News

Pleasanton school board takes a closer look at E-10 school plans

Also: Trustees approve $831,000 Measure I1 purchase for new student Chromebooks

The Pleasanton school board took a closer look at one of Pleasanton Unified School District's largest capital projects during an online meeting on Thursday night.

Ultimately, the Trustees agreed to continue moving forward with planning for the planned fourth- and fifth-grade school at the Donlon Elementary site while staff simultaneously explore alternative options for the E-10 School project.

The option selected from among three presented to the board directed staff to "continue with the planning and architectural services work while developing a comprehensive analysis and alternative options to the E-10 School Project -- need to determine date of the report -- to the School Board for a final determination on the E-10 School Project."

Currently, the future campus (which would accommodate about 500 students, when completed) is in the planning and design phase, with staff gathering all necessary materials to submit to the Division of the State Architect for approval.

Some of the issues touched on as part of a larger staff presentation and proceeding discussion with the board that evening included TK-5 enrollment projections and school boundaries, school capacity and overflow, the impact of enrollment to other elementary sites, estimated project costs, and operational costs of the new school.

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PUSD spokesperson Patrick Gannon told the Weekly, "It was a request by one of our board members to bring up this item for discussion, as far as taking another look at Elementary School 10, given enrollment projections and where we are now, as well as what else was discussed last night, like the state funding for public education and what's currently forecasted for the future.

Gannon continued, "There's a lot of unknowns there because it's been brought up before that building the school is one thing, but we need to make sure we have and can plan for adequate funds to maintain those facilities as well as fund the staff. It was really taking another look at that specific project ... just given the amount of uncertainty with the COVID-19 pandemic and the catastrophic impact that's had on the state's economy."

As one of the marquee projects funded by Measure I1, Gannon said the board is considering more than just the cost to build a new facility but budgeting for also the additional staff needed to instruct students and manage the campus. The estimated cost for the school is between $750,000 to $1 million annually, including expected additional costs to begin in two years.

"If we were without the COVID-19 pandemic, we might not be having the conversation but since they're projecting $18 billion less in required fundings to public schools and community colleges, there are a lot of unknowns," Gannon added. "The item wasn't brought to the board to say, 'yes, we should do this project' or 'no, we shouldn't', it was just the board wanted to be good fiscal stewards and look at this project given our current and potential future financial status."

Construction on the future E-10 site is scheduled to break ground next spring, with the school opening for the 2022-23 school year.

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In other business

* The trustees unanimously approved several policies related to working and learning remotely while sheltering in place, and updated another policy concerning alternative graduation credits on Thursday. The consent agenda items were passed by the board in one motion without discussion, as is routine.

PUSD sites have been dismissed since the middle of March, when the regional shelter-in-place order was announced. Since then, teachers and students have been working and studying online.

The district said that "both of the policies are designed to be used during the COVID-19 dismissal and beyond in order to provide flexibility in educating students and structuring work schedules for district staff."

Both policies outline and clarify their purpose as well as state the district's general expectations in regards to grading, materials, supplies, instructional hours and communication while working or learning from home.

For example, the district's remote working policy states, "Employee productivity shall be evaluated using a variety of criteria appropriate to working remotely that may include time spent on task completion, projects, rigor of assignments, and quality of job performance in the same manner as all employees in the same position at the assigned school or office."

Students and teachers have some flexibility with the district's remote learning policy to self-direct some courses and study at their own pace. They are also free to use a variety of instructional platforms including online content, print material and live or prerecorded video.

The policy also affirms PUSD's commitment to "provide teachers with training and ongoing support, including technological support and guidance, to effectively implement distance learning."

The district's policy concerning alternative credits toward graduation was also updated that night for the first time in 15 years. With traditional graduation paths recently detoured by the coronavirus pandemic, PUSD has been working to give seniors alternative options to fulfill their graduation requirements and receive their diplomas. PUSD's policy on alternative graduation credits was implemented in 2005 and hasn't been revised since then.

The updated policy lists ten different means for students to satisfy their course of study such as work experience, career technical education or regional occupational programs, military service and training, independent study, and "practical demonstration of skills and competencies."

* With remote learning expected to continue for a while, the trustees also approved a one-year $178,000 contract for a districtwide learning management system that "allows for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, and delivery of educational courses remotely" among multiple users. The software application under consideration, Edgenuity, lets teachers monitor and view progress among their students.

