School board approves updated governance handbook, financial statements at meeting

Members also hear report on summer school

At its regular meeting Tuesday night, the Pleasanton school board approved a revised governance handbook and 2015-16 unaudited financial statements as expected.

Adoption of the updated handbook followed a board workshop Aug. 23 to discuss possible revisions to the document.

The governance handbook outlines the board's roles and responsibilities as well as protocols for different situations members encounter, like voting during meetings and handling concerns from the public.

A number of changes are reflected in the updated handbook. The governance norms list, for example has been truncated, with items like “(we agree to) disagree agreeably” and “(we agree to) recognize the positive” removed. The current board suggested a couple additions, like “Be respectful of each other, administration, staff and community members at all times.”

Other changes dealt with correcting outdated district information and clarifying certain board protocols.

The Board of Trustees plans to review the document annually.

"We had a very good, deep discussion about this document," Board President Jamie Hintzke said at the meeting. "If someone wants to understand how we operate this is a great document."

The board also approved the district's 2015-16 fiscal year unaudited financial statements after a presentation by Micaela Ochoa, deputy superintendent of business services.

Unaudited financial statements are the basis for school districts to report their actual revenues, expenditures and fund balances at the end of every fiscal year. This information is reported to the Board of Education, Alameda County Office of Education and California Department of Education.

Estimated actuals were presented in June, and Ochoa provided the unaudited actuals in her presentation since the district has now closed the books on last fiscal year.

Revenues turned out at $150.7 million, roughly $2.3 million over what was estimated. Expenditures came in $144.3 million, nearly $3 million lower than what was estimated.

Ochoa's presentation also gave a breakdown of how district funds are allocated. Last fiscal year, for example roughly 84% of the total expenditure budget was dedicated to salaries and benefits, she said. The remaining amount went toward paying for books, supplies and other operating costs.

PUSD's business services division will next present the first interim budget report, slated to come before the board in December.

In other business

* Heather Pereira, district coordinator of extended day academic intervention programs, recapped PUSD's 2016 summer school program. Summer school was offered at the elementary, middle and high school level with nearly 1,200 students enrolled.

* The school board approved a memorandum of understanding between Pleasanton Unified School District and Dublin Unified School District so the Pleasanton school district can employ two Dublin occupational therapists. The therapists will work with special education students at various school sites in Pleasanton. The agreement states that PUSD will reimburse DUSD no more than $257,536.22 for their services this school year.

* The board also approved a provisional internship permit for a new resource specialist at Harvest Park Middle School. The permit enables Rita Camberos, whom the district has deemed the most qualified candidate, to be properly credentialed while she awaits a final exam that would allow her to complete the California credential program. The district does this occasionally, according to a board memo.

* The board announced it had approved settlement agreements in two cases during closed session. The terms of those settlements could not immediately be confirmed Wednesday.

* Ashley Frans is the new student board trustee this school year. She is a senior at Foothill High School.

* Superintendent Rick Rubino recognized PUSD middle and high school department chairs at the start of the meeting.

* Due to Election Day, the Board of Trustees meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. on Nov. 8 has been moved to the following evening.

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3 people like this
Posted by appalled
a resident of Mission Park
on Sep 15, 2016 at 9:02 am

Explain to me with a surplus why kids in elementary school are still being cheated out of about an hour a day of instruction because of the Parvin Ahmadi staggered start and staggered end "program" if you can call it a program. At 180 days of instruction per year, that means kids are losing about 180 hours of instruction time per year. That is the equivalent of someone who works 40 hours a week losing 4 1/2 weeks of work, over a month of lost productivity!!! Each year the kids get further and further behind due to Parvin Ahmadi. My neighbor pulled her child out of PUSD to go to private school and though her child had a stellar report card making all 3s from PUSD, she was a year behind and had to repeat a grade.

Why aren't there 20 kids per class at PUSD....and why hasn't the Board put an end to staggered start and end times that cheat our kids out of an education. With millions in a surplus the District can afford to hire a full time reading specialist at each elementary school and have 20 children per class in K through 3 grades.

3 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Sep 15, 2016 at 10:06 am

Good questions. Also, I do not understand why the PUSD board puts up with cabinet officials who have profanity-laden rants, linked YouTube videos with profanity-laden rants sent by District Wide email by the Amadi hired PIO, and puts up with staff members that berate community members. Why doesn't the PUSD have a policy for behavior for its staff members.

Also, I don't understand how according to the 11 o clock news last night that Hayward's school board figured out its superintendent was trying to oust Tennyson Principal Lori Villaneva for something she did not do, placing the blame on her, when in fact she had nothing to do regarding inviting an accused rapist to speak to students at the high school. Email evidence proved she had nothing to do with it. Dobbs attempted to oust a principal for something she did not do.

At PUSD, aLso two custodians at a school site, one called a "trash fairy" by a teacher and another who was removed from the school site, happened to resign last night. Why are teachers who call people gay slurs like " trash fairy" allowed to remain on the job? And at PUSD, why was Superintendent Amadi allowed to throw a principal at the elementary level under the bus?

Here in Pleasanton, Amadi supported cabinet members who engaged in profanity laden rants and teachers who call custodians disgusting gay slurs, and like Dobbs spent two years in a vendetta against a Pleasanton principal at the elementary level.

Seems like what is needed is cleaning house and a staff behavior manual that applies to the PUSD staff.

4 people like this
Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2016 at 5:27 pm

Get the Facts is a registered user.

"the Parvin Ahmadi staggered start and staggered end"
The staggered start and end were brought back because class size went up from 20 to 25 and then to 30. Teachers, if I remember correctly, were the ones who wanted it back (like it was many years ago) to help with the larger class size, to give them smaller ratios for at least a portion of the day. It was not Ahmadi who pushed for this, but obviously supported it.

"At 180 days of instruction per year, that means kids are losing about 180 hours of instruction time per year."
Nope, much less than that. It's only four days a week, minus holidays, staff development days, minimum days, etc. Plus the staggered time is not an hour, it's 45 minutes. My math takes this to a little over 100 hours, and it might be less than that, I'm only considering days off the top of my head, I haven't looked at a calendar, there might be more.

"Why aren't there 20 kids per class at PUSD"
Because class size reduction costs too much. All districts are dependent on money from the state for class sizes. We'd all like smaller classes, but it simply won't happen until there is more money at the state level.

"and why hasn't the Board put an end to staggered start and end times that cheat our kids out of an education"
Because staggered start is a great way to see kids at a 12-1 or 13-1 ratio. This is the smaller class size the above writer wants, but unfortunately it is only for 45 minutes a day, four days a week (or less), and only in first and second grade. It should be more. It doesn't cheat our kids, it enhances their education.

Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Sep 15, 2016 at 8:15 pm

So school districts have no responsibility for class size reduction (ie cost reduction) - it's fully dependent on state providing more funding?

I agree with a full staffing review and assessment, one where performance trumps tenure.

Like this comment
Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2016 at 3:27 pm

Get the Facts is a registered user.

Pleasanton Parent, my apologies for this late reply. School districts can have a role in class size reduction, but CSR is very, very expensive. Anytime you lower class size, you must add staff, and the largest cost for a school district is staffing. Staffing is typically 80-90% of a district's budget. So basically, class sizes can only be reduced (in the vast majority of cases) if the state pays for it, or gives incentives for it. That is why you will see in most districts in California, K-3 will be 25-1 and grades 4-5 will be 33-1, as the state pays for these ratios currently.

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

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