on its agenda is “approval of board position statement regarding SUHSD continued funding.” The item is scheduled to last five minutes. However, further information about the agenda item won’t be posted online until Monday (Sept. 25).
Nayfack told the Post yesterday that the item will affirm the district’s intention to fund the Sequoia Union High School District and the K-8 districts that send students to the district.
“Nothing more, nothing less. It’ll be a one-sentence item,” Nayfack said.
Nayfack said since Nori said he felt threatened by Nayfack’s email, he wanted to “recommit” to the district to the funding.
Messages left for Nayack’s colleagues on the healthcare board were not returned yesterday.
The healthcare district was formed in 1946 to fund Sequoia Hospital with property taxes. In 1996, the hospital was sold to Catholic Healthcare West, now Dignity Health, so the district’s board gives $14 million it receives in taxes to health care nonprofits.