Posted by Sandy, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on Jun 29, 2009 at 10:59 pm
I went to the meeting, and there were techs scrambling everywhere beforehand. They had planned to air the meeting live, but couldn't fix the technical problems. They could not use the cameras in the room that they normally use, so they brought in other cameras and videotaped. TV30 will air the meeting in the coming days.
I estimate there were 20-25 people in the audience, and the meeting lasted till almost 10:30. Discussion was very thoughtful, in my opinion, and there were split votes (which I have not seen before, in my limited time attending these board meetings).
Posted by Hey Uncle Homerr, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Jun 29, 2009 at 11:05 pm
Well, I did show up to the board meeting and let me tell you, it was business as usual. Lots of talk from Grant and Ott about "kids come first", but when faced with the hard choice of bringing back dollars for students, they voted to bring back management. All the items on the agenda passed. No surprise to those in the audience. Arkin and Hintze voted no but were out voted by the boys.
Posted by Concerned, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 30, 2009 at 5:35 am
Too bad they voted to bring back management. The fundraising will be hurt as soon as word gets out. Why collect money for programs when the board just used some dollars they had to bring back management? Unbelievable!
Will the Pleasanton Weekly report on it? Because the community needs to know. I know I will tell anyone who wants to listen, and I hope the newspaper publishes an article about it.
Posted by Sandy, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on Jun 30, 2009 at 12:42 pm
I'm going to cross-post this comment here, because it explains why I don't think last night's meeting was "business as usual".
I shared the concerns of many here about bringing back administrative positions, and at the beginning of the meeting, I spoke about my concerns with bringing back administrators instead of teachers or counselors or intervention specialists.
It was definitely worth my time to attend the meeting and hear the other points of view expressed. After listening, I changed my point of view about some of the positions that were reinstated.
I think the hiring back of 1.5 middle school vice principals will definitely make it easier for teachers to focus on teaching. They will have more backup with discipline issues, and the vice principals play a role in keeping a variety of different after-school activities going.
There are two coordinator positions that were reinstated that bring in more revenue to the district than they cost in salary and benefits to hire. It's as if the district gets the services of those coordinators for free, because other districts also pay to receive the same services. (One is career/technical ed, and one is IT support of some kind, I think. Don't have the board packet in front of me.)
The retirement date for the transportation coordinator was extended because 1) this is the person who sets up all the bus routes every summer, and makes sure that special ed students in particular are taken care of when they are going to school and going home, and 2) there's a contract being negotiated right now that could save the district money every year over the next 5 years, and this person has experience with negotiating these contracts in the past.
The retirement date for the nutrition coordinator was only extended till Sept. 1, instead of Oct. 30, after the board listened to feedback from those attending the meeting.
The elimination of the public information officer position entirely would have meant that no one person at the district office would be focused on addressing questions from the public, and would slow down every other administrator's ability to do their job in a timely manner. Reassigning that person some responsibilities for coordinating Zangle, the new software that lets kids and parents keep track of their homework assignments and grades, helps to ensure that software can continue to be used this year. Students, teachers, and parents all benefit directly from that.
So, although I was initially opposed to all of the items on the agenda, some of them now make sense to me. And I was heartened that for others, some of the trustees (Arkin and Hintzke) voted against. I felt that my concerns were given serious consideration, and that there were board members who shared my concerns.
Until last night, I had not seen any split votes from this board, in the six months I have been attending meetings. The quality of the debate was much more in depth, in my opinion. Seeing disagreements getting expressed in split votes is a step in the right direction.
Posted by Sandy, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on Jun 30, 2009 at 12:45 pm
Oh, and the PW reporter was there, so I'm almost certain they will have an article later this week. The meeting didn't end till 10:30, so I think it's reasonable for the reporter to go home and get some sleep before she starts writing the article! Remember, the PW is a weekly publication, and comes out on Friday... so let's be patient, folks.
Posted by Katheryn, a resident of the Pleasanton Valley neighborhood, on Jun 30, 2009 at 2:12 pm
Thanks for that helpful recap. It was interesting to read your point of view of the events from the meeting. Like everyone at home, I was disapointed I wasn't able to view it live.
Prior to the vote to bring back the admin positions, was there any discussion/comment from Ott, Grant or Kernan about bringing back teachers in lieu of admins? Also, what was the general point of view from the community members who attended the meeting?
Thanks again for your honesty in your last post, it really is helpful for those of us who still have some suspicions on this delicate subject.
Posted by Sandy, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on Jun 30, 2009 at 2:22 pm
There were extensive comments about bringing back teachers in lieu of admins. Grant pointed out that they already had brought back 33 teachers (as well as some counselors) at a previous meeting. All expressed their desire to bring back additional teachers if possible through fundraising or after the state budget is settled. They also explained why they thought these particular administrative positions would make it possible for teachers to do a better job in the classroom, and how the administrators affect students in the district.
Only two people actually spoke at the meeting, so it was hard for me to judge the points of view of the community members who attended. This was especially difficult because I was in front, so I couldn't watch the reactions of others at all.
Posted by parent, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Jun 30, 2009 at 6:13 pm
Thanks so much Sandy. I also think it's really important to let people know that the money being donated to PPIE is not funding these positions. It's to go towards CSR, elementary strings, reading specialists and counselors. So please, don't let misinformation prevent you from making an informed decision.