School board to discuss contract renewals, salary bump for subs

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.

Young, whose three-year contract is coming to an end on June 30 – the same day as Superintendent Kevin Skelly's last on the job – is up for a renewal that would extend his contract until June 30, 2017.

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.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 20, 2014 at 9:39 am

When it comes to renewing the lease for Stratford School, I would remind everyone that PAUSD is in the business of educating children, not Real Estate Rentals.

We have no plans for establishing any new premises for our own kids and enrollments and housing continue to rise. The now defunct AAAG recommended calling the lease on this school many years ago and we are still talking about where to house students throughout the district. It is about time some proper plans were invoked to keep our schools reasonably sized before turning them all into mega-schools.

Posted by Jim H, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 20, 2014 at 9:45 am

Bob Golton "retired" in 2004 and is collecting nearly $210,000 in pension and benefits. He is actually collecting the 5th highest amount by CalSTRS
Web Link

The district then rehired him on a contract basis 10 years ago. Why does PAUSD need to keep this guy on the payroll? Are you telling me they can't find someone to oversee the bonds for less money? How much total money is PAUSD paying to this guy for something they could have trained someone to do for a lot less 10 years ago?

Posted by CommunityMember, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 20, 2014 at 10:43 am

I have never seen anything but top-notch work from Bob Golton. This is a no-brainer in a district that has so many other struggles. Why would you create another problem by letting this contract expire? It's an expense, not a problem.

Charles Young, on the other hand, has a checkered past. It would be a serious mistake to lock the future Superintendent into a contract with Charles Young.

The board should let the new Super choose his own staff.

Posted by Cindy Costell, a resident of South of Midtown
on May 20, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Fifty years ago this fall, I was a new teacher at then-Terman Junior High School, beginning a challenging and satisfying life career with the PAUSD. The last dozen years, since retirement, I've continued to sub for the District. (You'll likely carry me out of the classroom feet first.) Meanwhile --- let's consider the Oregon State Legislature, which mandates that substitutes in Oregon be paid 85% of the per diem rate of the lowest-paid teacher on their salary scale. Were the PAUSD to follow Oregon's values, substitutes would earn $ 260 per day, not our current
$ 135. We substitutes strive for your students' outcome. We need, and deserve, more income. Thank you.

Posted by Jim H, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 20, 2014 at 1:26 pm

CommunityMember, if your basic premise is that the new superintendent should pick their own staff, then none of the contracts should be renewed until that person is hired. Why saddle them w these large expenses for years?

Golton's work might be "top notch" (would love some specific examples) but the district is paying him $200k in pension benefits and , assuming a conservative $100/hr contract rate, another $160k/year (assuming a 9 month working year for school employees). In thinking we can find "too notch" at a better price

Posted by Janet, a resident of Downtown North
on May 20, 2014 at 2:53 pm

What a disgrace that substitute teachers get such low pay for their hard work. I thought we valued our teachers? No we don't. That's why I got out of teaching 30 years ago. I didn't want to be poverty stricken for my entire life. My first year in another profession, I paid more in taxes than my gross yearly salary as a teacher.

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 20, 2014 at 4:54 pm

I agree with Janet. Even the proposed raise to $152 per day is pathetically low. Palo Alto should be ashamed of itself for perpetuating this two-tiered system of Lords and Serfs (landowners and those who serve them)

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 20, 2014 at 4:54 pm

I agree with Janet. Even the proposed raise to $152 per day is pathetically low. Palo Alto should be ashamed of itself for perpetuating this two-tiered system of Lords and Serfs (landowners and those who serve them)

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 20, 2014 at 4:54 pm

I agree with Janet. Even the proposed raise to $152 per day is pathetically low. Palo Alto should be ashamed of itself for perpetuating this two-tiered system of Lords and Serfs (landowners and those who serve them)

Posted by parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 20, 2014 at 5:15 pm

Charles Young is incompetent. His contract renewal and the change of administration was a chance to let him go. Don't tell me we're still saddled with this guy? What a thing to do to the new person.

Posted by Palo alto resident, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 20, 2014 at 5:57 pm

You do realize that $152 a day is over $21 an hour. Subs really do just work 8-3 or so, they are not the ones doing lesson plans or even grading for the most part.

As far as renewing the Stratford lease, if you follow the Buena Vista thread, it will be closing unless someone buys out a $30 million dollar contract (and the land is probably worth closer to $40 million at this point.) It may get delayed, the residents may get more money, but the City has no legal ground to keep it from closing. That means that most of the 129 students there won't be in PAUSD anymore which takes care of overcrowding for a bit. I don't mean to be harsh, I wish this wasn't happening, but if you are part of the School District, you would be foolish not to take the closing into consideration when evaluating what we need for schools in the future.

Posted by Money for nuthin, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 20, 2014 at 7:17 pm

Charles Young is only incompetent if you hold him responsible for his work as the compliance officer. That role did not go well for him over the past three years. It might be good for the new superintendent to keep him around so he can take the blame for her first mediocre year, because it will be.

Posted by High School Parent, a resident of Gunn High School
on May 20, 2014 at 7:45 pm

Young should go out. He is part of the problem of the OCR complains. He did not take the student's bully seriously. Our district is in worst shape because of this scandal. I do not see why do we have to keep him. Enough is enough.

Posted by resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 20, 2014 at 10:35 pm

I am very pleased that Stratford School gets to stay another year. It's an excellent school. Renting the space to Stratford offers neighborhood kids a great private school option. The entire staff is excellent. We love the school.

Posted by I quit , a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 20, 2014 at 10:40 pm

No one thinks that Young will be retained. This is a gift of taxpayer money in the amount of 75K or 6 months pay to Young. He was a loyal lieutenant to Skelly, and this was his reward. This is the first thing that I have seen at the district about which one might ask the question: Is this corruption? Up until now it was just rank incompetence. But giving Charles Young a bucket and tell him to fill it at the public trough is just beyond the pale. Good luck new Super. This board is just beyond belief.

Posted by parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 20, 2014 at 11:46 pm

@ I quit,
Oh, I don't think Young was loyal to Skelly, I think Young's incompetence and Skelly's inability to see it are a lot of why Skelly took so many hits. Young is affable enough if you don't cross him, but he's over his head, can't handle the job, and resents parents who get near enough to realize it.

I think Skelly is quite a lot more competent than Young is and replacing him without replacing Young is a bad idea. Think about it - how well do you think the new super is going to do if they get their ideas about this district mainly from Charles Young?

Posted by jerry99, a resident of Barron Park
on May 21, 2014 at 10:02 am

Stop wasting our money. The City Council acts as if the money is burning a hole in their pockets. If they want to do something useful, start negotiating with the SIEU about decreases in salaries and benefits, especially retirement benefits for city employees.

If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Touring the Southern California “Ivies:” Pomona and Cal Tech
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 5 comments | 2,292 views

Chai Brisket
By Laura Stec | 3 comments | 1,625 views

Sometimes "I'm Sorry" Doesn't Cut It
By Cheryl Bac | 4 comments | 865 views

SJSU Center for Steinbeck Studies to Honor Author Khaled Hosseini on Weds Sept 10
By Nick Taylor | 0 comments | 519 views