1. Sherri Rosenberg of Washington HS PTA did a presentation on the Reflections Contest. This year’s theme was “My Favorite Place.” Reflections is an arts contest for students. The artwork is in the BOE Chambers. Students illustrate their favorite places, such as Sudan, Minnesota, their grandmother’s garden, Lafayette ES’ Room 10 (Way to go, Teacher!!) and their home.
2. Public Comment include:
a. Delegation from Hilltop High School complained that the District is cutting essential services to this vital program. Hilltop is a high school for pregnant and parenting teens. The school provides daycare as well as classes on how to parent children. The District has found that students are more likely to graduate when they are at Hilltop as opposed to be transferring to traditional schools.
b. Bonnie Jones, president of the Lowell HS PTA; Ken Tray, UBC representative at Lowell, and others complained that the District has cancelled interview for the position of principal at Lowell HS and moved to a later date in May. They pointed out that great candidates would already have been selected by the beginning of May.
c. Lita Blanc, UESF representative (and outstanding teacher at Moscone), pointed out that the District has raised health care cost by $150 per month for a total of $508 per month for an employee with two children. She noted that beginning teachers with two children really have to struggle to survive with that big of a bite of their paycheck. The increase represents 3% of the raise that they received this year.
d. Carolyn Samoa, a Special Education paraprofessional at Paul Revere ES, noted that paraprofessionals are not treated equally as other employees under the current contract. With the new UESF contract, paraprofessionals are asking for full binding arbritation (which all other city and district employees have the right to) and better language on bereavement leave, jury duty, education leave and improved pension plan.
3. The District gave a much deserved round of applause to the hard-working bus drivers of SFUSD. Even though they are employed by Laidlaw, every Board member noted that they are a vital part of the SFUSD family. Brock Estes testified about Jose Perez who has saved a student’s life and a parent’s life on his bus in the last two years.
One person noted that the bus drivers had volunteered their time to help set up the Special Education Conference at John O’Connell last weekend on Friday night, was there at 7 a.m. to do the last-minute details, worked throughout the conference and then helped to break everything down. Well done, Bus Drivers!!
It was noted that the bus drivers are in a dispute with Laidlaw. Laidlaw raised the bus drivers’ health benefit costs by 760% in violation of their contract.
4. The Community Budget workshop will be Saturday, May 19. The location nor time was not given.
5. The Board heard a quarterly update on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program. Annette Lim, District staff, noted that 138 SFUSD students have IEP with 023/Hearing Impairment notation. She noted that 12 incoming kindergarteners have been identified as deaf and hearing impaired. Eight of those students got their first choice, two got their second choice and the other two were placed by the District at an alternative site (translation-they didn’t get any of their choices.) The District hired one traveling teacher for deaf and hard of hearing in September 2006. They hired another teacher in January 2007 and they are planning on hiring a third teacher in the fall of 2008.
The District reported that they have renovated 40 classrooms in the last six months. Michelle Modena and Kelly Hagen, parents of a student at Lilienthal, praised the District for the work that they are doing but reminded everyone that the District still have to work to reach the agreed-upon goals.
6. Orla O’Keefe, Chief Administrative Officer, read a resolution that would reduce 15.41 permanent full-time equivalant paraprofessional positions.
Linda Plack, UESF vice president, noted that there were 540 paraprofessionals that the District had listed as “temporary” but the records show that they are working full-time. Under the contract, these paraprofessionals should be laid off before permanent employees. Plack also wondered how the District in good faith, called these employees “temporary” if they were indeed working enough hours to be considered full-time.
Dennis Kelly, UESF president, noted that the District spends 73% of its budget on employee costs. SFUSD ranks 12 out among the 13 largest school districts in employee cost (benefits and salary) spending. Kelly noted that the average amount spent by other large districts on employee costs was 81%. Kelly pointed out that the BOE’s Ad Hoc Committee on Personnel would be considering action items to hire three additional administration positions-yet the District was proposing to lay off people who directly work with the students.
Kelly also noted that there was a rally of 300 teachers prior to the School Board meeting. Currently, Hayward teachers are on their third week of a strike against Hayward Unified and three teachers’ union have declared that they are at an impasse in their contract negotiations with their district. President Sanchez noted that the Board was having a closed session meeting on the status of the UESF contract that evening.
Mary, Lavalais, UESF’s Paraprofessional Representative and Paraprofessional at SF Community School, pointed out that many of the paraprofessionals had several degrees. She noted the hard work that it takes to be a paraprofessional in dealing with students with special needs-and yet, these dedicated workers work hard each and every day. She closed her comments with “Paraprofessionals are proud partners with teachers in the classroom.”
The Board decided to postpone the vote to the next meeting to hear additional information from the District on why they were laying off permanent paraprofessionals rather than the “temporary” paraprofessionals .
7. Commissioner Jane Kim noted that the Ad Hoc Committee on Labor Relations had meet on the issue of hiring educational consultants to teach students. She stated that the committee did not take any action and would continue an ongoing discussion.
8. The following meetings were announced:
Ad-Hoc Committe on Personnel Matters will be meeting on Thursday, April 26 at 5:30 p.m. at 555 Franklin
BOS/BOE Joint Committeee will be meeting on Thursday, April 26 at 3:30 p.m. at the BOS Chambers in City Hall
Community Meeting on the Roles of the Board and the Superintendent will be on Saturday, April 28 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the BOE Chambers
Citizen Advisory Committee on Student Recruitment, Retention and Selection will be on Tuesday, May 1 at 3:30 at 555 Franklin
Curriculum Committee/City College Board will meet on Thursday, May 3 at 6 p.m. at 555 Franklin
Budget and Business Services Committee will meet on Tuesday, May 15 at 6 p.m. at 555 Franklin