Monday, February 16, 2015

February 9th School Board Meeting

Video Link Part 1: Kindergarten Schedules/ Extended Day Kindergarten
Video link 2: Board Policy 5111: Student Admission, AR 5111.1 Residency
Video link 3: Board Policy 5111: Student Admission, AR 5111.1: Residency, Public comment: Residency Policy, Gov Proposed Budget for 2015-16
Video link 4: Governor's Proposed Budget, 2015-16, and impact on OUSD

Trustees Meeting Highlights 2-9-15 
Certificated Employee of the Month: Betsy Howe   Classified Employee of the Month: Kevin Nguyen

  • Discussion re: extended kindergarten day
  • Trustee Kaune requested clarification of intervention model, cost of returning to extended day, and timeline for implementation
  • Trustee Butler asked about numbers of students in intervention
  • Trustee Rossitor asked about a specialist delivering intervention and how the schedule works
  • Trustee Brown asked for the amount of time devoted to intervention. Mrs. Marshall stated that each intervention student receive 45 minutes per day, 4 days per week of intervention
  • Trustees Butler and Brown suggested that a committee of parents & teachers be formed to address interest in extended K and recommended a more instructional day beyond just lunch for K students.
  • Trustee Moran: recognized that there is interest in the amount of K content and not rushing through it
  • Jim Bartleman K teacher spoke to need for extended K (Charles Shannon has video of Jim and Cathy (below)): inclusion of academics with rest time, with socialization, with opportunities to assimilate learning
  • Cathy Shipp, K teacher spoke: high standards of district expectations: read at level e, write a complete narrative and persuasive piece, use upper and lower case letters, voice, description. Need for social studies, art , music. Currently schedule does not allow time to cover curriculum and allow for socialization. K teachers should be able to focus on K teaching (not intervention)
  • Parent Nadine Waters, psychologist: shared nuero-science that impacts K students: brain growth between 4.5 years and 6 years; needs stimulation; skills form the foundation for academic readiness
  • Molly Wilson, SHPC president: expected services are declining, frustrated parents who are investing significant monies into the district, less volunteerism from double working parents, supports extended K
  • Megan Baldwin, WR K parent: supporting extended K classes; 900 members/260 Orinda mothers in Lamorinda Moms; surprised that extended day has been annually brought to OUSD Board without results; reflected on temperament of children participating in a minimal K experience
  • Cheryl Bjornson, Glorietta parent: extended K provides long term benefits, transitional minutes, supports full inclusion of programs, suggested an advisory body so that extended K may begin in fall 2015
  • Neil Wright: Glorietta parent: supports extended K class that will provide greater support to students in future grades
  • BP5111: reviewed by Rossitor and Kaune
  • Student Residency: open to more forms of residency certification (i.e. CDL, employment contract, PG & E statement, military i.d, caregiver affadavit.); board approval instead of superintendent approval, included appeal to Trustees process
  • Trustees together read through revised BP and made additional revisions.
  • 4th graders at Sleepy Hollow will participate in a camp field trip at Malakoff Diggings.

2015-16 Calendar
Monday, 8/24: staff dev.
Tues. 8/25: teachers’ workday
Weds. 8/26; students return to school
Fri. 6/10: closing day
Other SD: Fri. 9/18 (min. day), Mon. 10/12 (min. day), Mon. Jan 25, Mon. March 7, Fri. April 15 (min. day)
Parent Conferences: Oct 12-16, March 14-15
180 student days, 184 certificated work-days

Governor’s Budget
2014-15 ADA               1.58% COLA             2015-16 ADA
TK-3: $7011.00            $111.00                   $7122.00
4-6:  $7116.00             $112.00                   $7228.00
7-8:  $7328.00             $116.00                   $7444.00

  • In addition, the 2015-16 TK-3 grant increase for CSR is $741.00 ADA.
  • The Gov. Budget proposes 900 million in one-time Prop 98 monies in 2014-15 to eliminate all remaining deferral debt in K-12.
  • The Budget provides 1.58% COLA for Special Education and $15.3 million for enrollment growth.
  • The Gov. Budget also includes prior year mandated reimbursement funds as discretionary one-time Prop 98 funding to further implement Common Core.
  • The estimated funding for OUSD is based on $180/ADA or $450K.
  • CALSTRS and PERS district retirement contributions will increase from 2014-15 to 2020-21.
2014-15                                                                                 2020-15
CALSTRS: 9.5% district contribution                                    19.1% 
PERS: 11.771%                                                                    20.4%
  • The formula providing funds to lower K-3 class sizes to 24 remains the same (currently n/a for Orinda thanks to our school community).
  • The Governor has created a Rainy Day Fund as a cushion against a future financial recession. At the close of this school year it is expected to reach 2.8 million dollars.
  • The estimated increase in revenue for OUSD is expected to be  $400 per ADA via LCFF funds as well as maintaining the $180 per ADA via the Mandated Cost Block Grant.

