News

Pleasanton Unified board votes to increase salary to principals, other admin

Also: District Technology Plan update, equitable grading practices consultant

The Pleasanton school board unanimously approved salary increases, additional salary steps and health insurance options to management and classified staff during its last meeting of the fiscal year.

The trustees in May approved a tentative agreement with the Association of Pleasanton Teachers that included compensation adjustments for the upcoming year. Because of that agreement, the Pleasanton Unified School District extended a similar offer to management as well as certificated and classified employees.

"Throughout my year here, I've got to meet so many directors, principals, vice principals, just everybody and looking at these salaries I just know they're so well deserving," outgoing Student Board Trustee Saachi Bhayani said during the June 23 meeting.

"I'm really glad that we finally have space in our budget to give them even the additional four steps and the health insurance and everything and I'm really glad we've been able to do this because they deserve every penny," she added.

There will be a general salary schedule increase of 3% as well as an addition of four steps to the management salary schedule to offer growth and incentivize current employees to stay with the district.

Help sustain the local news you depend on.

Your contribution matters. Become a member today.

Join

Each step of the schedule represents a 2% increase, district officials said.

The increases in the salary come after what assistant superintendent of human resources Julio Hernandez said were flaws in the district where some of the positions like principals made more than a high district office employee.

Hernandez told the board there was a case where an employee holding an administrative credential was making more money as a teacher than as an administrator.

However, he also said another main point in this package was the addition of medical insurance.

"We lost some of our candidates last few years to other school districts based on just medical need," Hernandez said.

Stay informed

Get the latest local news and information sent straight to your inbox.

Stay informed

Get the latest local news and information sent straight to your inbox.

In the offer, there will be an increase in medical coverage to cover the employee cost for single Kaiser, dental and vision or if they decide to opt out, employees have the option for $2,000 cash in lieu.

"While the coverage is tied to a dollar amount, those dollar amounts do cover a single Kaiser if someone chooses a medical plan," assistant superintendent of business services Ahmad Sheikholeslami said. "If they choose another medical plan, they can use those dollars towards that."

In other business

* The school board approved the District Technology Plan for July 2022 to June 2025, which will serve as a roadmap to continue improving, monitoring and optimizing technology in the district.

The plan addresses the use of district technology, the technology assets, infrastructure and support staffing that is provided to meet the needs of all the schools.

Chief technology officer Robert Torres told the board that a lot of these new updates will be used to streamline the work already underway. One example he presented was the plan for an optimal centralized command for the technology department.

"What it really means is that we're separate from the central office and be able to see what's happening on this network at all times," Torres said. "Rather than rely on a teacher calling and saying, 'Hey, you know, wing 8 is down in this school,' we want to be able to see that, forecast that and have the ability and have the tools to be able to do that almost like the air traffic controller."

Torres said the district will also address cybersecurity so that insurance does not raise and hold rates high. One of the solutions that will be coming to the district will be a multi-factor authentication system where you are notified on your phone before logging onto anything.

There will also be updates to information and assistance systems and how technicians will be deployed to schools and classrooms who need technological assistance.

Trustee Mary Jo Carreon said she was concerned about how technology specialists will be responding to cases where a teacher experiences an outage and needs immediate assistance. Board Vice President Steve Maher expressed the same concern after learning that not every school will have an on-site specialist and will have to wait for one to drive to the school.

Torres said that there will be an emphasis on professional development so that everybody knows what to do in any situation, which in the latter case would be knowing how to reach out to the technology department and issuing a request.

Sheikholeslami assured the board these requests will be handled appropriately depending on how serious the situation.

Along with Google being updated, there will also be a new student information system that is set to begin in the early fall, which will use artificial intelligence to get information out.

* The board approved a 2022-23 "grading for equity contract" with Crescendo Education Group, which provides professional development for PUSD teachers and administrators to support continued implementation of equitable grading practices in middle and high schools.

A group of teachers presented their experiences over the last year as they each implemented equitable grading practices in their classrooms in the form of not assigning homework and allowing students to retake quizzes and tests.

Nimarta Grewal, now-former director of secondary education, presented findings to the board last month that illustrated a need to focus on mastery of skills and content rather than on student compliance such as attendance or effort.

"Students need consistent opportunities to retake assessments and demonstrate proficiency in a subject," Grewal said. "The grades data reveal that many students have struggled during the pandemic, but in particular, underserved student populations experienced the most inequitable outcomes."

Leslie Galliano, an English and history teacher at Harvest Park Middle School, said that once her students got into the swing of retaking quizzes and exams, she saw a big jump in students who went from B's to A's or from C's to B's.

