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Pleasanton Unified board reviews Facilities Master Plan updates

Trustees also discuss budget plans for 2022-23, approve world language curriculum, welcome new student board member

The Pleasanton school board earlier this month reviewed updated priorities for the Facilities Master Plan, which would include proposals to reconstruct the gyms and theaters at both Amador Valley and Foothill high schools.

The change in the master plan for Amador is to assign an estimated $203 million so the music facilities can move to a new building to make way for three fitness and wrestling rooms as well as building new music facilities in tandem with the school's theater.

Foothill would also get an updated theater and gym that would be closer to the outdoor fields.

"We need to deal with the facilities that are a danger," Board President Mark Miller said during the June 9 board meeting. "Yes they are an embarrassment, but they are unsafe at its basic level and we really need to deal with that so you know that the facilities in that situation are absolutely a priority."

While the master plan assigns cost amounts for the sake of securing funding for these projects, it does not mean these plans are set in stone. As a result, Trustee Kelly Mokashi asked to get more community input about reconstructing the Amador Theater. She said it could be a historic site to the community given that it was built in 1932 and wants to know what the community thinks and feels about the landmark.

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Other updates presented to the board include updates on stakeholder priorities and how those priorities will be implemented.

These districtwide priorities were compiled by members of LPA Design Studios, which have been the main consulting firm working on the master plan, after months of discussion and surveys from students, staff, community members and the school board.

The finalized list of priorities include deferred maintenance to things like bathrooms; modernizing and new construction of classrooms; more funding for transitional kindergarten; restructuring of the visual performing arts in high schools; cafeteria and air conditioning and heating equipment.

To implement changes in these different areas, a potential tier system was presented to the board. Tier one will prioritize funding for the gym and theater constructions at both Amador and Foothill as well as new classrooms at Vintage Hills Elementary and new transitional kindergarten classrooms.

One note from Walter Estay, a studio managing director at LPA, was that any new school buildings will have to be built with the goal of being environmentally sustainable.

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"The governor said that all public schools in California must be carbon neutral by 2035 and then there's a new California building code coming out ... that is going to require all schools to provide solar panels," Estay said.

The final Facilities Master Plan draft will be presented to the board on June 26 for final approval.

In other business

* The board reviewed its 2022-23 budget, which shows continued staff right-sizing and a more conservative budget overall due to inflation and other economic challenges during its June 9 board meeting.

Ahmad Sheikholeslami, assistant superintendent of business services, said the main reason for potentially letting staff go was because the district lost about 800 students from 2019 to 2021. The projected number of students next year, he said, is close to 13,700 but he hopes to get to 14,000 by fall.

Even though he said the district is maintaining neutral fund reserve levels, staffing and spending in later years need to be limited because of a slow decrease of students over the years.

"Some of the decline in enrollment may have been attributed to COVID but looking at the data we do have lower birth rates, we do have movement out of California, and so this is a trend that's not particular to Pleasanton but throughout the state," Sheikholeslami said.

He added that there will also be a $7.1 million deficit to the expenditures budget but said that the district will have adequate funds to handle that deficit and meet the 3% requirement for a reserve fund.

There will also be an increase in the cost-of-living adjustment to 6.56% and an increase to salaries. Apart from that, there will be $25.5 million allocated to special education.

"You have to remember, special education we don't get enough money from the state or the federal program and so we contribute to that from the general fund," Sheikholeslami said.

He said the final budget outline will be brought back to the board in August for final review.

* The board unanimously adopted a new curriculum for world languages including Spanish in both middle and high schools.

The plan will now be to buy the new textbooks over the summer and start implementing the new materials for this upcoming fall, which will all cost just under $1.5 million.

According to the report presented to the board, the current world language materials were published before 2006 and will become obsolete after the 2021-22 school year.

This year a committee of Spanish 1-3 teachers spanning all secondary grade levels and schools piloted new materials which will be part of an eight-year adoption cycle.

* The board also welcomed the new student board trustee, Annabelle Kim, who is an incoming Foothill High School senior. Kim was elected based on votes after running a campaign and is stepping in to succeed current Student Trustee Saachi Bhayani.

"I'm excited for this opportunity to be able to represent a more diverse and wider set of student voices, and I'm really looking forward to working with you all on these issues," Kim said at the meeting.

