News


Pleasanton school board endorses Prop 55

Conflict of interest policy, state testing results, dyslexia curriculum among other topics

The Pleasanton school board threw its support behind California's Proposition 55 on Monday evening, unanimously approving a resolution in favor of the statewide ballot measure that would extend an income tax on wealthy Californians to fund education and health care programs.

Prop 55, known as the "Children's Education and Health Care Protection Act," would extend for 12 more years the temporary personal income tax increases on those with high incomes implemented as part of Prop 30.

The estimated $4 billion to $9 billion in revenue generated annually from 2019-30 would fund education and health care. Tax revenues would be allocated between K-12 schools and community colleges at rates of 89% and 11%, respectively, and up to $2 billion in certain years would fund health care programs.

Without an extension, the temporary tax would be phased out starting in 2018 and then expire the following year. The sales tax component of Prop 30 a 0.25% statewide sales tax to fund education is set to expire at the end of this year and is not addressed by Prop 55.

As a part of its resolution supporting Prop 55, the school board urged the state legislature to "work with the public education community to identify stable, long-term, adequate funding solutions for public schools."

The board and district staff read the resolution aloud before the board members unanimously approved it during their meeting Monday night. Normally scheduled on Tuesdays, the regular board meeting was moved up a day because of Yom Kippur, the Jewish observance that began at sundown Tuesday.

In other business

* Board members also heard and discussed a presentation on the district's 2015-16 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress results.

The CAASPP replaced Standardized Testing and Reporting examinations two years ago and incorporates new Common Core standards that challenge students to use critical thinking and solve complex problems. It is an online test given in grades three through eight and grade 11.

Pleasanton students overall performed better in the second year of the CAASPP testing, with 81% meeting or exceeding English language arts and literacy standards and 76% meeting or exceeding mathematics standards according to data released in August. That marked an improvement of 1% and 3% over last year, respectively.

Staff shared with the board how PUSD's results compare with school districts locally and statewide. They also provided an overview of resources meant to help students, parents and community members understand the results and highlighted next steps.

School board members acknowledged the work that has gone into implementing Common Core and CAASPP and congratulated district staff on the progress made.

"Staff did an amazing job of getting through the new curriculum and new ways of teaching," board member Joan Laursen said. "It's just remarkable. Everyone should be really proud of themselves."

* The board also heard the first reading of proposed updates to the board policy on conflicts of interest.

The Political Reform Act requires local agencies to review their conflict of interest code for accuracy in even-numbered years whether or not it needs to be amended. The last time the Pleasanton board revised its policy was September 2012.

The policy outlines instances in which board members could have conflicts of interest that could require them to abstain from voting on a particular issue, as well as affiliated protocol. For example, it states that the district is barred from entering into a contract where a board member, employee or district consultant has a financial interest.

It also says that even if there isn't a prohibited conflict of interest, a trustee should abstain from voting on personnel matters "that uniquely affect his/her relatives"; however, it continues, they can vote on personnel matters and collective bargaining agreements that affect a class of employees that a relative belongs to.

Pleasanton school superintendent Rick Rubino said at the meeting that the only changes being proposed are to the policy's appendix, where some of the titles of designated personnel listed are outdated. The board did not suggest any additional modifications.

The second reading of the policy will go before the board on Oct. 25 for final approval.

* After an hour-long discussion, the board decided to postpone deciding on the planned adoption of new curriculum for elementary and middle school students with dyslexia.

District officials gave a presentation on the Wilson, Fundations and Just Words programs that would be used primarily by resource specialists for students with significant reading and/or spelling difficulties. In a board memo, they recommended that the board approve the adoption of these supplemental instructional materials while they await specific new guidelines from the state that would be implemented next school year.

The new guidelines stem from the passage of Assembly Bill 1369 last fall, which requires the state's superintendent of public instruction to develop program protocol and educational services for students with dyslexia.

Following a discussion among board members and district staff as well as comments from parents, the group reached the consensus to bring the proposed curriculum adoption back to a future meeting, possibly as soon as Oct. 25.

"I recognize we want to put something in place, but we need to get this right," board president Jamie Hintzke said. "I would encourage staff to re-strategize and bring it back."

* As a part of the consent agenda, the board authorized a mitigation agreement between the district and Ponderosa Homes II, Inc. that would bring in $775,440 in school impact fees.

All new residential and commercial construction requires that a mitigation amount be paid to the district before a county or city of Pleasanton building permit will be issued.

The developer fees are affiliated with the Sycamore Project, the planned construction of 36 single-family residential units on Valley Trails Drive.

The money will go into the district's capital facilities fund, according to a board memo.

* The board recognized Pleasanton high school students Alisha Shaik and Anushka Sikdar for their work combating Islamophobia, which earned them the Dreammakers and Risk Takers award from Innovation Tri Valley.

Comments

5 people like this
Posted by Maritess Simmons
a resident of Pheasant Ridge
on Oct 12, 2016 at 11:33 am

Maritess Simmons is a registered user.

I am so proud of the PTA moms who spoke at this board meeting underscoring the needs of children with dyslexia (aka phonological processing). As staff re-strategizes, I encourage all stakeholders (ESPECIALLY parents who are often focused on mainly THEIR groups/kids) to consider that what's good for children with special needs (not just dyslexia, but ADHD, Executive Function Disorder and other learning disabilities) might actually be good for ALL kids, including English Language Learners and high academic achievers. What am I talking about? Watch this video on "Personalized Learning". It doesn't have to be called that, and you will find that PUSD is already doing of the recommended practices mentioned. By sharing a vision and a language, I am hoping we can mitigate some of the "well what about MY kid" discussions that take up valuable time and energy, when someone ELSE succeeds in getting something they need.

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4 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Oct 12, 2016 at 8:20 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

So at what point does this temporary tax become temporary?

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