School board OKs contract with firm to search for new superintendent

Also Increases budget for wireless project, approves classified staff raises

Omaha-based search firm McPherson & Jacobson LLC was formally approved Tuesday night as the Pleasanton Unified School District's choice to run its superintendent search.

The search firm will be in charge of multiple aspects of the hunt for a new superintendent. The firm will seek out qualified leaders who may not be looking for a job, will accept applications from candidates who are actively seeking jobs and will be in charge of soliciting community comment.

The firm will also be in charge of facilitating board interviews and background screening. Its contract is for $28,000, including travel and incidental expenses.

The district is searching for a new superintendent after former superintendent Parvin Ahmadi resigned in May to take a job as Castro Valley's superintendent. Former Amador Valley High principal Jim Hansen is filling the role of interim superintendent.

In other business Tuesday, the board decided to increase the district's budget for renovations to the wireless network from $946,973 to $1,060,820.

District staff said the funding increase is necessary because some important hardware wasn't included in the initial project budget, such as enough access points, cabling and switches.

The district is undergoing an upgrade to its Wi-Fi capabilities, with the expectation that the program will increase download speeds from 25 megabits per second to 252 megabits per second.

The board also heard public comment about and approved an agreement with the California Schools Employees' Association, the union that represents district employees who are not teachers.

The agreement includes a 3.8% salary raise, a 3.8% increase in the district's contribution to health and welfare benefits and the agreement that the district will track how many internal and external candidates applied for positions, how many were granted interviews and whether an internal or external candidate was awarded the position.

The agreement also allows for reclassification of an employee's job title if extra duties get added that are auxiliary of that employee's job description, and if those duties continue for six months or more.

The board also voted to restore adult education courses in the district, starting with English as a second language.

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