Pleasanton Weekly

News - June 6, 2014

Parents oppose school calendar changes

12 parents, 1 student speak during public comment session

by Amanda Aguilar

The school district's boardroom was standing-room only with parents eager to learn more and voice their opinions about the non-traditional class calendar options during Tuesday night's school board meeting.

Most parents that spoke during public comment were against the proposed calendar change that would start in 2015-16, with many saying the district terribly mishandled public communication on the topic.

"I feel like you're trying to slide this under us," said Pleasanton Middle School parent Tracy Whelan.

Many parents echoed her statement, saying that they didn't know the district was looking at modifying the instructional calendar.

However, a Pleasanton parent who asked to remain anonymous said, "Those parents have to be out of the loop to not know about the change. This has been in talk since October. There were forums and emails about the calendar options, and all the information is online."

In response to the argument that the modified calendar would help reduce student stress, Pleasanton parent Rodney Rolaff stated that the district should not be eliminating stress for students, but teaching them how to deal with stress by keeping the traditional calendar.

"If the biggest thing that you have is to reduce stress, then you're missing the point on what you're supposed to be doing for these kids," he added. "They're supposed to get trained on how to handle their life after they get out of school."

In addition, Hart Middle School sixth-grader Julia Thomas presented the board with a petition with 163 signatures purportedly from Hart students against shortening summers.

Katie Brewner was the only parent speaker who supported a calendar change, stating that even though the modification is mostly for high school students, all kids would benefit from the change because eventually all younger kids become high school students.

"While change is often hard, the change and modification of our school's calendar is in the best interest of our students," she added.

After hearing the public's comments, board members approved the motion to send out a parent survey created by the calendar committee.

In other business, the school board approved the Deferred Maintenance Five-Year Plan, which outlines $5 million in anticipated major capital repairs needed on school campuses.

The school board recognized 15 Pleasanton students for various accomplishments.

Foothill High's salutatorians include Yandi Wu and Akshay Ravikumar, and the valedictorian is Bryce Wang.

Amador Valley High's salutatorian is Brian Shimanuki, and the valedictorians are Christine Xu and Ian Zhou.

Hart students — Daniel Jorgenson, Valentina Im, Yuna Jeong, Eleanor Savas and Alpine Tang — were recognized for qualifying for the state's National History Day Contest at Alameda County History Day.

Pleasanton Middle School's eighth-grade associated student body president, Nicole Zhang, was recognized for raising $3,000.10 in just over a year to help resurface the school's track.

Chloe Connolly (not present at meeting) from Amador, Olivia Brown from Foothill and Connor Castaneda-Warren from Village High School were also recognized for being the student board members.

Also on Tuesday, the school board appointed the new vice principal of Fairlands and Vintage Hills elementary schools as Shay Galletti, who is currently a Foothill teacher and Regional Occupational Program administrator.

The agenda also included an annual report from the Parent Teacher Association council. At the end of the report, the PTA council president Beth Limesand presented the board members a symbolic check for $1,938,960 representing the volunteer hours PTA has contributed over the year. According to the IRA, each volunteer hour was valued at $20.

Other matters discussed at Tuesday's meeting included the implementation of the homework policy, the 2014-15 proposed budget and the Local Control Accountability Plan.

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