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Raises for subs, new elementary report cards move forward

Original post made on May 21, 2014

Palo Alto school board members on Tuesday threw their support behind two significant proposals: the first salary increases for substitute teachers in seven years and new formats for elementary school report cards.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, May 21, 2014, 1:59 PM

Comments (9)

Posted by Addison Mom, a resident of Downtown North
on May 21, 2014 at 9:48 pm

I think the raise for subs stinks. Palo Alto School teachers are top notch, but subs are not, at least the subs my children have had in the last four years. (No offense to some of the good subs, but unfortunately we have had more bad than good.) I guess we get what we pay for....


Posted by Unanimously incompetent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 22, 2014 at 7:23 am

Charles Young is being given a raise for three more years, taking in about $200,000 per year, because the board renewed his contract for three more years, unanimously. Didn't Young actually demonstrate a pattern of incompetence as the compliance officer? OCR? Bullying policy? Lawsuits? These are all things that land at his feet. Would we hire him today if he were a new applicant?


Posted by keep up, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 22, 2014 at 8:00 am

Given that all the OCR lawsuits are being thrown out, the opposite would be true.


Posted by teacher, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 22, 2014 at 10:09 am

I am a long-time teacher and I'm taking some time off from full-time teaching. I considered subbing in PAUSD this year until I saw the pay rate. Even at $152, a 7-hour work day (8 a.m. to 3 p.m.) works out to roughly $21.71/hour. Given the sporadic and challenging nature of sub work, it's not worth the hassle. Especially for experienced teachers. I think you do get what you pay for.


Posted by Teacher, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 22, 2014 at 11:22 am

I am glad that the substitute pay has been raised but disappointed at the lackluster increase. We expect our subs to be more than "a warm body in the room" and they should get paid accordingly. In recent years, PAUSD has fallen behind other districts in teacher pay and substitute pay. We have had such a dire shortage of subs this year (who can blame them for taking other jobs instead?) that teachers sometimes come to school when we are sick because we know if we call in sick in the morning, we likely won't have coverage for our classes. That's pretty sad.

I wish that the school board valued all of us more than they do.


Posted by One of the substitutes, a resident of South of Midtown
on May 22, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Addison Mom, did you attend the recent board meeting to hear us substitutes speak ? Do you have any idea what is expected of us on any given day, starting with the 5:30 AM phone call which may send us to an advanced Math class first period and then into a classroom where almost no one speaks English ? It's happened to me. I have taught in classrooms int he PAUSD and subbed since retirement for a total of 50 years. It saddens me to read that you think our prospective raise "stinks." How much would they have to pay you to do what we do ? And… are you qualified ?


Posted by LowPay, a resident of Mayfield
on May 22, 2014 at 12:34 pm

I used to work-out at one of Palo Alto's Community Centers. We were charged $7/class with $4/person going to the instructor. Some classes have 7 participants but some have 30+. In the more popular classes the instructor makes $120/hour. In my opinion (I am not a substitute or a teacher nor do I have school age children), teaching children is more challenging than teaching Zumba, aerobics, etc. The substitute teacher wages should be increased.


Posted by the other sunshine, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 22, 2014 at 10:09 pm

"@keep up
"Given that all the OCR lawsuits are being thrown out, the opposite would be true."

First of all, there aren't a bunch of OCR "lawsuits". There have been complaints. When people are at their wits end, they may file a complaint with the OCR as a last resort.

From the OCR's FAQs, which I found using Google:
"if you proceed with your claim in a court, OCR will not continue to pursue your OCR complaint."

"What if I am already pursuing my complaint within the school district or college or with another agency?
"OCR does not handle cases that are being addressed by another agency or within a school's or college's formal grievance procedure if OCR anticipates that the agency you filed with will provide you with a resolution process comparable to OCR's. "

You got that? If you have a legitimate complaint, but your district is trying to apply the procedures they have under the law, then OCR does not take the complaint.

OCR is also not a police agency. Their purpose is to get districts to follow the law. There are a whole bunch of circumstances under which they will not pursue complaints (as above), but it does not mean a person does not have a legitimate complaint. As their FAQ says, they do not usually handle cases that are being addressed by a school's grievance procedures.

When OCR does decide to investigate a complaint, it's usually because it affects a lot of people, or something is very wrong at a district. When they find something wrong, the vast majority of the time the district is already figuring it out and closing the case. It is only in a very rare number of cases, on the order of 20 out of 2,000, where the districts are found to be violating the law and the OCR has to tell them what to do to get back into compliance, and make them sign an agreement because they don't voluntarily do it on their own. Palo Alto had 2 of such agreements in a single year.

Kevin Skelly's bad was signing them without letting the school board know. Charles Young's, as compliance officer for the district, was allowing things to get to that point by completely not doing his job for years.

One of the resolution agreements was because PAUSD did not even make available, know how to work with, or even admit to having procedures for extending 504 protections to students with disabilities, even though the law requires districts to actively identify and inform parents of their rights and extend those protections to the students proactively because it ends up being better and cheaper for everyone that way, especially the disabled student.

Realize, the 504 procedures are written by the districts themselves, the government doesn't just give them a list of things to do, the district writes it's own guide for how it will follow the law, clears it with the government, and then is supposed to give it to parents. Our district had such procedures and was pretending to parents that it didn't.

There COULD have been lawsuits as a result of that, in which the district could have paid damages, but there weren't, because parents mostly just want their kids to get and education and for the protections they deserve to be extended in this district.

That some of the complaints to OCR later were not investigated or pursued by OCR is not even the same as saying the kids did not have cause to complain. But the fact that you think a bunch of "OCR lawsuits" were "thrown out" shows quite an uninformed bias. What's at stake for the families and kids who need those protections is nothing less than their kids' education and future. Please get a little better informed.


Posted by the other sunshine, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 22, 2014 at 10:12 pm

I have never been anywhere where the subs are as competent and integrated into the program as they are here. I have also been dismayed to hear that our district does engage in some heavy-handed tactics with part-time workers and wages. We're all familiar. Yep, they happen here. Pay the subs for the work they do.


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