Respectfully submitted by,
Colleen Sullivan

Monday, January 19, 2015

January 12th School Board Meeting Highlights

Trustees’ Meeting Highlights 1-12-15

Public Comment:
·      2 parents spoke to their interest in extending the Kindergarten day and asked that the “item” be included on the Feb. School Board Meeting agenda

Recognitions of the Month
·      Michelle Broback, Del Rey Sec retary
·      Patsy Templeton, Teacher on Special Assignment

BP 5111 Admissions and Administrative Regulation – District Residency

Trustee Butler recognized that following discussion by the Board, the public may comment.

Trustee Rossiter identified that at Miramonte she must show residency documentation each year. With a child at Del Rey, she was only required to show residency documentation once. She suggested that OUSD should require residency documentation each year. She also suggested that language within the policy needs a “clean-up.”

Trustee Kaune: distributed a document to the Board and public that organized his notes and other district policies.

His summary suggests:
·      An explanatory introduction and more clear subheadings
·      Definition of the methods of reasonable inquiry
·      Definition or elimination of the term “alternative living arrangements”
·      Expand the process for determining residency
·      Advance Board notice of any revocation of enrollment
·      Right to Appeal
·      References to concrete examples

Trustee Kaune said, “I believe that we should be explicit that we have not adopted the so-called Allen Bill approach under Ed Code 4820b to admit all children of employees in the district and have articulated standards for those living outside of the District.”

Trustee Brown suggested appeal process and using two sources of documentation (CSBA recommendation), and include that OUSD does not discriminate on race, religion, orientation et al.

Trustee Butler: familiar with Miramonte residency system; concern about the need for staffing to annually check residency documents, also mentioned two sources of documentation,  suggested that “reasonably believes” and “reasonable efforts”  needs to be defined in the clause asking staff to report any possible violations of residency.

Trustee Butler also requested that the Trustees be informed and “kept in the loop” regarding matters of this nature.

Trustee Moran: wants to emulate Miramonte’s annual policy.

Mrs. Storch: thanked the board for discussing the residency matter. She expressed dismay that the Trustees did not know that action was being taking against Vivien. She encouraged stronger communication and clear policy that fairly applies to all families and not a case-by-case focus.  AB207 specifies how many residency documents may be requested (AUHSD is noncompliant with AB207).

Trustee Moran recommended a subcommittee of Trustee Kaune and Trustee Rossitor to review policy and bring for discussion to the Feb. Board Meeting.

Biannual Audit Report: twice a year using compliance guide issued by State Controller.

Tentative Bargaining Agreement for 2013-2014 school year
·      Ongoing 3% increase applied to salary schedule retroactive to October 7, 2013
·      Ongoing increase to medical benefit cap of $485.00 per month full time equivalency effective December 1, 2014
·      One time: from July 1, 2014 – November 30, 2014 only; increase of up to $285.00 medical cap dependent upon the amount paid out of pocket by the teacher
·      One time: off salary scale stipend of $3475.00
·      Beginning with the 2015-16 school year, through the 2016-17 school year, prep time will be restored by 80 minutes per month to elementary teachers 1st gades through 3rd grade.

Elementary enrichment specialists who tech grades 1st through 5th shall receive release time for specific activities. This release time must be scheduled in advance and receive prior approval from the principal. Release time will be granted upon successfully securing substitute teachers to cover classes.

P.E.  - three full days or six half days of sub release time per site between February and May for 5th grade required state physical fitness testing

Music:  up to 2.5 days sub release time for concert practices, concert performances, and play assemblies

Art: ½ day of sub release time in spring to prepare for the Orinda Arts Ambassador Program

Trustee Moran complimented teachers. Unanimously approved.

