My Summary, and thoughts, of the April 27th, BUSD Board Meeting

The district recognized the science and engineering fair winners at the County competition.

Heather Lewis, a parent from Sundance Elementary, Addressed the board during the open public session. She read an excerpt from one of assistant superintendent's new contracts and then questioned how the new contracts could be not considered an increase. Mrs. Lewis told the board they need to be less dismissive of parents concerns.

Mr Sanchez asks Assistant Superintendent Steve Hovey to explain the steps of compensation. The steps are fairly easy to understand and most people are familiar with how they work. Mr. Hovey claims nothing is new in the contracts in regards to the step compensation.

I would still like to hear an explanation of how reimbursing the assistant superintendents for their employee contribution of their retirement plan putting an additional $10,000 in their pockets is not an increase in compensation. Also, if Mr. Hovey's claim that the assistant superintendent's contracts have always included the step increases is true, why is there no mention of the steps in last year's contract? And, if they have been receiving step increases that were not written in last year's contract, why and by what authority?

The board declared the week May 3-7 the week of the teacher and May 17-21 the week of the Classified School Employee.

There is still no formal recognition for the parent and volunteers who do so much with their own time and money to support our schools. The district again ignored the National Public School Volunteer Week (the third week in April) and the National Parent Involvement Day (November 19th). The district's official response, echoed by board trustees, has been that each school honors and recognizes parents and volunteers implying it isn't necessary for the district to do anything. Schools may already honor volunteers but this not an excuse for the district to ignore parents and volunteer contributions. They do this while they continue to ignore federal regulations requiring a written parent Involvement Policy and Plan to be in place and updated annually with parent involvement.

The board was presented a report on the second District Benchmark Results grades 2-12 by Darrell Brown. Mr. Brown warned the board that the early benchmark results aren't very useful since there isn't any data from STAR test yet for a good comparison. He regretted having to make the report and have people draw the wrong conclusions from an incomplete analysis.

The board adopted Early Bird/Late Bird Kindergarten schedule for all elementary schools for the 2010-11 school year. Each school's individual needs will be addressed with the new schedules. The new program involves dividing classes of 30+ kindergarteners into two groups, Early Birds and Late Birds. The early students will receive instruction in core subjects, math and English language arts, when they first arrive with a teacher to student ratio of about 15-1. Then when the second half of the class arrives the remaining subjects will be presented in the 30+ - 1 ratio. Finally, the early students will leave and the late students will receive their core subject instruction in the 15-1 ratio

The board declared May 12 the Day of the Teacher.

During the review of the facilities projects, assistant superintendent Mays Kakish was asked about the project to bring technology to all classrooms. She indicated the project is still being scoped out. The priority list of school sites has been set.

Kakish presented a report similar to the one she presented at the last Budget Review Committee meeting and she described the BRC process. The report projected a $6,940,705 deficit in 2012-13. Board member Mr. Orozco asks how the budget affects the facilities master plan. Mrs. Kakish responded that it will not be affected much since facilities have separate funding. She went on to report that even though the administration has been talking about stability (no staff cuts) the BRC was seeing the importance of cuts in spending now instead of later. She said that even though the admin has been promising no layoffs this year and next, this was based on assumptions not changing.

To get my response to this, please read my post from April 28th titled BUSD, Are You Smarter Than A Second Grader?</blog/2010/4/28/busd-are-you-smarter-than-a-second-grader.html>

During closing statements, CSEA President Judy Peterson said the CSEA will not tolerate parent volunteers to take the place of instructional aides and board members Mr. Orozco encouraged parents to come to board meetings and the district to communicate better to parents.