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Pleasanton Unified board reviews Facilities Master Plan updates

Trustees also discuss budget plans for 2022-23, approve world language curriculum, welcome new student board member

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Mon, Jun 20, 2022, 7:05 am
Updated: Mon, Jun 20, 2022, 4:42 pm

The Pleasanton school board earlier this month reviewed updated priorities for the Facilities Master Plan, which would include proposals to reconstruct the gyms and theaters at both Amador Valley and Foothill high schools.

The change in the master plan for Amador is to assign an estimated $203 million so the music facilities can move to a new building to make way for three fitness and wrestling rooms as well as building new music facilities in tandem with the school's theater.

Foothill would also get an updated theater and gym that would be closer to the outdoor fields.

"We need to deal with the facilities that are a danger," Board President Mark Miller said during the June 9 board meeting. "Yes they are an embarrassment, but they are unsafe at its basic level and we really need to deal with that so you know that the facilities in that situation are absolutely a priority."

While the master plan assigns cost amounts for the sake of securing funding for these projects, it does not mean these plans are set in stone. As a result, Trustee Kelly Mokashi asked to get more community input about reconstructing the Amador Theater. She said it could be a historic site to the community given that it was built in 1932 and wants to know what the community thinks and feels about the landmark.

Other updates presented to the board include updates on stakeholder priorities and how those priorities will be implemented.

These districtwide priorities were compiled by members of LPA Design Studios, which have been the main consulting firm working on the master plan, after months of discussion and surveys from students, staff, community members and the school board.

The finalized list of priorities include deferred maintenance to things like bathrooms; modernizing and new construction of classrooms; more funding for transitional kindergarten; restructuring of the visual performing arts in high schools; cafeteria and air conditioning and heating equipment.

To implement changes in these different areas, a potential tier system was presented to the board. Tier one will prioritize funding for the gym and theater constructions at both Amador and Foothill as well as new classrooms at Vintage Hills Elementary and new transitional kindergarten classrooms.

One note from Walter Estay, a studio managing director at LPA, was that any new school buildings will have to be built with the goal of being environmentally sustainable.

"The governor said that all public schools in California must be carbon neutral by 2035 and then there's a new California building code coming out ... that is going to require all schools to provide solar panels," Estay said.

The final Facilities Master Plan draft will be presented to the board on June 26 for final approval.

In other business

* The board reviewed its 2022-23 budget, which shows continued staff right-sizing and a more conservative budget overall due to inflation and other economic challenges during its June 9 board meeting.

Ahmad Sheikholeslami, assistant superintendent of business services, said the main reason for potentially letting staff go was because the district lost about 800 students from 2019 to 2021. The projected number of students next year, he said, is close to 13,700 but he hopes to get to 14,000 by fall.

Even though he said the district is maintaining neutral fund reserve levels, staffing and spending in later years need to be limited because of a slow decrease of students over the years.

"Some of the decline in enrollment may have been attributed to COVID but looking at the data we do have lower birth rates, we do have movement out of California, and so this is a trend that's not particular to Pleasanton but throughout the state," Sheikholeslami said.

He added that there will also be a $7.1 million deficit to the expenditures budget but said that the district will have adequate funds to handle that deficit and meet the 3% requirement for a reserve fund.

There will also be an increase in the cost-of-living adjustment to 6.56% and an increase to salaries. Apart from that, there will be $25.5 million allocated to special education.

"You have to remember, special education we don't get enough money from the state or the federal program and so we contribute to that from the general fund," Sheikholeslami said.

He said the final budget outline will be brought back to the board in August for final review.

* The board unanimously adopted a new curriculum for world languages including Spanish in both middle and high schools.

The plan will now be to buy the new textbooks over the summer and start implementing the new materials for this upcoming fall, which will all cost just under $1.5 million.

According to the report presented to the board, the current world language materials were published before 2006 and will become obsolete after the 2021-22 school year.

This year a committee of Spanish 1-3 teachers spanning all secondary grade levels and schools piloted new materials which will be part of an eight-year adoption cycle.

* The board also welcomed the new student board trustee, Annabelle Kim, who is an incoming Foothill High School senior. Kim was elected based on votes after running a campaign and is stepping in to succeed current Student Trustee Saachi Bhayani.

"I'm excited for this opportunity to be able to represent a more diverse and wider set of student voices, and I'm really looking forward to working with you all on these issues," Kim said at the meeting.

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