Discussion of tentative 2015-16 calendar
·      First SD: Monday, August 24
·      First Student Day: Wednesday, August 26

·      Last Day of Class: Friday, June 10

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

OUSD Board Meeting Dec.8th, 2014

Video Links to the Board Meeting:
Part 1:

Meeting Highlights by Colleen Sullivan, OEA VP
Employees of the Month:
Scott Adams, 3rd Grade, Del Rey
Joan Seldon, aide, Sleepy Hollow

Public Comment:
1) David Greenstone, K class Glorietta: would like everyone in America to be treated nicely.
2) Mrs. Greenstone: objected to Mrs. Storch being designated as caregiver status in order for Vivien to attend school. Her mother is her primary caregiver.
3) Lindsey: played a recording in Spanish from Vivien’s mother. Described how challenging and difficult this experience has been for herself and Vivien. She feels unwanted and hopes that others never experience what she has. She wanted her child to receive a good education.
4) Katie: from an Employment Coalition: spoke to the valuable work that low/unskilled workers do, Often poorly treated, majority of domestics are women supporting their own families. State-wide coalition watching this case.
5) Neil Gilbert: focused on insensitive process and questionable leadership; appointment of a Fiscal Advisory Committee that met in private, took no minutes and included an individual who received business contracts from the district, lack of action against objectionable behavior by former WR principal, bonus paid to Supt. when moving offices, has created humiliation for the the community of Orinda, lack of compassion, level of arrogance. Transcript.
6) Sarah Sanderson: Hand-in-Hand: Nat’l Organization for Domestics: encouraged sensitivity and due process, domestic worker side-lined, need to be recognized for valuable contributions. Change practices.
7) Mrs. Storch:  grew up in Orinda and attended schools here. Previously believed Orinda was includive. Investigator lied to Mr. Storch and Maria;  investigator masqueraded as a police officer; 5 days until Vivien would be unenrolled; no appeal offered. Maria supplied appropriate documentation. Why was her documentation considered invalid?  District wasted money. Leadership needs to change.
8) Stephanie Sierra: attorney; the district’s attorney probably assured the Board what ws done was OK. Reminded the Trustees that they may change policy and change administration. Are there residents in the community who point out individuals of color? Tax dollars to go to wards inclusivity.
 9) Ayala Oshri, Orinda Mother: wearing pink for a pink slip for the superintendent and Vivien; identified school district as strong in academics and “all the rest = F.” Encouraged transparency.
10) Val Sloven: appalled by district position; objected to the district first recourse of an investigator; district humiliated two families; Trustees need to review their policies
11) Bob Kadie: Trustees claimed to not know about investigator; need a human response as to why this happened rather than a legal response. The person who launched the investigation should be held accountable
12) Sue Boudreau: if OUSD defines residency as seven nights a week in an Orinda bed, what about students who have homes in Tahoe? Encouraged change in legal unenrollment policy that would allow a student to complete a full school year. Rebrand as a compassionate community. Transcript.
13) Sue Severson, former Trustee: “we welcome and embrace all students in the interdistrict transfer process.” Commended the district for accepting out of district students. Many families move here for the schools and community.  Thanked the Trustees and Superintendent for their service to the community. “You have a tough job.”
14) Jack from Lafayette:  the pall has extended to Lafayette; not a case of insensitivity; case for racial discrimination; loss of trust in the community; take the bigger view, admit something went wrong and make the change
15) Cindy Jaconette: Joe Jaconette turned down a job in business in order to teach; husband acts justly and does the right thing for the right reasons, is caring and follows the law. He put Vivien first in his actions; made sure she stayed in the same class with her friends; ethical and fair man who leads a fair district.

Discussion about playground improvements at Wagner Ranch; concern about rising costs. Matt Moran wants to move forward with repairs due to safety concerns. Contract with HY Architects approved.

Oath of Office for Carol Brown, Jason Kaune and Julie Rossiter.

Board Officers’ positions. Trustee Rossiter nominated Matt Moran as Board President.  No other nominations. Mr. Moran is Board President.
Trustee Kaune nominated himself as VP. Seconded by Trustee Butler
Trustee Moran nominated Trustee Rossitor as VP. Trustee Rossitor seconded herself.
Both Moran and Rossitor have previously been president.
Trustee Butler encouraged the opportunity for Trustee Kaune.
Public comment unanimously encouraged rotatied officerships.
Jason Kaune elected VP by Brown, Butler and Kaune.

Committee  Representatives:
CCC School Board Association: Sarah Butler/Carol Brown
EFO:  Jason Kaune/Carol Brown
Legislative Committee: Sarah Butler
Lamo Bus Meetings: Matt Moran/Jason Kaune

First Interim Narrative Report by Lorene Farrell: Board authorized to sign contracts/payments: approved

Local Control Funding Formula has increased by $224,736.00. Federal funding decreased by $407.00. State funding increased by $61,933.00 Local unrestricted funding decreased by $41,011.00 due to decrease in Parents’ Club funding. Books and supplies = $1,490,954.00. (15-16)
Contract services $3075,533.00 (15-16)
An increase in Parcel Tax funds is expected. Anticipates $500.00 per parcel from Orinda Parcel Tax: 35,000 parcels. Some new parecels via Pulte and Wilder.
OUSD will remian solvent during the next two years. Report approved.

