The Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) Board, with very little discussion, Thursday evening unanimously approved two previously agreed-upon raises for both unionized workers and school administrators.
The Board also unanimously approved the District’s Educational Master Plan, which was presented at last month’s District meeting.
District employees who are members of the Teamsters Local 911 will be receiving an additional salary step to their recently agreed-upon pay schedule. Union members will be given a 3 percent salary increase. The salary increase, in the form of a “7th Step” pay rate increase, will take effect in January 2017.
The Association of Pasadena School Administrators (APSA) which has 180 members employed as principals, assistant principals, secretaries, office managers, administrators and clinical social workers, also known as certificated and classified employees, reached an agreement with the PUSD earlier this summer for the three percent raise. The raise formally took effect July 1.
As previously reported, the salary increase will not apply to the district’s Executive Leadership Team.
Said PUSD Board President Kimberly Kenne, of both raises, “I wish we had spent a little more time, and a little more thought, to raise these salaries to a more competitive raise, and I hope we do that next time.”
PUSD Superintendent Brian McDonald reassured the board that increases are constantly being evaluated.
The wide-ranging and ambitious 68-page plan Educational Master Plan, five years in the making, was delivered by Associate Superintendent of School Services Mercy Santoro and Chief Academic Officer Shawn Bird back in August. It positioned the school district within the context of the last ten years, citing various schools as case studies for the proposed plan, and then offered an additional, more detailed “road map” of the district’s next five years.
“This is a living document, and as such, it will change,” said Bird in August, and reiterating that point at Monday’s meeting.
The master plan encompasses a number of overall areas of recommendations in the district’s environment, academics and facilities.
With regard to “Learning and Culture,” the plan proposes to “ensure that the District will provide caring, engaging and challenging experiences for every student every day in partnership with families and the community,” and “recruit and retain teachers with exceptional qualifications, sustaining them through professional development linked to teacher performance standards, student data, and community needs.
In the area of “Community,” the Plan states that the District will “provide robust support for the development and well-being of all students, at-risk or not,” and “will ensure that all its divisions collaboratively develop, align, coordinate and routinize effect practices to support the contributions of valued contributors.”
“The district will review and revise its communication mechanisms with school sites regarding such fundamental prices and as operations, maintenance and budget,” the plan promises, and “to ensure that no PUSD student lacks to a high-quality school environment, the district will assess and improve its Open-enrollment process.”
Finally, with regard to facilities, the Plan proposes that the “District will upgrade facilities to provide the spaces and technical infrastructures cable of connecting people as learners and leaders.
Earlier in the meeting, a number of residents and students, who filled the board chambers, protested over a rumor that teachers would be eliminated at Cleveland Elementary School, an “Inclusive” campus. The rumor was quashed by Superintendent McDonald, after nearly a dozen parents and students rose to speak out against the reduction in staff.
“There are no such plans,” said McDonald.
Following his announcement, parent Sylvia Salas, admitted that she had started the “rumor,” since in her experience with PUSD, teachers had been eliminated from a previous Inclusive school she had worked at.
In other developments, the PUSD Board accepted a Los Angeles County Arts Commission which awarded $17,000 for in-school artist residencies at eight schools in the district. An additional approved grant from the Los Angeles County Office of Education will provide mandated American Sign Language services to students.
The PUSD Board also approved a number of resolutions including honoring September 15 through October 15 as Hispanic Heritage Month, recognizing the 61 percent of Pasadena Unified’s total population and 54 percent of Hispanic students statewide, as well as recognizing October 3-7 as “Nutrition, Health and Walk to School Week,” encouraging parents to spend more time with their children and demonstrating the benefits of walking instead of driving.
The board also set October 17-21 as “Lights On After School Week,” part of a nationwide effort for schools to honor participants in after school programs. Now in its 16th year, “Lights on Afterschool Week” celebrates after school programs and their role in the lives of children, families and communities.
A final resolution named October 10-14 as “Week of the School Administrator, “ to honor principals, superintendents and their assistants, for their contributions to the work of the school district.