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New Hart principal among leadership moves set for PUSD board meeting

Also: Superintendent contract extension, Valley Community Church offers 32 parking spaces for Amador, district budget up for review

A packed agenda marks the Pleasanton school board’s final regular meeting before breaking until August for summer recess this week.

The appointment of a new Hart Middle School principal and vice principal, a potential vote on next year’s district budget and securing temporary off-site parking for the Amador Valley High School community are some of the items up for review on Tuesday night, starting 7 p.m. at the Pleasanton Unified School District, 4665 Bernal Ave.

Prior to the start of the meeting, the board will decide in closed-session who should be named as principal and vice principal at Hart. New vice principals at three unnamed elementary schools will also be appointed that evening, as will a new assistant superintendent of teaching and learning to succeed retiring Odie Douglas.

Several weeks ago, Leslie Heller announced her plans to transfer from Hart to Village High School in the new school year, when she will assume responsibilities as new vice principal of the alternative education campus. Heller’s departure has left Hart currently without any upper administration, inciting a recent recruitment effort by the district to fill vacancies at the school before school starts.

The district is looking for a new assistant superintendent of business services as Micaela Ochoa -- district deputy superintendent of business services for more than three years -- is resigning June 30, according to district personnel documents. Last month, Ochoa accepted a position with the San Mateo County Community College District at the College of San Mateo. She was officially appointed to her new position earlier this month, according to PUSD spokesperson Patrick Gannon.

Ochoa was promoted in 2015 to her current post after filling in for former deputy superintendent Luz Cazares, who took an extended leave of absence before stepping down permanently. With Ochoa’s exit, PUSD is reorganizing the executive cabinet to remove the deputy superintendent designation from the business services position.

The board will vote on Tuesday whether to approve the proposed job description for Ochoa’s future replacement, which also “replaces the job description for deputy superintendent of business services,” according to the district. Salary and benefits are not listed in the job description.

The trustees will also consider a contract extension for Superintendent David Haglund, giving him a four-year term through June 2023 with a base salary of $298,225 for the 2019-20 school year. Additionally, three assistant superintendents’ contracts will be debated for three-year extensions through June 2022 with a base salary of $208,992 next year.

In other business

* Amador Valley High School and Valley Community Church are poised to strike a deal that evening for a temporary piecemeal parking solution while the campus student parking lot facing Santa Rita Road is reconfigured and has a solar panel structure installed.

Under the proposed contract, the district would have “a personal non-exclusive license to use up to 32 parking spaces in the church's parking lot accessible from Del Valle Parkway during school days from approximately 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.”

The short-term remedy is one of several that PUSD officials have recently worked out to address an impending shortage of more than 400 parking spaces while construction continues at Amador when classes start Aug. 12. If approved, the district “may use the parking spaces in the east lot immediately adjacent to the parking garage in the church's parking lot” from Aug. 8 until Oct. 15, when work on the Amador lot is scheduled to finish.

District staff also recently worked out an agreement to add extra bus routes for its 605 and 611 bus routes.

Starting the first day of school, Aug. 12, the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority will have “an additional, earlier inbound frequency in the morning for each of its routes 605 and 611” arriving at Amador around 6:40 a.m., except on Wednesday mornings when there is no “A” period instruction, and a second outbound afternoon trip for both routes.

Two buses will also be added to the morning and afternoon service. Student IDs will be honored on all route 605 and 611 trips, including regular bell trips. The additional bus service will use approximately $40,000 from the district general fund.

PUSD is also looking to contract with Bay Area Traffic Solutions (BATS) to hire flaggers for traffic control around Amador during drop-off and pick-up times while construction is underway. Several pick-up and drop-off locations near campus have also been designated but some neighbors told the City Council last week that they aren’t happy about the decision and think the district should look for new spots elsewhere.

A list of drop-off and pick-up zones plus a campus circulation map are available at the district's "Amador Solar Parking Structure Project" page under the Facilities and Construction section of the website.

* The school board will hear a report and potentially vote on adopting the district budget near the end of the meeting. More than $165.8 million in both restricted and unrestricted local, state, federal and Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) revenue is projected for the district’s coffers, while $171.8 million in total expenditures are expected to surpass that estimate.

The state-mandated 3% minimum reserve may be tripled to 9%; staff recently noted that current levels are “barely adequate” and cover roughly a little more than a week of staff payroll. PUSD would achieve the new level by “setting aside up to 20% of the undesignated reserve at year-end close.” No salary increases are slated for any group including faculty and administrative staff and nor are there any expenditures for next year’s election.

After making some recent changes based on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget proposal, the district’s gap-funding rate is now fully funded, meaning all future revenue increases will only be for cost of living adjustments.

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 number is expected to rise from 16.28% to 17.8% for CalSTRS, while CalPERS could leap from 18.06% to 24.90%.

* District finances are in overall good order but the school board has been considering extending the expiring Measure I1 tax rate with a possible new bond measure on the March 2020 election ballot. An update on a recent survey concerning the potential measure will be presented on Tuesday.

Last month the survey was issued to staff based on a list of priority projects, including upgrading the science labs at all three high schools, replacing the gyms at Amador and Foothill, and rebuilding and modernizing Vintage Hills Elementary.

Staff favored upgrading infrastructure district-wide like the wireless network and HVAC units the most, while covered lunch shelters, roof replacements and improved pick-up and drop-off areas and traffic mitigation were among the other highest rated choices.

The trustees have deliberated for months whether PUSD voters would support the proposed $120 million bond measure for next year, less than four years after approving the $270 million Measure I1 bond and a number of major Measure I1 projects like as the Lydiksen Elementary School remain unfinished.

During a board meeting last month, Board President Valerie Arkin wondered how a new bond measure would fare with the public after being told their taxes would go down when Measure I1 expires in 2020.

The potential measure has been equated to a tax extension because the tax rate for property owners ($20 per $100,000 of assessed valuation) would be the same as the rate being paid now related to previous bond measures in 1988 and 1997. PUSD has stated before that a new bond would fund $120 million in unfunded projects, like the ones listed in the survey.

The district’s Facilities Master Plan was approved last year but needs about $846 million to complete projects for all 15 schools. Approximately $145.5 million is still remaining to allocate for the Measure I1 projects lists.

Last month, a consultant advised the school board that they could wait to place the potential bond measure on the November 2020 ballot, “but we are expecting a lot of noise" for the presidential election.

Community polling would take place between Aug. 23 and Sept. 6,; the board would have until early December to vote on the measure for the March 2020 primary election.

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