Classified Confidetial Employees do not have affordable health care. Offering $250.00 per month for FTE. Under Affordable Health Care Act OUSD is out of compliance. Approved

Superintendent Report: looking forward to working with new Trustees. Attended local tree lighting. Elementary and middle schools performances were “spectacular.” Kudoes to music teachers.
With Trustees, visited Glorietta School

Future Agendas: Trustee Butler asked for an additional meeting re; residency policy and review of current policies. Would also like to review LCAP process. Revisit solar and air conditioning asap
Trustee Rossitor: wants information about extended day K classes

K teachers are encouraged to contact Trustees re: full day Kindergarten

Adjourned to closed session

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

CTA Saving and Investing for Retirement Conferences

· Planning for Retirement: How much will you need?
· ABCs of 403(b) and 457 Plans
· Investing Basics
· Working with a Financial Advisor and Understanding Fees
· CTA Resources: Model Portfolios, CTA Retirement Savings Plan
Chapters are encouraged to identify members who can share CTA 
resources and strategies to build capacity for organizing at the local 
chapter. There is no fee to attend. Participants are responsible for 
their travel expense.
RELEASE TIME for the pre-conference will be arranged and paid for by CTA for three
members per chapter at the Equity & Human Rights Conference and Good Teaching
Conferences, and two members per chapter at the Issues Conference with the
approval of the chapter president. Chapters may send members to one or more
(This conference requires a separate registration from the main CTA conference.)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

November Board Highlights from OEA

Board Study Session on Facilities: 
(topics covered: AC, Solar, Energy Efficiencies & Prop 39, Portables, total Project list & New projects)

November Board Highlights
Video link part 1
Video link part 2

Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) account to pre-fund post-employment benefits
Cost to district of OPEB is @$457,000. per year and has been ear-marked in he general fund. About 36 districts in CA use irrevocable trust accounts to fund this. OUSD lawyers have not reviewed the agreement and will not be included in decision-making.

Trustee Rossiter wants to take a prudent approach and deposit @$150,000 and leave it to roll forward and pay the $457,000 from the general fund. The $150,000 represents a 1% cost for all teachers sans benefits. Trustee Moran suggested $544,000 from Fund 17 (which has $1.3 million. Fund 17 is for ‘economic uncertainty’ aka a rainy day fund), and $457,000. from the general fund.  

Trustee Butler is encouraging a prudent step as funds may be added at a later date.
Trustee Krumholz asked for what purposes Fund 17 monies may be used. One-time.

The board approved 3-2 (Krumholz, Moran, Severson for, Rossiter and Butler voted against) to deposit funds following Trustee Moran’s suggestion.

Wagner Ranch School Plan – accepted

Northwest Capital Recovery Group: analyzes school district utility bills for errors and line-item expense reductions. Will look at retroactive statements. NWCRG specializes in recovering overcharges in electricity, natural gas, water, sewer, garbage and shredding. Contract unanimously approved.

Parcel Tax Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee Appointment
Recommended Daniel Pier and Eileen Pummer to fill the four-year term appointments. Unanimously approved.

Glorietta Playground Project
Demolition of existing primary playground, curb and sand area. Will prepare the sub surface and install the pour-in-place surfacing. $98,192.50. Robertson Industries.
Unanimously approved.

District Goals: unanimously approved

Local Control Accountability Plan
Discussion about how to gather public comments.

2014-15 Professional Development Report
Kathy Marshall presented a plethora of staff development concepts for district

Trustee Rossitor asked how information is collected from the teachers. KM responded that the Curriculum Committee collected information over a three-week period from teachers at sites. Information was collated at the October Curriculum Committee Meeting.

Trustee Butler asked if teachers are getting the materials they need in terms of instructional materials. KM assured that teachers have materials. Trustee Severson asked how new teachers are supported in learning Orinda methods. KM affirmed that new teachers receive support from site coaches.

Charles Shannon supported teachers helping teachers.

Board Committee Reports:
·      Trustee Moran met with Dr. Jaconette and Parents’ Club Presidents
·      Fire Drill at DR
·      Dr. Jaconette: Parents’ Club Meetings
·      Science night at Glorietta School on Wednesday, November 5

·      Trustee Butler requested AC and portables’ buyout on a near future agenda and LCAF again on agenda in a couple of months.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

What TIME Magazine Needs to Know about Tenure...

