News

School board to discuss reductions, technology restructuring at tonight's meeting

Some library assistant jobs spared; not all positions restored

Pleasanton's school board will discuss ongoing layoffs Tuesday night as the board struggles to cobble together funding from other parts of the budget for the remaining positions.

The board meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the school district's headquarters at 4665 Bernal Ave.

A few classified positions in jeopardy of being cut if the district doesn't find funding in the coming weeks. Layoff notices have already gone out to several site technology specialists and library assistants, among others, and district staff hopes to be able to rescind some of those notices after Tuesday.

Several dozen jobs were being considered for layoffs because Pleasanton Unified paid for those jobs over the past several years with one-time grants and fundraising dollars. Layoffs were considered when those one-time funds weren't renewed in full, but district staff re-budgeting and independent fundraising reduced that count to 12.

However, some certificated staff who were set to be laid off resigned or retired instead, said schools spokesman Patrick Gannon.

Twelve jobs were in jeopardy of being laid off as of May 24. As of yesterday, the unfunded positions were: 1 FTE lead trainer, 2.25 FTE site technology specialists at elementary schools, .75 FTE site technology specialists at middle schools, 2 FTE library assistant II at comprehensive high schools and 1 FTE coordinator of maintenance services.

The district negotiated with the classified employees'union on June 2 and came to an agreement that library assistants will be funded for five hours a day, rather than six, which brings the district up to 7.5 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions.

Some of those library assistant positions will be funded through budget cuts agreed upon at the last board meeting.

The board voted on May 24 to eliminate a $50,000 budget for food at district meetings, to reduce the district's furniture replacement budget to save $60,000, to save $10,000 by not hosting a district Education Summit next spring and to cut $15,000 from the district's legal expenses budget.

Half of the resulting $135,000 will be used to increase other one-time funded positions from 11-month paid positions to 12-month paid positions, per labor negotiations.

District staff stated it cannot recommend funding any more positions with the remaining money until the state budget is finalized on or before June 30.

"The current budget projections as noted in the 2016-17 Proposed Budget (Agenda Item 14.7), combined with the uncertainty of ongoing revenue to replace Proposition 30 funds, limits the administration to recommend funding any additional positions beyond those noted above until after the state budget is adopted," district staff said.

"Accordingly, the administration has developed a technology support concept/model to continue to support our sites with the reduction of four FTE Technology Specialists," staff continued.

As a result, it is expected Pleasanton's public schools will have rotating technology specialists, who resolve computer problems and maintain the district's wireless network.

Foothill and Amador Valley high schools will share one site technology specialist, who will work eight hours a day for 12 months. The district's three middle schools will share two technology specialists, who will work six hours a day for 10.5 months a year.

Lydiksen, Donlon and Walnut Grove elementary schools will share two technology specialists, as will Alisal, Mohr and Fairlands and Hearst, Valley View and Vintage Hills. Those specialists will work six hours a day for 10.5 months.

One technology specialist will work at the district office and at Village High and will provide assistance to the other specialists.

Two additional specialists will also provide back-up assistance to other specialists. These staff members will work eight hours for 12 months a year.

The debate over how to fund the remaining positions brought up the question of why the district has been funding jobs with temporary funding.

The district began funding positions with one-time dollars about three years ago, Gannon said. Since that time, certain jobs have been funded with state attendance dollars and others have been funded by community fundraising organizations such as Pleasanton Partnerships in Education (PPIE) Foundation.

But since nearly the entire district's management team has changed over the past year, it's unclear as to why the decision was made during former superintendent Parvin Ahmadi's administration in the first place to fund ongoing jobs with inconsistent funds.

"This practice began under the former administration, and we cannot speak to the reasons why," Gannon said. "Moving forward, however, the administration and board believe it is essential to provide more stability district-wide."

The current funding model spreads out one-time dollars across three years, which Gannon said the district hopes will provide some cushion while staff works out a way to stop funding those jobs with one-time funding.

Staff also noted that the district's $230,000 budget for athletics is currently unfunded, which requires parents to raise the funds to keep sports teams going.

The district also needs $550,000 to fully fund its deferred maintenance budget, which means regular maintenance fixes won't get made until they've become an "immediate problem." The district is making a contribution to this fund, staff stated.

In other school news:

-The board will discuss the 2016-17 budget and the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) and the associated funding.

-The board will discuss the age of each district school. The district is considering putting a bond measure on the November ballot to fund renovations and infrastructure needs.

