A contract for adding extra bus routes to temporarily help Amador Valley High School students get to class next school year is up for consideration at this week’s Pleasanton Unified School District Board of Trustees meeting.
Under the proposal, the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority would provide additional, earlier bus service for its 605 and 611 bus routes for the start of the 2019-20 school year while the Amador student parking lot facing Santa Rita Road is reoriented and a new solar panel structure is installed. The school board will review the contract at its regular meeting on Tuesday, starting 7 p.m. at the Pleasanton Unified School District, 4665 Bernal Ave.
District staff have been working to find solutions for when students return in August to a campus with just 50 parking spaces for staff and faculty, and none for them. More than 400 parking spaces will be unavailable for the several months of school, leaving many families and neighbors wondering how the situation will impact them.
Temporary parking ideas like using the tennis courts and junior varsity softball fields were quickly shot down by the Amador athletic community, and the district said that renting parking space at the Alameda County Fairgrounds was too expensive and raised liability concerns.
Pausing the project until next year was also dismissed since the solar project is tied to Proposition 39 deadlines, which is funding the $650,000 to build the solar panel structure. About $1.8 million in energy costs are expected to be saved over the course of the structure’s 25-year lifespan, while offering covered parking for students and staff and providing a source of long-term renewable energy.
LAVTA would provide “in addition to its main bell AVHS service, an additional, earlier inbound frequency in the morning for each of its routes 605 and 611, as well as a second outbound afternoon frequency for each of its routes 605 and 611,” according to public documents. Two buses would be added to the morning and afternoon service.
The additional morning service would arrive at Amador at approximately 6:40 a.m. except on Wednesday mornings, when no “A” period instruction is offered. Additional afternoon departure would happen at around 4:15 p.m. The overall route travel times are scheduled to take approximately 35-45 minutes.
Those bus routes would primarily serve the neighborhoods of Amaral Park, Fairlands, Ruby Hill and Vintage Hills beginning August 12 “until anticipated completion of the AVHS construction project on or around October 31, 2019,” according to the district. Student IDs would be honored in lieu of paying fare on all route 605 and 611 trips, including regular bell trips. The estimated $40,000 for the additional bus service would come from the district general fund.
The parking lot was due to start its “eco-friendly upgrade” this weekend, according to PUSD spokesperson Patrick Gannon, who told the Weekly that the district received final approval last week from the California Geological Survey and Division of State Architects to officially break ground over the weekend.
“Both of these approval processes were required before construction can begin. We are filling out required paperwork following these approvals to get the project going,” Gannon said, adding that staff is meeting with the contractor this week and “will begin some minor construction this weekend removing speed bumps.”
A list of drop-off and pick-up zones near the campus while construction is underway plus a campus circulation map can be viewed at the district’s "Amador Solar Parking Structure Project" page under the Facilities and Construction section of the website.
In other business
* The trustees will discuss the possible appointment of a new principal at Amador and a new Pleasanton Middle School vice principal during closed session before their regular meeting.
Amador has been through four principals over the past four years, including Nimarta Grewal's current stint as interim principal since March 4. Alberto Solorzano, the most recent permanent principal at the school, resigned from his post several months ago following a district investigation that reveal unnamed administrators had removed a grade from a high school student’s transcript, in violation of state law.
The district is also searching for a replacement for former Pleasanton Middle School vice principal Mike O’Brien, who is moving into former principal Ann Jayne’s position at Vintage Hills Elementary School. O’Brien, a 21-year veteran of PUSD, also taught at Donlon and Hearst elementary schools, and previously told the Weekly that he’s “looking to open, positive and exciting communications” with the Vintage Hills campus.
* District budget projections for the next several years will also be combed over that evening in a staff report.
The district reports that its finances are good overall but is eyeing tripling the state-required 3% minimum reserve to 9%, stating that the current level “is barely adequate and only covers about eight days of payroll for all staff.”
PUSD aims to accomplish this by “setting aside up to 20% of the undesignated reserve at year-end close.”
Recently, the district added changes from Governor Gavin Newsom’s budget proposal “to reflect the impact on the multi-year projections” and said that their budget gap-funding rate is now fully funded. “This means that all future increases to revenue will be only from the cost of living adjustment,” according to district documents.
Retirement costs for both CalSTRS and CalPERS are “projected to increase significantly over the next several years,” according to the district. During the past fiscal year 2018-19, the rate for CalSTRS was 16.28% and CalPERS was 18.06%. That rate is expected to grow from 16.28% to 17.8% for CalSTRS, while CalPERS could see big changes from 18.06% to 24.90%.