School board approves management raises | October 25, 2013 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

News - October 25, 2013

School board approves management raises

Also to consider $12.7 million in tech upgrades

by Glenn Wohltmann

Administrators at the Pleasanton School District will get raises that match those given to other employees earlier this year.

No one spoke at a Pleasanton School Board public hearing about the raises, which include a 1.1% salary hike and a one-time bonus of 1% of annual pay. The board approved the raises, which will cost about $170,000, on a unanimous vote.

The raises are the same received by the district's two unions, which represent teachers and school employees.

Meanwhile, the board will consider how to pay for technology upgrades across the district. A review by Director of Technology Services Chris Hobbs suggests the district needs to spend $12.7 million on upgrades that include new network infrastructure at a cost of $5.4 million to improve online access for students, teachers and staff.

"I counted at least seven different vendors at different campuses across the district," Hobbs told the board at its meeting Tuesday night.

He said the demand for bandwidth is constantly increasing.

"We're never going to have less demand," Hobbs said. "It never goes back to what it was."

His report also includes $4.6 million to be spent in classrooms: $2.2 million for ceiling-mounted projectors, $1.4 million for audio systems and about $1 million for document cameras and laser printers.

Hobbs told the board the district needs to spend $2.7 million for computer upgrades.

"We have a wide variety of devices that are in use at our district today. We have Macs and PCs, we have iPads and Chromebooks," he said.

Hobbs' report calls for spending $900,000 for fixed computer labs. That includes one lab at each elementary school and one at Village High, two labs at each middle school and five each at Foothill and Amador Valley High.

It also suggests spending $800,000 for mobile computer labs that can take the place of fixed labs while they're being used for new computer-based testing.

The report also calls for spending $1 million on laptops for teachers and staff.

"All technology has a useful life," Hobbs told the board. "We should not expect teachers and students to be working with the same technology they had 10 years ago."

A complete technology plan will be presented to the board in December.

In the meantime, district officials have embarked on a listening campaign. A meeting with business leaders was held Wednesday night, with a parent and staff forum on Thursday night and another set for Oct. 30. A draft of the plan is to be presented at a Nov. 13 community forum.

Boardmember Jamie Hintzke questioned whether the district should move to projectors and away from flat screen TVs that are already being used in some classrooms.

"It comes down to what is the best bang for the buck," Hobbs said.

The board will consider several options to pay for the new technology that Hobbs estimated would cost the district about $2.7 million every five years.

Deputy Superintendent Luz Cazares said the district has recently been getting by with using some money from the general funds and from donations.

"We've not been spending a lot in the most recent years," Cazares told the board.

The district is putting together a spending plan to accompany the technology plan, she said. Some money could come from one-time state money to implement a new learning plan, Common Core. Other money could come by using reserve funds that came with the sale of land, known as the Sycamore Fund.

But, she said, the district may need to look to voters to approve short-term borrowing through a bond issue. Some districts are using five-year general obligation bonds to pay for technology improvements, with the plan of going back to voters again as technology becomes dated.


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