The Palo Alto Board of Education is set to discuss Tuesday night proposed contract renewals for three key district employees: Associate Superintendent Charles Young, Chief Budget Officer Cathy Mak and Bond Program Manager Bob Golton, who is overseeing major construction throughout the school district under the $378 million "Strong Schools" bond passed by voters in 2008.
When asked about the timing of Young's renewal with a new superintendent about to head the district, school board President Barb Mitchell said: "Superintendents have wide discretion in assessing administrators. It's in the contracts."
Often, new chief administrators prefer to select the person who will serve as second-in-command.
Mak's contract is also up for a three-year extension, and Golton's, two years.
Copies of the proposed contract renewals and the current contracts are posted on Palo Alto Online.
In other business, the board plans to delve into the latest version of the district's long-discussed bullying policy, which will be up for a vote at the board's next meeting on June 3. Under the proposed new policy, bullying complaints from students in non-legally protected classes (classes such as sexual orientation, disability, etc.) would still be handled at the school level -- as opposed to the district level for "protected" classes of students -- but imposes a 15-school-day deadline for principals to resolve the problem, even if the bullying took place off campus.
A proposed salary increase for substitute teachers is also on the docket, after four substitutes spoke to the board May 6 about the impact of insufficient pay and unpredictable work.
Staff is recommending that the board institute a regular daily pay rate for substitutes of $152 (a $17 per day increase), a long-term day rate of $202 (a $22 per day increase) and a partial day rate at $83 (a $9 per half day increase) for the next school year. These rates have remained fixed since the 2006-07 school year, according to a staff report.
The board also plans to discuss revisions for elementary school report cards, with the main driving force being the district's recent implementation of -- and thus, need to incorporate -- the state's Common Core standards. A committee and parent advisory group have convened separately and jointly throughout the year to analyze, provide input and develop a new draft report card for students K-5, which will be presented to the board.
Palo Alto High School's forthcoming performing-arts center could get a boost Tuesday night, with the board scheduled to award a contract to the lowest responsive, responsible bidder for the $21.5 million project, which was originally approved in January 2012.
Also on the agenda is a staff recommendation to approve extending the private Stratford School's lease of the former Garland Elementary School site at 870 N. California Ave. The current lease ends on June 30 of next year; the extension would allow the private school to remain until June 30, 2016.
In a study session Tuesday morning, starting at 9 a.m., the board is also discussing the district's Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). As part of the state's K-12 Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), school districts are required to develop, adopt and update annually a three-year plan beginning on July 1. Beginning in the 2014-15 school year, Palo Alto Unified will receive $1.4 million in supplemental LCFF funding, with that amount increasing over the next two years (to approximately $2 million for the 2015-16 year and $2.3 million for 2016-17), according to a staff report. The funds are calculated based on the number of English learners, foster youth and low-income students.
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