"I had a student who was a very, very tough nugget; she was my project for the year we spent a lot of time together. She had to retake or rewrite almost everything and she hated me," Galliano said. "At the end of the school year, she came up to me and she just said, 'Can I talk to you for a minute?' And I was like 'sure, what's up,' and she says, 'Thank you for never giving up on me.'"

The contract cost is just over $125,000, Grewal said. She added that there is about 15% to 20% of teachers already adopting these new grading practices but added that there are those less enthusiastic to make the change.

She added that teachers have already received an overview of the new practices three times this past school year and that the next year will be a lot more intensive in terms of implementing the new grading system district wide.

Trustee Kelly Mokashi said she saw firsthand the positive effects equitable grading policies had on her own children where they had to do retakes and were not penalized.

"I really do hope that this can also transcend down to the elementary level and particularly for the fourth- and fifth-grade teachers at some point," Mokashi said.

A front row seat to local high school sports.

Check out our new newsletter, the Playbook.

Christian Trujano
 
Christian Trujano, a Bay Area native and San Jose State alum, joined Embarcadero Media in May 2022 following his graduation. He is an award-winning student journalist who has covered stories in San Jose ranging from crime to higher education. Read more >>

Follow PleasantonWeekly.com and the Pleasanton Weekly on Twitter @pleasantonnews, Facebook and on Instagram @pleasantonweekly for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Get uninterrupted access to important local education news. Become a member today.

Pleasanton Unified board votes to increase salary to principals, other admin

Also: District Technology Plan update, equitable grading practices consultant

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Jul 13, 2022, 7:27 am

The Pleasanton school board unanimously approved salary increases, additional salary steps and health insurance options to management and classified staff during its last meeting of the fiscal year.

The trustees in May approved a tentative agreement with the Association of Pleasanton Teachers that included compensation adjustments for the upcoming year. Because of that agreement, the Pleasanton Unified School District extended a similar offer to management as well as certificated and classified employees.

"Throughout my year here, I've got to meet so many directors, principals, vice principals, just everybody and looking at these salaries I just know they're so well deserving," outgoing Student Board Trustee Saachi Bhayani said during the June 23 meeting.

"I'm really glad that we finally have space in our budget to give them even the additional four steps and the health insurance and everything and I'm really glad we've been able to do this because they deserve every penny," she added.

There will be a general salary schedule increase of 3% as well as an addition of four steps to the management salary schedule to offer growth and incentivize current employees to stay with the district.

Each step of the schedule represents a 2% increase, district officials said.

The increases in the salary come after what assistant superintendent of human resources Julio Hernandez said were flaws in the district where some of the positions like principals made more than a high district office employee.

Hernandez told the board there was a case where an employee holding an administrative credential was making more money as a teacher than as an administrator.

However, he also said another main point in this package was the addition of medical insurance.

"We lost some of our candidates last few years to other school districts based on just medical need," Hernandez said.

In the offer, there will be an increase in medical coverage to cover the employee cost for single Kaiser, dental and vision or if they decide to opt out, employees have the option for $2,000 cash in lieu.

"While the coverage is tied to a dollar amount, those dollar amounts do cover a single Kaiser if someone chooses a medical plan," assistant superintendent of business services Ahmad Sheikholeslami said. "If they choose another medical plan, they can use those dollars towards that."

In other business

* The school board approved the District Technology Plan for July 2022 to June 2025, which will serve as a roadmap to continue improving, monitoring and optimizing technology in the district.

The plan addresses the use of district technology, the technology assets, infrastructure and support staffing that is provided to meet the needs of all the schools.

Chief technology officer Robert Torres told the board that a lot of these new updates will be used to streamline the work already underway. One example he presented was the plan for an optimal centralized command for the technology department.

"What it really means is that we're separate from the central office and be able to see what's happening on this network at all times," Torres said. "Rather than rely on a teacher calling and saying, 'Hey, you know, wing 8 is down in this school,' we want to be able to see that, forecast that and have the ability and have the tools to be able to do that almost like the air traffic controller."

Torres said the district will also address cybersecurity so that insurance does not raise and hold rates high. One of the solutions that will be coming to the district will be a multi-factor authentication system where you are notified on your phone before logging onto anything.

There will also be updates to information and assistance systems and how technicians will be deployed to schools and classrooms who need technological assistance.

Trustee Mary Jo Carreon said she was concerned about how technology specialists will be responding to cases where a teacher experiences an outage and needs immediate assistance. Board Vice President Steve Maher expressed the same concern after learning that not every school will have an on-site specialist and will have to wait for one to drive to the school.

