Teacher pay, enrollment matters on Modesto City Schools board agenda

naustin@modbee.comFebruary 23, 2014 

The Modesto City Schools board will meet tonight, holding a public hearing on proposed raises for teachers, discussing projected enrollment for next year and weighing how well lower citizenship requirements for sports participation has worked.

An initial proposal by the Modesto Teachers Association for the contract being fully renegotiated for 2014-15 includes a 4.5 percent raise plus $450 per month for health care. A counter opening bid by the district also will be open for comment.

Also noted in the MTA proposal are higher stipends for extra work, weekly prep periods for elementary teachers and a provision that no teacher can be required to do any duty outside the school day, or any lunch or yard duty during the day. There would be 11 more work days, including five more school days for students and added work and training days.

The district expects slightly fewer students next year. The staff predicts enrollment will drop in high schools but pick up in elementary and junior high schools, for a net loss of 45 from this year’s 28,219 student count. The numbers do not include special-education students.

The enrollment numbers include a shift for 2014-15 in Modesto’s Dual Language Academy, moving its Fairview Elementary classes to Bret Harte Elementary. The change, if Fairview parents agree to move their children with the program, would swell Bret Harte’s enrollment to 1,017 students.

Davis High would remain basically flat, with an expected gain of four students from its 1,332 count this year. As Modesto’s smallest comprehensive high school, Davis’ low enrollment prompted incentive programs like computers for students and dual-credit for college courses to draw greater interest next year.

Also to be discussed is a yearlong pilot program of revisions to the Citizenship Mark policy that allowed students with unsatisfactory citizenship marks to participate in sports and leadership classes. The change was made to help keep more students on track to graduate.

After a year, the numbers suggest citizenship has improved slightly, but grades have gone down, an agenda report notes. At the end of first semester this year, 77 percent of students were eligible to participate in sports or leadership, 246 more students than in fall semester 2012. By far the largest group disqualified were those unable to keep up a C average. The staff has recommended making the change permanent.

The board also will vote on a $3.7 million deal with Champion Industrial Contractors Inc. to replace Beyer High’s heating and cooling system. The so-called lease/leaseback contract proposed would hire Champion as the general contractor for the project.

The Modesto City Schools board will meet at 6 tonight in the district staff development center, 425 Locust St. See the agenda at http://bit.ly/MCSmeetings. Bee education reporter Nan Austin can be reached at naustin@modbee.com or (209) 578-2339. Follow her on Twitter @NanAustin.

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