The district currently uses a learning management system called PEAK in a limited capacity but said, "Recently students and teachers have experienced multiple limitations" and recurring issues that include a "lack of reliability," "challenging interface for students and teachers" and "difficulty modifying to accommodate district needs."

In response to those complaints, PUSD piloted several learning management systems for teachers to use with students in grades six to 12 during the 2019-20 school year, with Edgenuity winning the district's recommendation.

The $178,000 contract includes unlimited use of features like digital curriculums and customized webinars. The base $140,000 price "varies based on student need" and "is expended to support virtual learning in the summer school, credit recovery, home and hospital, and independent study programs." The remainder $38,000 "will allow for a variety of possible distance learning scenarios while providing a predictable expense not based on student usage."

* The board also voted to use $831,000 of Measure I1 funds to purchase 2,750 Internet-enabled Chromebooks and carrying cases. The purchase of the "new devices for these 2020-21 grade 6 and 9 students" was recommended by the district prior to sheltering in place.

That fact didn't go unnoticed; the district told the Weekly, "If we didn't have these Measure I1 funds, we would not be where we are as far as supporting students and our ability to support students through remote learning.

"This was all before coronavirus, but the importance and impact of the funding is even more impactful now more than ever just because it gave us the ability to. If the students didn't have the devices, we would have a very difficult time delivering engaging instruction."

A plan called the Student Device Initiative was developed by PUSD "to maximize the useful life of the take-home devices." Students in grades 7 and 8 and high school sophomores, juniors and seniors "will keep the devices they were issued during the prior two years of the Student Device Initiative," while sixth graders and freshmen "will be issued a new device that they will keep until they graduate from middle and high school, respectively."

Student devices issued to seventh-grade students during the 2018-19 school year will be returned at the end of the current school year. Incoming freshmen for the 2020-21 will be issued a new device when they start their new grade level. The district said the two-year-old devices will be cleaned, updated, and provided to elementary classrooms" and that "it is anticipated that this will provide approximately 1,200 devices to our elementary classrooms."

In addition to the estimated $801,000 cost for the devices and carrying cases, the Trustees approved a $30,000 "white glove" preparation service to prepare the devices for distribution over the summer. The devices will be delivered directly to the high school campuses on the day they are distributed to students.

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Pleasanton school board takes a closer look at E-10 school plans

Also: Trustees approve $831,000 Measure I1 purchase for new student Chromebooks

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Sun, May 10, 2020, 9:01 pm

The Pleasanton school board took a closer look at one of Pleasanton Unified School District's largest capital projects during an online meeting on Thursday night.

Ultimately, the Trustees agreed to continue moving forward with planning for the planned fourth- and fifth-grade school at the Donlon Elementary site while staff simultaneously explore alternative options for the E-10 School project.

The option selected from among three presented to the board directed staff to "continue with the planning and architectural services work while developing a comprehensive analysis and alternative options to the E-10 School Project -- need to determine date of the report -- to the School Board for a final determination on the E-10 School Project."

Currently, the future campus (which would accommodate about 500 students, when completed) is in the planning and design phase, with staff gathering all necessary materials to submit to the Division of the State Architect for approval.

Some of the issues touched on as part of a larger staff presentation and proceeding discussion with the board that evening included TK-5 enrollment projections and school boundaries, school capacity and overflow, the impact of enrollment to other elementary sites, estimated project costs, and operational costs of the new school.

PUSD spokesperson Patrick Gannon told the Weekly, "It was a request by one of our board members to bring up this item for discussion, as far as taking another look at Elementary School 10, given enrollment projections and where we are now, as well as what else was discussed last night, like the state funding for public education and what's currently forecasted for the future.

Gannon continued, "There's a lot of unknowns there because it's been brought up before that building the school is one thing, but we need to make sure we have and can plan for adequate funds to maintain those facilities as well as fund the staff. It was really taking another look at that specific project ... just given the amount of uncertainty with the COVID-19 pandemic and the catastrophic impact that's had on the state's economy."

As one of the marquee projects funded by Measure I1, Gannon said the board is considering more than just the cost to build a new facility but budgeting for also the additional staff needed to instruct students and manage the campus. The estimated cost for the school is between $750,000 to $1 million annually, including expected additional costs to begin in two years.

"If we were without the COVID-19 pandemic, we might not be having the conversation but since they're projecting $18 billion less in required fundings to public schools and community colleges, there are a lot of unknowns," Gannon added. "The item wasn't brought to the board to say, 'yes, we should do this project' or 'no, we shouldn't', it was just the board wanted to be good fiscal stewards and look at this project given our current and potential future financial status."

