The Pleasanton school board heard a report on the 2015 homework survey results Tuesday night, the last meeting of the 2014-15 school year.
The homework survey -- given to students, teachers and parents/guardians -- was conducted from February 6 through March 3.
According to staff reports, the survey findings focus on the amount of time spent on homework according to what students, staff and parents reported.
The Homework Board Policy & Regulations 6154 -- adopted on June 17, 2014 -- states the amount of homework assigned to students should be different in elementary, middle and high school. In addition, the grade level guidelines of the policy are intended to apply to the needs of all students, but time allocations are targets toward the average student.
Staff reports said the survey received: 845 responses out of 6,374 elementary students, 1,674 responses out of 8,272 secondary students, 322 responses out of 644 teacher, and 1,763 responses from parents/guardians.
The general findings from elementary students show that the amount of time they are spending per night on homework is within the policy guidelines which is 10-20 min per night for K-1st grade, 20-30 minutes for 2nd-3rd and 40-50 minutes for 4th-5th.
The survey report also shows that K-3rd grade teachers reported that the amount of time they are assigning per night on homework is within the policy guidelines, while 4th-5th grade teachers are assigning slightly less than policy guidelines.
In addition, K-2nd grade parents reported the amount of time spent on homework is within the policy guidelines, whereas 3rd-5th grade parents report an amount slightly above policy guidelines.
At the secondary level, middle school parents and students reported working slightly above the average amount of time per night, no more than 15 minutes per subject, for homework. Middle school teachers report that the amount of time they are assigning per night is slightly over policy guidelines.
In the high schools, parents and students reported working above the average amount of time, no more than 20 minutes per subject, per night on homework. Teachers reported assigning the amount within policy guidelines.
According to staff, the next steps include sharing the data with site administrators and requesting them to work collaboratively with their staff on fully implementing the Homework Policy.
In addition, staff is set to look at exploring possible facilitation of focus groups to further discuss the Homework Policy with students, parents/guardians and certificated and classified staff.
Trustee Joan Laursen noted at the end of the discussion that advanced placement classes are not covered by the Homework Policy and directed staff to find a way to eliminate any survey results that included time spent on AP class homework.
Trustee Mark Miller suggested to staff to look at consequences for teachers that continuously assign more than the amount specified in the Homework Policy.
Other suggestions from Trustee Valerie Arkin included: allowing students to do homework during class, not having homework graded, and coordinating with other teachers when projects and tests will occur.
In other business:
* Three parents addressed the board about their support for Foothill High principal Jason Krolikowski and his decision to hire Dale Hazen as the head wrestling coach, which was included as a consent agenda item Tuesday night.
"Make sure you support the leaders you hire," said Herb Ritter.
Following community comment, the board unanimously approved the personnel document.
Trustee Mark Miller recognized the divide this topic has caused within the community and said, " I'd hope the people involved will work together in the overall goal of what's best for the kids."
Hazen will be succeeding Bennie Lafever, who has coached the team the past eight seasons.
The reason for Lafever's departure is unclear. Krolikowski said in an interview that he could not discuss why Lafever is no longer with the school, citing personnel rules.
* Trustees unanimously approved the adoption of the FY 2015-16 budget.
The following changes were made to the proposed budget, which was presented to trustees as a first reading during the June 9 meeting:
Special education program funding was increased by $88,000 to fund a portion of the additional psychologists and behaviorists positions;
PUSD transferred an additional $337,000 to the Special Reserve Fund for Fund 17 (Other than Capital Outlay Projects) to recapture payments for the Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) from the General Fund; and,
PUSD increased the contribution to the Routine Restricted Maintenance Account (RRMA) by $0.7 million when compared to FY 2014-15, among other changes.
During the budget discussion's public hearing, Kristine Dean addressed the board about providing monetary support for both high school's music programs.
Dean told trustees that most of the funding comes from outside fundraising or parent donations.
* School board members also unanimously approved the 2015-16 Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) draft, which is a required action under the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).
According to staff reports, PUSD's LCAP is aligned with state and district priorities to ensure that supplemental funds provided to the school district to support targeted students are expended in a manner to facilitate their academic success.
Targeted students include socio-economically disadvantaged, English learners and foster/kinship youth.
Some of the new areas for supplemental funding include: a Mandarin-speaking district parent liaison, College & Career Readiness Action Plan incentives, a Spanish-speaking social worker, internet-connected Chromebooks, reading/EL support paraprofessionals for K-5, among other areas.
The first school board meeting for the 2015-16 school year is scheduled for August 18.