Modesto City Schools board to tackle light agenda after long closed-door session

07/27/2014 5:28 PM

07/27/2014 5:29 PM

The Modesto City Schools board will hold a lengthy closed-door meeting Monday before tackling a relatively light agenda with several reports and a raft of school year contracts to consider, ranging from after-school programs to software licenses.

Trustees will get a budget update showing the district will have to put more toward teacher retirements and will get slightly less revenue than initially anticipated. To keep the California State Teachers Retirement System solvent, districts and teachers will pay significantly more over the next few years. The change will mean an additional $700,000 cost to the district for 2014-15.

The district will erase $5 million in anticipated revenue because of lower state funding figures. Even with the cut, Modesto City Schools will get roughly $30 million more than last year, or about $230 million in general-fund revenue for the year.

Board members will also consider revisions in the teachers contract that raise the number of counselors, keep half-time librarians at each junior high and full-time librarians at every high school, and add positions for remedial reading labs. The added expense of those and other changes will be $375,000, notes the agenda item.

In other business, the board will be asked to approve job descriptions for computer literacy teachers to work with elementary students, instructional technology coaches to work with teachers, and a district technology coordinator to support both programs as well as broad-brush duties to improve tech use at all schools.

The regular meeting will follow a three-hour closed door session where the board will get a bargaining update, give an evaluation to Superintendent Pam Able and discuss principal evaluations. Members will be asked to pick two senior directors, one for information and technology services and another for its one-district special education oversight agency.

Pending litigation will be discussed in closed session regarding two Public Employment Relations Board complaints. The cases concern the district’s policy of allowing teachers to disseminate only Modesto Teachers Association materials, not state union information, during the ongoing dispute between MTA and its state affiliate. A PERB hearing was held last week, but no decision was announced.

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