School board approves salary increases for teachers union

Trustees also talk AP History materials, LCAP indicators, governance handbook

The board honored students nominated by their teachers for demonstrating the character trait of "compassion." (Photo courtesy of PUSD)

The Pleasanton Unified School District board on Tuesday unanimously approved a collective bargaining agreement with the Association of Pleasanton Teachers for the 2018-19 fiscal year.

A large component of the contract is a 2.5% increase to the 2018-19 salary schedule, retroactive to July 1. The settlement is projected to annually cost the district $2,163,073 over the course of three years, according to the staff report.

"We really, really wanted to try to find a way to meet the requests of the teachers," Board President Mark Miller said, later thanking staff for their work "going through and making the necessary budget adjustments to accommodate this salary increase especially."

"It's going to take some belt-tightening in various areas, but we really do feel this is extremely important," he added.

Specifically, the costs incurred from the salary increases will come from reducing supply budgets across district departments, reducing travel and conference budgets, reducing textbook expenditures and reducing the district's utilities budget, according to the staff report.

The proposed agreement also provides an annual stipend of $1,250 for speech language pathologists, behavior specialists, nurses and social workers -- "hard to fill positions," according to Julio Hernandez, assistant superintendent of human resources.

Additionally, the contract revises the language regarding leaves of absence in order to be in compliance with the California Rights Act, specifically amending items relating to child bonding leave and as to how employees accrue hours of service.

The agreement also includes instructional calendars for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years, along with start and end dates for the 2021-22 year. Although, the 2018-19 calendar had already been approved, Feb. 7 had been mismarked on the original calendar, and so staff were taking this opportunity to correct the error.

APT president Janice Clark was not at the meeting in person, as she was with her daughter in Southern California, who had lost her home in the recent wildfires. However, the association's vice president spoke on Clark's behalf, thanking the board for their consideration of the agreement.

In other business

* The board heard a first review on updated instructional materials for four Advanced Placement (AP) history-social sciences classes, as a group of teachers presented the texts they had selected for potential use, up for possible approval at the next regular board meeting.

This comes eight years after the College Board redesigned the courses and exams for these classes, and publishers have created updated instructional materials to match the redesign.

The selected materials include basic textbooks, online resources and supplemental testing books, to be used for AP U.S. History, AP Macroeconomics, AP Human Geography and AP Psychology. New materials for AP U.S. Government and Politics along with AP World History will be presented at some point in the future, said director of secondary education Ken Rocha, once the College Board has finished redesigning those courses.

In selecting the materials, the panel of teachers said they looked at qualities like cultural relevance, how the texts supported students' development of 21st century skills and how the materials helped with "scaffolding" student learning -- especially considering that for many of the students enrolled in their courses, this was their first experience with an AP class.

The cost of the updated materials is estimated at $513,000. A separate report with actual expenses is set to return to the board for potential approval at their Dec. 11 meeting.

* Trustees heard a report on the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) local indicators, used to measure status and growth for California schools and districts.

Pam VandeKamp, director of assessment and accountability, went over five of the state's priorities measured by these local indicators: specifically, basic conditions, implementation of state academic standards, parent engagement, school climate, and access to a broad course of study. The district has a variety of programs in place to measure these priorities, including School Smarts, the implementation of Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards, stakeholder surveys and more.

Although this was just a conversation, with no action taken, board members did question the indicators and whether they were in fact the best way to actually track these priorities. Trustee Jamie Yee Hintzke in particular pointed to the active parent-teacher associations at school sites along with parent volunteers as an example of high levels of engagement.

"To me that's something really critical, that's a really good indicator, at looking at ourselves, year over year," she said. "How much parent volunteerism do we really have? That's real parent engagement, and that isn't in here."

* Board members awarded an energy services contract to Indoor Environmental Services (IES) for the design and installation of the HVAC replacement at Pleasanton Middle School.

The contract will cost approximately $30,000 from Prop 39 funds.

* The board approved a contract with American Logistics Company (ALC) for special education transportation, for an amount not to exceed $150,000.

* Trustees approved the updated governance handbook.

*Board members voted unanimously to nominate Hintzke to the California School Board Association's Delegate Assembly.

* As part of their regular character trait recognitions, the board honored 14 students who had been nominated by their teachers for demonstrating "compassion" at school.

* Superintendent David Haglund took time in his report to address the fires raging across the state right now, noting that many groups across the district are working to support those affected, especially highlighting collection efforts by Amador band students.

