For its final regular meeting of 2019, the Pleasanton Unified School District Board of Trustees covered plenty of ground on Tuesday night, including reviewing new design concepts for upgrades to a key Bernal Avenue intersection and results from the PUSD School Quality Stakeholder Survey.
A high-priority traffic-calming project for the city, the intersection redesign concepts call for adding an additional left-turn lane from Bernal Avenue in one direction at the intersection where Sunol Boulevard merges into First Street -- where the PUSD headquarters are located.
"We need to add a second left-turn lane on westbound Bernal to southbound Sunol. We need to do it without changing the traffic signals and avoid causing even further delays," Adam Nelkie, senior civil engineer for the city, told the school board.
According to public records, "depending on the reconfiguration option, there will be an impact to district property and loss of frontage trees" requiring PUSD to negotiate a property transfer and improvements with the city. Nelkie said that an arborist recently examined the trees in question and "indicated these trees are at the end of their lifespan and actually in declining health."
Several alternative options for the intersection design are listed in district documents; the city's first and most preferred plan calls for widening to the north into district property, which city staff said has the "best geometrics" and lowest construction cost.
That plan -- which is the least expensive with a $490,000 price tag and doesn't require building any retaining walls -- also calls for the removal of heritage trees and acquiring approximately 5,400 square feet of PUSD property. Nelkie added that the preferred design could provide an opportunity as well to possibly add a gateway entrance to the downtown area.
The second, and most expensive, option would widen to the south into the hillside by the Pleasanton Hills Homeowners Association. Ten-foot high retaining walls, offset travel lanes through the intersection and the acquisition of 9,250 square feet, would be required to complete the estimated $1.7 million proposal.
A third option costing $868,000 would widen both to the north and south and reduces the speed limit through the intersection in addition to constructing six-foot retaining walls and the offset of vehicle lanes. The removal of heritage trees would be required and the city would need to acquire 1,500 square feet of right-of-way from PUSD and 3,900 square feet of right-of-way from the Pleasanton Hills HOA.
The design completion and right-of-way acquisition process by the city are expected to move forward this spring.
"It's a little hard to say," according to Nelkie, but if all goes according to plan, he said construction could start in spring 2021 with major construction taking place during summer after school is out.
In other business
* The trustees heard results Tuesday night from the second annual PUSD School Quality Stakeholder Survey, which polled 5,409 community members this past spring including parents, staff and students on "aspects of school climate including academic support, student support, school leadership, family involvement, safety and behavior, communication and community building, as well as overall school quality."
Sections for special education and so-called "504 plans" were also added to make the survey "more inclusive" this year, as was a survey option for community members currently without students enrolled in PUSD. Patrick Gannon, spokesperson for PUSD, shared the results, which he said "were pretty consistent with last year, which is not a bad thing, especially given the increase in participation."
Overall, more than half of all respondents rated the overall quality of their respective school sites as "good", and 24% to 48% of respondents in their respective categories rated them as "excellent." The district also received high marks across the board on academic and student support, and safety and behavior.
However, students marked the district lower in a few categories; exactly half agreed that their school had good leadership while 46% answered positively about their school's communication and community building.
But one section of the survey regarding 504 plans, which are designed to help students with disabilities learn alongside their classmates, raised concerns for some of the trustees.
Parents indicated they felt respected and comfortable meeting with their child's teacher, and 55% agreed the district "provides adequate information about organizations that help parents of students with 504 plans." Less than half -- 44% of parents with children with special needs that responded to the survey -- agreed that their child's 504 plan was accommodated.
"It could be that the parent expectations are not necessarily informed by the realities of the way school services are delivered," Trustee Joan Laursen said.
"In other words, they have expectations about something that's not actually the way school does business for a variety of reasons," she added. "The teachers are doing the best they can. They do really great work in this area but it's not being received by students or the parents, so I'd like to tease out a little bit more about what's causing this disparity (among survey results)."
* A contract for a seven-week science summer camp at Donlon Elementary School was unanimously granted by the board on Tuesday. Last summer, Galileo Learning LLC held a six-week science camp at Fairlands Elementary that received positive feedback and provided 50 student-weeks of scholarships for PUSD students.
This year Galileo is asking the district for permission to use Donlon's facilities for another summer camp program that would be a week longer and offer an extended daycare option, meals and 60 scholarship student-weeks, valued at $618 each. PUSD will receive about $44,500 as part of the agreement.
The board also approved the district's own summer school programs, which "will provide credit recovery and academic intervention instructional opportunities" in the form of credit recovery and intensive academic intervention for high school students, math and English/language arts intervention for K-8 students, pre-K for incoming kindergarten students who haven't attended preschool, and special day classes and extended year programs for identified students in grades pre-K-12.
PUSD summer school is projected to cost $798,090, which will be covered by General Education, Local Control and Accountability Plan, Title I, and Title III funds. Extended school is funded by the special education budget, and summer enrichment is fully paid by student feeds and LCAP budget assistance for students with financial need.
* A portion of Measure I1 revenue will be used to fund pilot testing of audio visual equipment in PUSD classrooms, after the trustees signed off on the $76,000 purchase.
According to the district, each classroom will be outfitted with "standardized audio visual presentation equipment, including a digital display, audio amplification and a document camera" in order to "optimize student learning by utilizing innovative technologies." Staff have recommended purchasing 15 bulbless projectors, and 15 interactive flat panels and mobile carts to be used in all district schools.
Staff at all 15 PUSD schools will be asked for input as part of what Superintendent David Haglund called a "school-by-school design process" to help determine which devices are best suited for the different sites.
* Multiple trustee appointments for various committees such as the Tri-Valley Special Education Local Plan Area, PUSD Audit Committee, City of Pleasanton Economic Vitality Committee, and Tri-Valley Education Coalition were also made during the beginning of the meeting on Tuesday.