Pleasanton Weekly

News - December 13, 2013

School board postpones discussion of ousted principal

Special meeting on matter called for Dec. 17

by Glenn Wohltmann

Three people spoke in support of ousted Principal Jon Vranesh before the Pleasanton School Board Tuesday night, although the board announced prior to a closed session that it would not be discussing the issue.

After the closed-door meeting, Erin Lyions, the parent of a Walnut Grove student, once again asked that Vranesh be reinstated at the school.

"I'm mostly here to remind you that it's been almost eight weeks since Jon Vranesh was removed from Walnut Grove," Lyions told the board, adding she'd "run out of patience."

"You seem to have an endless stream of money," she added, noting that in addition to paying Vranesh while he's on administrative leave, the district is also paying for an investigator and has paid two principals as well.

"I just wish some of this money could have been found before my kid had to squeeze into a kindergarten class with 29 others," Lyions said.

A special board meeting on Vranesh has been called for Dec. 17.

In other actions at its meeting Tuesday night, the board held its annual reorganization, electing Jamie Hintzke as president and Joan Laursen as vice president in a unanimous vote.

The board also discussed a number of money matters, including a routine report that contains some good news for the district, according to Deputy Superintendent Luz Cazares.

"This is the best interim report in my five years in the district. Not only is it positive going forward, but we also have the most certainty," Cazares told the board. "You can see new one-time revenue of almost $2 million coming in. That's all donations."

The district is also slated to receive $696,202 for energy efficiency improvements through Proposition 39, approved by voters last year, and expects similar amounts for next four years.

Total revenues are expected to drop from $123 million in the current year to about $120 million next year, but spending is also expected to drop, from $122.5 million to $114.8 million.

The district has held off on paying for some items as a result of state budget shortfalls, and it will now look at finding ways to fund them. That includes payments for other post-employment benefits and building upkeep.

Laursen requested a board discussion on deferred maintenance and its policy on reserves.

"Should we have a certain level that we want to work toward?" she asked. The matters will likely be the topic of a future board workshop.

While Board Member Jeff Bowser said, "we're in a wonderful place in that we can start to consider restoring programs that were cut, frankly gutted," others said the district also needs to consider other debts.

Hintzke said she was concerned about the district's debt service, which has relied largely on developers agreements. While that was problematic for the district while most construction was on hold, there's been a recent upswing in incoming cash thanks to several new projects being built.

The district is also anticipating paying an additional $1.2 million per year for ongoing step-and-column pay raises, and will have to decide on whether to continue paying for a number of jobs that were restored on a one-time basis.

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