Torres said that there will be an emphasis on professional development so that everybody knows what to do in any situation, which in the latter case would be knowing how to reach out to the technology department and issuing a request.

Sheikholeslami assured the board these requests will be handled appropriately depending on how serious the situation.

Along with Google being updated, there will also be a new student information system that is set to begin in the early fall, which will use artificial intelligence to get information out.

* The board approved a 2022-23 "grading for equity contract" with Crescendo Education Group, which provides professional development for PUSD teachers and administrators to support continued implementation of equitable grading practices in middle and high schools.

A group of teachers presented their experiences over the last year as they each implemented equitable grading practices in their classrooms in the form of not assigning homework and allowing students to retake quizzes and tests.

Nimarta Grewal, now-former director of secondary education, presented findings to the board last month that illustrated a need to focus on mastery of skills and content rather than on student compliance such as attendance or effort.

"Students need consistent opportunities to retake assessments and demonstrate proficiency in a subject," Grewal said. "The grades data reveal that many students have struggled during the pandemic, but in particular, underserved student populations experienced the most inequitable outcomes."

Leslie Galliano, an English and history teacher at Harvest Park Middle School, said that once her students got into the swing of retaking quizzes and exams, she saw a big jump in students who went from B's to A's or from C's to B's.

"I had a student who was a very, very tough nugget; she was my project for the year we spent a lot of time together. She had to retake or rewrite almost everything and she hated me," Galliano said. "At the end of the school year, she came up to me and she just said, 'Can I talk to you for a minute?' And I was like 'sure, what's up,' and she says, 'Thank you for never giving up on me.'"

The contract cost is just over $125,000, Grewal said. She added that there is about 15% to 20% of teachers already adopting these new grading practices but added that there are those less enthusiastic to make the change.

She added that teachers have already received an overview of the new practices three times this past school year and that the next year will be a lot more intensive in terms of implementing the new grading system district wide.

Trustee Kelly Mokashi said she saw firsthand the positive effects equitable grading policies had on her own children where they had to do retakes and were not penalized.

"I really do hope that this can also transcend down to the elementary level and particularly for the fourth- and fifth-grade teachers at some point," Mokashi said.

Comments

Frustrated Voter
Registered user
Amador Estates
on Jul 13, 2022 at 9:38 am
Frustrated Voter, Amador Estates
Registered user
on Jul 13, 2022 at 9:38 am

So teachers will now be trained (probably one time) to troubleshoot tech problems? This is in addition to teaching content and social/emotional skills, and instead of having a tech person at each site. Hmmm. Once again, management and the school board have approved putting fancy money downtown and not in classrooms.


Teacher
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Jul 13, 2022 at 10:02 am
Teacher, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Jul 13, 2022 at 10:02 am

As a teacher, I'm glad our district is finally recognizing that there is too much administrative turnover and we need to be more competitive to keep good administrators. At the same time, I'm frustrated by comments like "The increases in the salary come after what assistant superintendent of human resources Julio Hernandez said were flaws in the district where some of the positions like principals made more than a high district office employee."

I've seen a number of principals leave schools for a better paying 9-5 job in the district office. That is part of the problem - they have less work for more pay, so why not jump to some district office desk. Part of the problem with retaining good administrators is the belief our district seems to hold that principals are less valuable to students (and teachers) than another employee at the district office.


Pton Resident
Registered user
Foothill High School
on Jul 13, 2022 at 9:21 pm
Pton Resident, Foothill High School
Registered user
on Jul 13, 2022 at 9:21 pm

More than $125K to for a grading equity contract. No homework. Retaking quizzes and tests. What a monumental waste of taxpayer money and what a massive disservice to students. Schools need to get back to teaching kids how to learn and be successful in life. All of this other stuff is pure BS. What a scam.


Truth
Registered user
Downtown
on Jul 16, 2022 at 7:57 pm
Truth, Downtown
Registered user
on Jul 16, 2022 at 7:57 pm

So the justification for raising management salaries yet AGAIN is to match the raise recently given to teachers, but teachers don’t get to receive a match of the same full family medical coverage management gets. But yes, they’re all about equity.

An alarming number of teachers are leaving PUSD in the midst of a teacher shortage - more this summer than ever before. The district stands to make around $10-15 million by moving the district office to the new W. Las Positas site and selling a portion of their downtown property. It should be invested in full health care coverage for teachers, like every surrounding district our teachers are fleeing to. They can’t claim they won’t have the funds, and they can’t claim they are anything close to competitive with surrounding districts without it. Speak up to the board if you care about having enough quality teachers to support our students.

If it’s good enough for management, it’s good enough for our teachers.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.