Modesto school board will honor retirees, discuss budget

05/18/2014 7:25 PM

05/18/2014 7:26 PM

The Modesto City Schools board will applaud retiring staff with a reception Monday before taking their seats to review critical decisions on spending for the coming year.

The board will discuss a draft budget for 2014-15 after asking for public feedback on how well the proposal matches what parents and community members asked for. It will also consider contracts for preschool staff, as well as a number of bids to renovate school grounds and facilities.

The district’s proposal to tailor spending to community feedback lists improving school facilities and increasing parent involvement as top priorities, paired under the category of a welcoming environment.

The second spending category deals with academic achievement, focusing on staff training and increasing access to college-focused support programs and college-level courses.

Third is expanding things that keep kids in school and interested, like arts programs, more help for older students falling behind and more summer school options. The full list is available at the district website,

An update on district policies for student electronic devices will be discussed. Under the new policy, all students would be able to possess devices on campus, turned off and not visible during school hours, but would be able to use them for instructional purposes.

Changes to student conduct codes, also at the information stage, would update language on contraband to include e-cigarettes or other vapor devices, and would broaden cyberbullying prohibitions.

The board will consider contracts including:

• A $1.1 million bid from Sinclair General Engineering Construction Inc. for work on the athletic fields of Beyer, Davis, Johansen and Modesto high schools. The amount is higher than anticipated because of additions to the bid and rising construction costs.
• Work on the Johansen pool, including a fencing bid for $288,154 from Golden Bay Fence Plus Iron Works Inc. and a $356,500 bid for heating and filtration replacement from Nadar Inc.
• The preschool teachers’ portion of the Modesto Teachers Association and the California School Employee Association, projected to cost about $55,000 from money dedicated to the 2013-14 year. Negotiations on the main body of both contracts are ongoing.

In a closed-door session before the meeting, the board will discuss two Public Employment Relations Board cases involving the district. PERB issued a complaint against the district over its blocking distribution of California Teachers Association materials on its campuses or through its email network during a dispute between the state union and the local chapter.

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