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PUSD turning to state for career tech facilities funding

School board meeting moved to Monday night due to Yom Kippur

The Pleasanton school board’s next meeting has been rescheduled for Monday night to accommodate those observing the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur, which starts at sundown Tuesday.

Other than the date change, the Oct. 7 meeting will take place at the board's usual time, with closed session starting 5:30 and the public session at 7 p.m., in the Pleasanton Unified School District boardroom, 4665 Bernal Ave. Routine business like the approval of purchase orders and service contracts make up most of the meeting’s brief agenda.

One of the key items that evening is an update and possible action on the district’s Career Technical Education Master Plan, which involves constructing several new science classrooms and buildings at both Foothill and Amador Valley high schools so that “students in these classes will benefit greatly by facilities that better simulate real life work-based learning environments.”

PUSD has been trying to secure matching state funds since last year for two new science classrooms and a new one-story building that will be built near the main entrance at Foothill and replace six portables on campus using mostly Measure I1 revenue.

Last year staff applied for an additional $6 million from the state to add new state-of-the-art CTE facilities for students enrolled in bioscience and engineering classes, including two computer science rooms and two biomedical science labs. Two new computer science classrooms will also be added at Amador.

Public documents state that “the new facilities will be greatly enhanced if the district is awarded further financial assistance” through state funding from Proposition 51, which authorizes $9 billion in general obligation bonds to build or modernize K-12 public school facilities including $500 million specifically for CTE facilities. A district-matching amount is required for applicants.

A total of four applications would be submitted to the state Office of Public School Construction; three applications for the engineering, health sciences, and information and communications technology (ICT) sectors on behalf of Foothill, while Amador Valley would focus on just ICT.

Foothill would leverage its approved Measure I1 bond money to acquire matching CTE new construction grant money -- up to $3 million per pathway for a potential matching total of $9 million -- and Amador would do the same for up to $3 million of approved funds.

District leaders, including Superintendent David Haglund, both Foothill and Amador principals and CTE staff at both campuses, have recommended that the board approves submitting the grant applications by the Dec. 2 deadline. Construction is expected to break ground next summer or fall.

In other business

* More than $3.8 million in purchase orders at various district sites from last month are listed on the consent calendar and will be reviewed and potentially approved on Tuesday. Most of the expenses are reimbursements for staff travel, classroom and office supplies and contracted services such as Wheels bus tickets for students.

A separate board report also to be accepted that evening details another $5.7 million of warrants produced and amounts expended from various funds for the month of September. The items listed in that document are similar to the purchase orders and include textbooks and computer equipment, as well as interpreting services.

* The board is set to approve a resolution for Red Ribbon Week that evening with the goal to “encourage all students to choose to live free of drug and substance abuse.”

PUSD schools have activities planned for Red Ribbon Week, which will be held Oct. 23-31. The Pleasanton Police Department is donating a $1,000 grant for the event.

Julia Baum is a staff writer for the Pleasanton Weekly. Reach her at jbaum@pleasantonweekly.com or 925-600-0840, ext. 111.

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