Modesto City Schools eye more revenue

naustin@modbee.comApril 28, 2013 

  • ABOUT THE REPORTER
    alternate textNan Austin
    Title: Education reporter
    Coverage areas: K-12 education, Yosemite Community College District
    Bio: Nan Austin has been a copy editor and reporter at The Modesto Bee for 24 years. She has an economics degree from CSU Stanislaus and previously worked at the Merced Sun-Star and Turlock Journal.
    Recent stories written by Nan
    On Twitter: @nanaustin
    E-mail: naustin@modbee.com

— The Modesto City Schools board Monday will take up how to spend more money, expected to arrive next year from grants, taxes for energy conservation projects and higher state revenues.

First, the board will meet behind closed doors to discuss negotiations with its support staff, declared at impasse Friday. The district is returning school days but wants employees to continue salary cuts imposed four years ago. Union protests are planned for the meeting.

Dollar decisions the board will take up include committing reserves to specific uses. Allocations requested include:

• Common core: $2.2 million to train teachers on new state standards

• Technology: $2 million for teacher workstation upgrades and additional computers for testing

• Health benefits: The district plans to reopen negotiations with its unions later in the year when costs of the Affordable Care Act are known. Teachers years ago gave up health benefits for higher salaries, but the act may require the district to contribute more. The district proposes putting aside $5 million as a precaution.

• Maintenance: $5 million is being asked for repairs and refurbishment of the district's 3 million square feet of buildings and 217 acres of paving.

• Artificial turf: The district wants to install new artificial turf, estimated to cost $1.8 million over three years.

Projects to be funded from other sources:

• Energy audit: Proposition 39 tax revenues for energy conservation projects could help the district upgrade its older sites. As a prelude to larger projects, the board is being asked to approve a $65,000 contract with Chevron Energy Solutions for an energy audit.

• Discipline: The district was awarded a $200,000 grant for more positive, proactive programs to lower its expulsions and suspensions. The plan calls for hiring an intervention coordinator, having behavioral health consultations at three schools and a restorative justice program at one, parent training at three schools and training for staff at all sites.

In other matters the board:

• Will confirm appointments of high school principals

• Will vote on final layoffs for one administrative secretary and four career class teachers

• Will hear a presentation on expulsions and suspensions of minority students by Jacq Wilson

• Will hear a plea from parent Sandra Adan-Lundgren to not close the Beyer High School drama program next year. See www.facebook.com/SaveTheDramaProgramAtFredCBeyerHighSchool.

• Could approve a contract with its teachers that would continue temporary 1 percent pay cuts one more year, but return furlough days that constituted the remainder of basic paycheck reductions. Stipends for extra duties are still 20 percent below pre-recession levels.

The board will meet at 6 p.m. in the staff development center, 425 Locust St. The agenda is posted at http://bit.ly/ MCSmeetings.

Bee education reporter Nan Austin can be reached at naustin@modbee.com or (209) 578-2339, on Twitter, @NanAustin, www.modbee.com/education.

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