School board votes down pay increase for itself

Management employees will get pay hike and bonus

At a Pleasanton School Board meeting that gave raises to the district's top two employees and increases in step-and-column pay for management, board members battled over whether to vote themselves a $20-per month increase in their own pay.

Board members make $400 a month before taxes. They'll continue to make that after a split vote that pitted board members Valerie Arkin and Jamie Hintzke against Board President Jeff Bowser and members Chris Grant and Joan Laursen.

"It's a very, very, very small amount. There has not been an increase in compensation in over 10 years," Arkin said. "We are giving increases to teachers, classified staff and management. I consider this my full-time job and I spend a lot of time with it."

"We're talking about $1,200 for a whole year for all five of us," Hintzke said.

The two were outvoted by Laursen, Bowser and Grant, who opposed the pay bump.

"I will vote for an increase when we restore all the reductions and when we restore class-size reductions," Grant said.

Laursen said she'd prefer the money be allocated for board development, and Bowser said it wasn't the right time to increase board pay.

"I don't feel comfortable taking more dollars," Bowser said, adding that a future increase might be appropriate.

Meanwhile, Superintendent Parvin Ahmadi and Deputy Superintendent Luz Cazares will each get a 0.74% pay increase, and step-and-column pay for management and confidential employees will go up the same amount.

That's in addition to a one-time bonus of 1% of each management employee's salary.

The management agreement is slightly less than agreements made with the teachers union and the school employees union. Employees will receive a 1.1% pay increase and a 1% one-time bonus, although most of the pay increase will go toward a district-wide shift to the state's health insurance plan, CalPERS.

The board also looked at a tentative plan for spending $3 million in one-time state money to help pay for implementing a new learning system known as Common Core State Standards, and got an overview of how CCSS is being integrated into teaching.

The plan calls for spending $1 million for teacher training, $820,000 for a voluntary staff development day, $521,500 for grants to schools, $358,500 for instructional materials and $300,000 for technology upgrades.


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Posted by Give them a raise!
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2013 at 8:56 am

No wonder these school board can't negotiate a fair contract with Admin and teachers, they can't even negotiate fair compensation for themselves!

Here is my math for their current compensation: There are an average of 4.33 weeks per month. Valerie stated her job is a full-time job at 40 hours per week. Therefore she puts in 173.2 hours per month. She earns $400/month divided by 173.2 hours/month and she makes $2.31/hour. Perhaps she should work at the mall and get a 4X raise!

And we ask ourselves why we have school board elections with no one challenging incumbents? Is it any wonder why the school district's finances poor financial shape?

If a higher compensation will attract better board trustees, I am all in favor of it (can we get to $10 at a minimum). Jeff Bowser voted "no" for a raise, and then publicizes the fact that he is seeking office of a fully paid position.

Perhaps they know best, and the 3 trustees believe they are worth $2.31/hour after being responsible for our most valuable assets in Pleasanton- our kids and our school scores, for running campaigns, enduring negative blogs, negative comments on the streets and stores, and for taking responsibility for their poor job of negotiating employees.

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 14, 2013 at 9:48 am

face gotta be half baked to work for free...catch u later

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Posted by Timothy T
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 14, 2013 at 10:05 am

No one is on the school board because of the money and no one on the school board is going to be affected by not getting another $20 a month. They do it because they care about the school system and want to be involved. The $20/month is a pittance but it would have sent a bad message.

Great quote from Chris Grant. That's how it should be.

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 14, 2013 at 10:15 am

paying folks for their services is simply another way of showing appreciation for a job well done...pretty is as pretty does!

i rest my case...

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Posted by Give them a raise!
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2013 at 11:08 am

Gee, they do it because they care... Give me a break.

Sure, you do a job because you care. Superintendent Parvin cares, but she does not work for almost nothing. Teachers care, but they are never asked to work for pennies on the dollar.

We are not asking people to be like "Mother Teresa" here, we would get better trustees if we offered fair compensation. This whole group needs term limits so we can get people into the group that can balance a budget without tipping into their own pocketbooks.

That includes the Chris Grant comment. If Chris, Jeff and Joan don't think you are worth a fair compensation (and in no way are they being paid a fair compensation) - then who am I to disagree with them. Why don't they refuse to take their $400 stipend all together since that is what they think they are worth? Will that balance the budget or restore classroom reduction out of your own pocket? If they hire consultants, they pay them a fair contract price.

Bring in some pros (and pay them) to really help out the situation and get rid of these amateurs.

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Posted by Hello
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2013 at 11:18 am

You're missing the big point. They agreed raises, bonuses and step and column increases to management. Do you know how much that will cost? Do you know how much this could have contributed to lowering class sizes? Do you know why we are being asked for money to fund essentials because our school district has no money? Have you noticed our children still are losing an hour a day of school because of staggered reading (which is here because of the bigger class sizes).

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Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Nov 14, 2013 at 2:43 pm

"'I will vote for an increase when we restore all the reductions and when we restore class-size reductions,' Grant said."

Grant's heart is in the right place. I only wish that every employee in the district had the same ethical standard.


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Posted by common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Judging by what people are paid in the US, the most important people play football, basketball or football. A lowly person on a School Board it appears is far from important they take the wrath of their electorate even when the electorate has no clue what facts are involved in any particular instance. Actually, there are rules that are followed when a disciplinary action is being taken. But, because some people consider themselves all knowing they can't abide by any rules other than their own.

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Posted by MrsJjhh
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 14, 2013 at 6:05 pm

>> They do it because they care about the school system and want to be involved. <<

Maybe sometimes. But more often, I think, because they have political, or other career ambitions and hope it will be the stepping stone to greater things. I was surprised at how little they are paid, given the amount of responsibility and influence the Board has. The problem is that low pay to those with great influence leaves more room for corruption in the form of kickbacks and so on.

Does the system work? If the Superintendent and the School Board are at odds, who has the final say? And who has ultimate responsibility for the district?

Just reflecting....

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Posted by Dave
a resident of Birdland
on Nov 15, 2013 at 11:23 am

Mr. Grant's got the right idea.


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Posted by local
a resident of Birdland
on Nov 15, 2013 at 5:20 pm

The Superintendent works for the School Board so if there are things at odds, the school board has the final say. That works in theory but we have three members of the board now that vote for whatever the superintendent wants, meaning the public looses.

The school board is a volunteer position to serve the community. It is not a job. The payment is not a salary but rather a stipend to cover incidental costs of being on the board. It covers things like mileage and phone calls. Stuff like that. People do not run for this position for a career (unlike our career politicians in Sacramento and Washington). Some run to serve the community. Some run on an issue. Some run to advance to higher office. Some run to influence decisions affecting their family (e.g., they have a school employee in their family). Believe it or not, some people have run because the superintendent has convinced them to run to support the superintendent. The voters need to figure this out. Nobody is running for this position to make money from the position.

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Posted by Wanda
a resident of Mission Park
on Nov 15, 2013 at 6:19 pm

So they run on the altruistic goals of making the schools better for our children. I see.

The earlier post made a good point, you get what you pay for. I work at Oracle, their board of directors are paid very well, their job is important and they know how to negotiate for their compensation. Why does the school board make pennies?

If you want to pay pennies for an important job, then you probably won't get the best and the brightest.

Perhaps these board members aren't the shiniest penny in the pocket.

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