Board OKs timeline on opening new school

Members also indicate support for 4 percent raises for teachers, staff

Palo Alto school board members will vote by June on a location for a new elementary school, and also whether that school will have regular or special programming such as Spanish immersion, according to a timeline approved by the board Tuesday.

Members will meet Dec. 9 in a public non-voting "study session" to discuss details of enrollment trends and possible options. Last year, a community advisory committee studied similar options and recommended opening a new campus on San Antonio Road, but that proposal was sidelined after the board decided to postpone a decision until 2014.

Also Tuesday, school board members indicated support for a proposed 4 percent raise for teachers, based on their 2012-13 salaries, plus a onetime bonus of 2 percent. The board will take a final vote Dec. 10.

The proposal would bring the salary of an entry-level teacher from $52,965 to 55,083, plus a one-time bonus of $1,059. A mid-career teacher would go from $85,924 to $89,360, plus a one-time bonus of $1,718. The most senior teachers on Palo Alto's salary schedule now earn $106,951, and an additional 4 percent would bring them to $111,229, plus a onetime bonus of $2,139.

Non-unionized management employees, school staff and secretaries would receive parallel raises and bonuses.

Superintendent Kevin Skelly would not get a raise, but would receive a onetime bonus of 3 percent, bringing this year's salary of $287,163 to $295,777.

In other business Tuesday, board members indicated support for a school calendar that would push the year's start date from the Thursday of the second full week in August to the Monday or Tuesday of the third week of August.

The apparent consensus on calendars from fall 2014 through spring of 2017, which is expected to come to a final vote Dec. 10, ends a controversy that led to many late-night board meetings on recent years.

Parent Amy Kacher, a member of the Calendar Advisory Committee and a strong opponent of the changes reflected in the proposed calendar, said she was frustrated that officials never really "scrutinized" other creative options.

"We're back to the status quo and I can't help but feeling frustrated," Kacher told the board.

Board member Camille Townsend, who also disagreed with the result but said she would accept it, tried to tell Kacher her work had not been in vain and that her ideas may be accepted in the future.

"I've learned the more I'm here that things are never done," Townsend said.


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Posted by safety first
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2013 at 12:18 pm

I hope that the school board will take a hard look at the best location for the new elementary school. Please work with the city's Housing Element. This shows that much of the growth is intended in the El Camino/Ventura corridor.

Please take a hard look at preventing elementary students from having to cross major streets such as El Camino or San Antonio Rd. New boundaries may be in order even though there will be a lot of push back from parents. Please make a decision that is best for the city traffic issues and the safety of the students.

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Posted by muttiallen
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 20, 2013 at 12:38 pm

muttiallen is a registered user.

So today San Jose police announced that beginning salaries for police officers, which require no college degree, are $80,000. If we paid our teachers more and had more and better teachers, we'd need fewer police. It's sad that our society has so little regard for the importance of good teachers. The best and brightest students continue to glut law and business schools.

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Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Nov 20, 2013 at 4:31 pm

It's not merely the influence of good teachers; it is overwhelmingly the example of parents. For the most part kids emulate their parents in many, many way. If the parents read, they read, et cetera. That cannot be ignored or overemphasized.

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Posted by 3% bonus for Skelly?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2013 at 10:55 pm

Seems a bit outrageous to give Skelly a bonus on top of a contract extension he negotiated with the Board last year after failing to reveal to them that our district had been cited by the Office For Civil Rights for violating the rights of a middle school student. I don't know of many employers who would retain an employee much less reward the employee with a bonus after the employee failed to reveal huge facts such as the one mentioned above. It is very inappropriate to reward Kevin Skelly in any way for his failures to perform his job properly. It would be a good idea if some kind of investigation into Skelly's failings as well as those of the board.

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Posted by Undeserving
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Nov 21, 2013 at 2:08 pm

For someone as undeserving of his current salary as Kevin Skelly, why give him a raise? [Portion removed.]

In any other business situation, he would have been shown the door years ago. At the very least, he deserves a pay cut.

The BOE should be censured for hiring this guy sight unseen without a background check. Talk about engaging in risky behavior!

BTW, muttiallen is 110% correct!

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Posted by Curious
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 21, 2013 at 7:40 pm

Thank you parent Amy Kacher for working on the Calendar Advisory Committee. Can you tell us more about the creative options you would've liked to see the Board consider? I'm curious to hear about the options the Board wasn't willing to entertain.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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