Comments

4 people like this
Posted by Crisis of 2008
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 14, 2016 at 10:07 am

"The district began funding positions with one-time dollars about three years ago, Gannon said."

This is incorrect! The district started funding these positions with "one-time" dollars and donations from PPIE and PTA/PFC's ever since 2008 when they were removed from the general fund.


12 people like this
Posted by Blame Game
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 14, 2016 at 10:13 am

"But since nearly the entire district's management team has changed over the past year, it's unclear as to why the decision was made during former superintendent Parvin Ahmadi's administration in the first place to fund ongoing jobs with inconsistent funds."

There are plenty of staff and Board Members still on hand to know the answer to this - since a few are retired employees brought back as "interim". I would bet that the district sees the donations from PPIE, PSEE and PTA's and PFCs as bonus money and uses these positions that were once in the general fund as "bait" in order to obtain more money for the district.

The funds from PPIE, PSEE, PTAs and PFCs should be for funding programs and projects for the students of this district - not salaries.




Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jun 14, 2016 at 4:55 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

2008 would be the administration prior to Ahmadi. And immediately after a series of large raises were granted. It's not a mystery that in order to fund those raises, other things had to go. In fact, there was a lot of robbing Peter to pay Paul back then.

If the positions are truly needed, where else to go for the funds? Programs and projects, by the way, often require staff, so it seems PPIE and the others are doing the best they can already.


18 people like this
Posted by Nope
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 14, 2016 at 8:19 pm

Casey eliminated many DO positions in 2009.

Ahmadi destroyed the reading specialist program and nuked the Barton reading program. She then introduced staggered start times without Board approval then hired so called instructional coaches. Then she used one time money to hire a bunch of her buddies in the DO.

Meanwhile she promoted Luz Cazares to Deputy Superintendent who negotiated a lease for a criminal visa fraud sham university to operate on the District property downtown.

Trying to blame Casey for Admadi's horrible tenure as superintendent is a lot like blaming Lyndon Johnson for Watergate.


17 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Jun 15, 2016 at 2:53 pm

Please get rid of the instructional coaches. Not saying they are not good at what they do, but they are not utilized by a majority of employees. If teachers need extra help, go to after school classes or go back to college (not being said in a demeaning way, but there are other alternatives). That represents hundreds of thousands of dollars that we could be using to boost technology in the schools and maintain librarians, technology specialists, and health clerks. These people are classified staff and get paid WAY less than instructional coaches. They also serve entire student populations, not 1:1 teacher help. Isn't there still that TV-TIP program for teachers who need additional help? Maybe rely on that instead of paying for instructional coaches.


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Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 15, 2016 at 5:05 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

@Kathleen Ruegsegger:

What are the names of the PUSD Board members in that period that would have interviewed and subsequently hired Admadi?


Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jun 15, 2016 at 7:01 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Grant, Hintzke, Bowser, Arkin, and Laursen.


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Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 15, 2016 at 7:14 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Kathleen:

Do you know how they voted to hire Ahmandi?
If it is unanimous?
Any no votes against hiring her?
If so, who issued the no vote?


Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jun 15, 2016 at 10:45 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

The minutes are on the district web site. Here is the problem with even bothering to look. Boards are told the vote has to be unanimous or the candidate won't take the job. Tough for a superintendent to start a position with one or two board members who don't want to work with you. What we'll never know is what happened in closed session prior to the open vote. There could have been a level of dissent, but if at least three board members are in favor and they are unmoved by the argument against, there's little reason to take the doubts public. Appraisals aren't public either. Doubters can apply pressure, but contracts are usually for four years.


2 people like this
Posted by AnonName
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2016 at 8:04 am

A few of the board members have expressed regret at hiring Parvin in the first place. Laursen now works for Parvin full time in Castro Valley so I think it's safe to say she doesn't regret hiring her.

At least she wasn't paid to leave.


Like this comment
Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2016 at 8:20 am

Get the Facts is a registered user.

Anon, what is Laursen's position in Castro Valley? She has been a full-time stay at home mom and board member while on the board, as far as I know.


Like this comment
Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2016 at 8:20 am

Get the Facts is a registered user.

Anon, what is Laursen's position in Castro Valley? She has been a full-time stay at home mom and board member while on the board, as far as I know.


Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jun 16, 2016 at 8:34 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Personnel Doc: Account Tech, Business Services since November. Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by AnonName
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2016 at 10:03 am

I found out she is working full time in Castro Valley when she updated her LinkedIn profile a few months ago.

She has also mentioned "now that I work full time" at a few of the board meetings. It's not a secret or a lie.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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