Construction on the future E-10 site is scheduled to break ground next spring, with the school opening for the 2022-23 school year.

In other business

* The trustees unanimously approved several policies related to working and learning remotely while sheltering in place, and updated another policy concerning alternative graduation credits on Thursday. The consent agenda items were passed by the board in one motion without discussion, as is routine.

PUSD sites have been dismissed since the middle of March, when the regional shelter-in-place order was announced. Since then, teachers and students have been working and studying online.

The district said that "both of the policies are designed to be used during the COVID-19 dismissal and beyond in order to provide flexibility in educating students and structuring work schedules for district staff."

Both policies outline and clarify their purpose as well as state the district's general expectations in regards to grading, materials, supplies, instructional hours and communication while working or learning from home.

For example, the district's remote working policy states, "Employee productivity shall be evaluated using a variety of criteria appropriate to working remotely that may include time spent on task completion, projects, rigor of assignments, and quality of job performance in the same manner as all employees in the same position at the assigned school or office."

Students and teachers have some flexibility with the district's remote learning policy to self-direct some courses and study at their own pace. They are also free to use a variety of instructional platforms including online content, print material and live or prerecorded video.

The policy also affirms PUSD's commitment to "provide teachers with training and ongoing support, including technological support and guidance, to effectively implement distance learning."

The district's policy concerning alternative credits toward graduation was also updated that night for the first time in 15 years. With traditional graduation paths recently detoured by the coronavirus pandemic, PUSD has been working to give seniors alternative options to fulfill their graduation requirements and receive their diplomas. PUSD's policy on alternative graduation credits was implemented in 2005 and hasn't been revised since then.

The updated policy lists ten different means for students to satisfy their course of study such as work experience, career technical education or regional occupational programs, military service and training, independent study, and "practical demonstration of skills and competencies."

* With remote learning expected to continue for a while, the trustees also approved a one-year $178,000 contract for a districtwide learning management system that "allows for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, and delivery of educational courses remotely" among multiple users. The software application under consideration, Edgenuity, lets teachers monitor and view progress among their students.

The district currently uses a learning management system called PEAK in a limited capacity but said, "Recently students and teachers have experienced multiple limitations" and recurring issues that include a "lack of reliability," "challenging interface for students and teachers" and "difficulty modifying to accommodate district needs."

In response to those complaints, PUSD piloted several learning management systems for teachers to use with students in grades six to 12 during the 2019-20 school year, with Edgenuity winning the district's recommendation.

The $178,000 contract includes unlimited use of features like digital curriculums and customized webinars. The base $140,000 price "varies based on student need" and "is expended to support virtual learning in the summer school, credit recovery, home and hospital, and independent study programs." The remainder $38,000 "will allow for a variety of possible distance learning scenarios while providing a predictable expense not based on student usage."

* The board also voted to use $831,000 of Measure I1 funds to purchase 2,750 Internet-enabled Chromebooks and carrying cases. The purchase of the "new devices for these 2020-21 grade 6 and 9 students" was recommended by the district prior to sheltering in place.

That fact didn't go unnoticed; the district told the Weekly, "If we didn't have these Measure I1 funds, we would not be where we are as far as supporting students and our ability to support students through remote learning.

"This was all before coronavirus, but the importance and impact of the funding is even more impactful now more than ever just because it gave us the ability to. If the students didn't have the devices, we would have a very difficult time delivering engaging instruction."

A plan called the Student Device Initiative was developed by PUSD "to maximize the useful life of the take-home devices." Students in grades 7 and 8 and high school sophomores, juniors and seniors "will keep the devices they were issued during the prior two years of the Student Device Initiative," while sixth graders and freshmen "will be issued a new device that they will keep until they graduate from middle and high school, respectively."

Student devices issued to seventh-grade students during the 2018-19 school year will be returned at the end of the current school year. Incoming freshmen for the 2020-21 will be issued a new device when they start their new grade level. The district said the two-year-old devices will be cleaned, updated, and provided to elementary classrooms" and that "it is anticipated that this will provide approximately 1,200 devices to our elementary classrooms."

In addition to the estimated $801,000 cost for the devices and carrying cases, the Trustees approved a $30,000 "white glove" preparation service to prepare the devices for distribution over the summer. The devices will be delivered directly to the high school campuses on the day they are distributed to students.