In closing comments, he also added that PUSD is hosting a job fair at Village High School on Dec. 1 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., as the district seeks to hire additional substitute teachers and classified substitutes.

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14 people like this
Posted by Spudly
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Nov 14, 2018 at 9:37 am

The teachers deserve more pay. The citizens deserve a reduced long term liability in terms of retirement. Was that part of the deal?

3 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 14, 2018 at 10:08 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Web Link

“The settlement is projected to annually cost the district $2,163,073 over the course of three years, ”

Well, it’s $2.2MM annually in perpetuity and only until the next raise (and does not appear to include classified yet)—they just don’t show the budget beyond three years.

“It's going to take some belt-tightening in various areas,” I certainly hope they were looking for funds to operate a new school at the same time.

8 people like this
Posted by Get the facts
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 14, 2018 at 7:51 pm

Kathleen, I'm bummed you didn't run for school board, the two incumbents ran unopposed. You came so close last time, any consideration of running again?

5 people like this
Posted by Greedy
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Nov 15, 2018 at 8:01 am

Seems like any unionized group (Teachers, BART) always hold the public hostage for raises. I bet within the next two years, teachers will demand another raise, which will again, set the schools back and would have to cut other programs.

On a different note, there should be an audit on the school budget. With property tax increasing each year, that means more money for the school districts. How does all that extra money being spent?

5 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 15, 2018 at 1:01 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Gtf, your very kind to ask. I’d much rather find, encourage, and support some younger people—at least younger than me.

I worry that without open/public negotiations, administrators will continue to recommend large raises, which they themselves inevitably benefit from. It’s a pretty closed loop where the public has little opportunity to speak. I understand/agree teachers—the best teachers—deserve better pay and benefits, but there seem to be few trade offs for the money, such as 5 years before being granted tenure. And, sadly, we have a board willing to continue the same approach without negotiating change.

2 people like this
Posted by James
a resident of Val Vista
on Nov 15, 2018 at 2:35 pm for a new school? What about the "super School" proposed for Donlon in the Val Vista neighborhood. That's somewhat under the radar, the only people aware of this are residents with children in the schools.

3 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 15, 2018 at 8:28 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

James, the new school is part of the bond money. Splitting Donlon into TK-2 and 3-5 (or some similar split) would be financially credible and adds capacity where it is needed. I’ve mentioned this plan out here (it was Steve Maher who suggested it), but staff keeps avoiding bringing it forward as a plan to explore. The board doesn’t seem to be pressing staff (we’ve wasted precious time), although I believe there will be a meeting in December on next steps where this idea may get some loft.

They want another $124MM in bonds by 2020. If they have not decided on and started work on the Donlon plan or an actual new school, I will campaign against any more bond money until they make progress.

9 people like this
Posted by idrownkittens
a resident of Amador Estates
on Nov 16, 2018 at 2:29 am

The Bay Area CPI has been hovering between 3 and 4 percent the past few years. A 2.5 percent pay "raise" for teachers is a pay cut in real terms. Any way you slice it, this is more than reasonable and probably a bad deal for the teachers.

6 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 16, 2018 at 10:18 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

The problem, idk, is that the district isn’t getting those CPI increases from the state and every raise given to staff compounds the contributions from the district to STRS and PERS. So while we want to pay competitive salaries, those “belt tightening”* measures are always to classified staff (think library hours, custodial services, maintenance personnel) and program (Barton reading is a classic example). The system is broken and no one is doing anything to fix it; we just keep giving money we don’t have and hoping the future gets brighter.

*Keep in mind, belt tightening measures are why a large portion of the $270MM bond is for repairing everything that wasn’t maintained for many years and why so much is critical to fix now. So we will spend those millions to catch up the facilities and have no one to keep them maintained . . . Again.

4 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Nov 16, 2018 at 5:41 pm

@KR. Not only is the system broken but the school board is also broken and we aren’t passing another school bond till we get what was promised from this last bond, don’t want to hear any more excuses the checkbook is closed to writing blank checks to this school board. Our teachers deserve more than this pitiful 2.5% pay raise, they certainly won’t be buying homes where they work on that kind of money, makes it tough to recruit new teachers.

4 people like this
Posted by Question
a resident of Birdland
on Nov 16, 2018 at 8:01 pm

Didn’t the Sup get a 4% raise? Others in the system get less, both in % and total $ raise. Board sent a clear message to staff about priorities.

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

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