What TIME Magazine Needs to Know
about Tenure and Why it Matters
 (From National Education Association/California Teachers Association)
The cover story for the November 3rd issue of Time, The War on Teacher Tenure, sensationalizes the attempts of a few tech millionaires to take on due process policies like tenure in court. Time’s cover purposefully gives the false impression that there are many, many bad teachers in our public schools and that due process rights like tenure make it nearly impossible to fire them. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The heroes of our public education system are not Silicon Valley millionaires and their corporate lawyers, but are the teachers who greet our children every day at the schoolhouse door. Due process policies like tenure protect proven professional teachers and ensure that students are taught by experienced and well-trained professionals. If Time’s writer and editors had bothered to talk to even a single teacher, they would have known that teachers receive tenure only after they earn certification, meet rigorous performance expectations, and prove themselves in the classroom for an extended period of time.

Prior to earning tenure, teachers can be terminated without cause. After earning tenure, teachers still can be fired, for cause, and tenure provides them with the right to know why they are being fired and a fair opportunity to challenge the dismissal. Teacher tenure is merely a guarantee that experienced and quality teachers have the right to due process. Despite what the cover headline of Time magazine suggests, teacher tenure is no lifetime job guarantee.

Why is Tenure Still Important?
·      Tenure laws recognize that teachers, just like other employees, are sometimes treated unfairly and should be able to defend themselves when an administrator tries to get rid of teachers who advocate for their students and their colleagues. We know from experience that even great teachers can be falsely accused, and that requiring that proven teachers be given the reason for their termination and an opportunity to challenge that reason, provides an important protection to proven educators.

·      Time could have, but did not, explain that a recent California Teacher of the Year Shannan Brown testified under oath in the Vergara trial that she relied on her tenure to advocate on behalf of her students against a canned curriculum pushed by district administrators.

·      It didn’t describe any of the many cases in which teachers without tenure have had to go to court because they believe they were unfairly fired for:
1.    Reporting and testifying in support of students who reported to her that they had been victims of incest;
2.    Refusing to give high grades to students who did not earn them despite a principal urging her to “just get drunk and give them all ’A’s’”;
3.    Complaining about classroom conditions and pressure to falsify test scores;
4.    Selecting controversial books—Fahrenheit 451 and Siddhartha—to teach in high school English;
5.    Expressing opposition to the Iraq war in response to a student’s question during a high school class discussion of current events;
6.    Expressing concerns about the fairness of cheerleader tryouts;
7.    Complaining about discriminatory and illegal conduct toward the school’s special needs students;
8.    Complaining about the size of her teaching caseload;
9.    Complaining to her supervisors about a lack of equipment and resources for her students;
10. Being replaced (at 47 years old) by a 25 year-old because, as the superintendent put it, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks;
11. Complaining about the school district’s violations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
To be sure the description of some of the cases above is drawn from the teachers’ allegations, and there certainly is another side to the story. But if even a fraction of these allegations are correct they demonstrate the continuing need for tenure laws. And needless to say the fact teachers may be able to sue in court to challenge certain discharges, is no substitute for the protection provided by tenure laws. General non-discrimination/retaliation laws do nothing to protect teachers from discharge for challenging their students with high standards and demanding curriculum.   Nor do they protect teachers caught in the cross fire of school politics and falsely accused of misconduct.

Even if Tenure is Necessary, Isn’t the Existing Dismissal Process Too Expensive?
Dismissal processes vary from state to state, but overall tenure cases are resolved efficiently (in virtually all cases for a fraction of the cost of full blown court litigation) and most importantly—in the best interests of students.  NEA has worked to make the process both efficient and fair. Between 2006 and 2009, 93% were resolved before any hearing was held. We’re proud that in states where the existing dismissal process needed reform, NEA and its affiliates have led and will continue to lead on dismissal process reforms. Since 2010, 31 states have reformed their tenure laws including New Jersey’s 2012 revisions which shortened to just three months’ time the length of contested teacher termination proceedings, see N.J. Stat. Ann. 18A:6-10 et seq., and California’s 2014 revisions to that state’s tenure laws (AB 215) that shortens to seven months’ time the average teacher dismissal process.

Let’s focus on what really matters if we want to help all our students succeed
Rather than focusing on one bad apple, we need to lift the bar for the entire teaching profession. We know as a matter of fact that many individuals who begin teaching careers stay only a few years, and we also know that high turnover in the teaching profession is extraordinarily costly to our students and our schools. For example, one recent report by the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future put the cost of teacher turnover at $7 billion a year and estimated that four of every 10 individuals who enter teaching leave the profession within five years.

We know and are proud of the fact that teachers are the most important in-school student learning factor. We hope that the funders of the attacks on teacher tenure will join educators to shape an education reform narrative around lifting the bar for the teaching profession and to ensure that new and experienced teachers have the supports they need to reach every student and make every school a great public school.