Comments

John
another community
on May 13, 2020 at 5:34 pm
John, another community
on May 13, 2020 at 5:34 pm

It’s nice that they have money for everyone but there employees cost of living raises good job p.u.s.d


What's Next?
Valley Trails
on May 13, 2020 at 5:52 pm
What's Next?, Valley Trails
on May 13, 2020 at 5:52 pm

Not a fan of separating K-3 from 4-5 on the same property and calling it a new school. With same logic, we can create four high schools by separating each grade to a section of the campus at a high school and call it four separate schools. How about discussing creating an actual new school as those who supported the bond measure supported/expected?


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Vintage Hills
on May 13, 2020 at 6:01 pm
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
on May 13, 2020 at 6:01 pm

Amazingly, they are acting like they won’t need space.

The Donlon plan was a compromise; never the best, but better than nothing.


Time to investigate
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 13, 2020 at 7:12 pm
Time to investigate, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 13, 2020 at 7:12 pm

Why is PUSD allowing certificated management to resign in secret?

The last Board meeting doesn't even list the name in Personnel Actions. It just says Employee ID 2347. Take a look at the Board meeting packet if you don't believe this post. It says:

CERTIFICATED MANAGEMENT
RESIGNATIONS
EMPLOYEE ID EFF. DATE
2347 06-30-2020

Seriously folks? No wonder the public didn't vote for the most recent bond measure.

With this sort of secrecy, no wonder the public has no trust in PUSD.

Who is Employee ID 2347 and why were they allowed to resign in secret whereas every other resignation is public? Was there also a secret settlement where PUSD paid out money for them to resign? Typically those that resign in secret have some sort of secret settlement.

It is time for the Pleasanton Weekly to shed some light on this mystery.

Shame on PUSD for hiding in the shadows. Again.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Vintage Hills
on May 14, 2020 at 1:18 pm
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
on May 14, 2020 at 1:18 pm

A reminder these board members promised to not sell the bonds ($35MM) for “E-10” if they could not build that school. This recent conversation should set off alarm bells, especially if the alternatives are to add portables or even modular buildings to other campuses (which still incur operating costs). This language is where they could attempt to keep the $35MM: Inclusion of a project on the Bond Project List is not a guarantee that the project will be completed (regardless of whether bond funds are available).”

Let’s remember the actual ballot language included ***a new elementary school***: “To repair and upgrade aging classrooms and facilities at local schools; provide 21st-century learning technology and facilities; improve school safety and security; update science labs; improve energy and water efficiency; renovate, construct, and acquire classrooms, equipment and facilities; ***and construct a new elementary school,*** shall Pleasanton Unified School District issue $270,000,000 in bonds, at legal rates, with independent citizen oversight, annual audits, all funds used for local schools, and no money used for administrators’ salaries?”

I do not believe this community’s children can keep ending up with the short end of the stick. We needed a school before Lydiksen was chosen as a first priority; we will need that school more than ever and now.


Map
Del Prado
on May 14, 2020 at 1:41 pm
Map, Del Prado
on May 14, 2020 at 1:41 pm

Am I the only resident of pleasanton who isn’t surprised that we will never see that new school from the measure I1 funds?? That money is burning holes in the pockets of the PUSD, stand back and watch it slowly disappear with nothing to show for it, what a bunch of con artists!


Karl Aitken
Pleasanton Valley
on May 14, 2020 at 2:00 pm
Karl Aitken, Pleasanton Valley
on May 14, 2020 at 2:00 pm

More Chrome Books for kids to take home? This is rich Pleasanton where the majority of families (and probably individual students) have laptops at home. A million dollars (including the bond interest) to buy tech equipment that is not needed is a big waste of funds that could be used elsewhere.

Sure, buy some for the kids who can’t afford one and maybe figure out a way to pay for internet if help is needed for that, but don’t waste my tax dollars when there is greater need for other projects.

As I have noted in previous posts, we should all be assessing the school board’s ability to think and act differently than just doing the same old thing. The new post virus reality needs something better than this. Our kids can’t afford another school year of mediocrity and incompetence


Karl Aitken
Pleasanton Valley
on May 14, 2020 at 2:20 pm
Karl Aitken , Pleasanton Valley
on May 14, 2020 at 2:20 pm

And regarding the comment above complaining about no cost of living increases....

Tens of millions of people have lost their jobs and many of them live and pay taxes in Pleasanton. For them to be out of a job and to hear complaints about no raises - seems the complainers need to join the rest of us in the real world.

Everyone in the real world has either lost their job or are hoping their company stays strong financially and does not lay them off.

Perhaps this year school employees should be glad they still get to keep their job .......


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