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School board agenda for Tuesday May 8 includes TA with APT

Original post made by Sandy Piderit on May 7, 2012

I was looking at the full board packet (famay082012.PDF) yesterday and saw a hopeful sign: the board will be considering the approval of a tentative agreement between the district and the Association of Pleasanton Teachers (APT).

You can download the full packet from this link:
Web Link

I am restricting comments to registered members because I do not want to invite anonymous swipes at the district or at teachers, before we hear the details about the agreement tomorrow night. What I would like to invite are questions... if you could be at the board meeting tonight, what would you ask?

I am not sure if I will be attending the meeting or not. It looks like this item comes quite late on the agenda, so I might try to go from 9-10 or so.

Comments (9)

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 7, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

What are the costs to be incurred by the district under the tentative agreement for the current and subsequent fiscal years?

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 7, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Some of what is listed includes:
Reduction in adjunct duties
Voluntary staff development
Increase in personal necessity days to 8
Suspension of the Support and Training Advisory Committee
Change evaluations for veteran teachers (10+ yrs) every five years
No open houses if there are furlough days

This is a collection of fewer duties and potentially more time away from the classroom combined with less accountability and training. With the exception of the extra personal day, I see this as bad for teachers and students. The lack of an open house is a real drawback for parents, particularly those new to a school or the community.

How is the district paying to "absorb up to a $242 reduction to the BRL" (Base Revenue Limit)? Assumption is this dollar amount is a per student figure.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 7, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Yes, the changes are listed, yet there's no indication of the associated costs or savings.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 7, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

For comparison, here's the link to the agenda and report for when the City discussed the PPOA contract back in January: Web Link There's a concise financial statement with some additional attachments when appropriate.

What do the changes in tentative agreement with APT cost or save? Are the individual changes worth the savings?

Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on May 7, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Sandy is a registered user.

Stacey, a TA is only for the immediately upcoming fiscal year -- so the costs or savings can really only be calculated from July 1 of this year through to July 30 of next year.

Historically, any concessions from the current contract will be framed in financial terms as an improvement over the current budget situation (which assumed no concessions at all). It's hard to calculate what the savings will be, though, because they are in large part dependent on what Sacramento does between now and the actual adoption of a state budget, as well as on what voters decide in November.

The district's planned budget cuts to date are almost certainly how they are planning to absorb up to $242/student reduction in the base revenue limit. If we use 15,000 as the total student population, then that per student reduction translates to $3.63 million at the district level. They have made more than that many cuts already this year.

Most of the items on your list of bullet points are already in place for the current year, Kathleen, because they were part of last year's TA. I'm not thrilled about continuing them, especially the suspension of the support and training committee and the "no open house" clause.

However, it's important to note that the TA removes the requirement to hold open houses -- teachers may still choose to hold them, or not, with the decisions made on a school-by-school basis. I know Alisal did not have one last year, but does have one scheduled for this year. Harvest Park also has one scheduled for a few weeks from now (not sure what they did last year).

I'm wondering whether securing the board's acceptance of the TA is tied to specific demands that certain positions are pulled off the layoff list. There's nothing on the agenda to suggest that, since decisions about what (if anything) can be "brought back" based on savings from the TA should be put off for another one or two meetings. This reassures me, but I would still want to ask the question if I were to attend the meeting.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 7, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Stacey is a registered user.


I agree that there is uncertainty due to the State budget situation, but don't you think it is known how much the TA changes cost or save from the current contract?

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 7, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Sandy, I'd agree it's likely from the budget reductions--which means all staff, and not so much "the district," will absorb the first $242/student. It is this lack of clarity, perfunctory narratives, and general shortage of substantive information that hurts the administration's credibility. I don't understand why the board members tolerate this. Any community member should be able to read the board packet and understand without having to play 20 questions.

Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on May 8, 2012 at 9:02 am

Sandy is a registered user.

Stacey, that link to the city's commentary on the potential impact of their TA is a great model to hold up for the district. I will share it with Ms Ahmadi and Mr Faraghan.

It is not clear whether any of the contract text and MOUs in item 1 have budget savings associated with them. I suspect not, since I think all of them were in place last year.

The impact of the collaboration MOU financially is not clear, but I don't think there are any direct budget savings. At the elementary, I suspect that the reason they will be alternating preps with collaboration on Wednesday mornings is because with the reduction in PE specialists, the teachers do not want to also give up all the prep time that having a PE specialist used to create for classroom teachers. The TA proposes that they get to keep half as much prep time, on alternating Wednesday mornings. They are still losing two prep periods per month.

I heartily agree that we should not have to read the tea leaves to try to decipher a board agenda item. Board members would need to ask fewer questions in the 72 hours between posting the agenda and the start of the meeting... and they would receive fewer emails from constituents asking what the heck this stuff means. Cabinet members should be more proactive about providing written explanations for their recommendations, rather than waiting for the meeting. Time they invest before the board agenda is posted would reduce time demands on them during the 72 hour period. If it also starts to generate more goodwill, that would be a huge bonus (and transparency usually does generate goodwill).

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 8, 2012 at 9:38 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Well-put, Sandy.

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