School Board recap: Superintendent search, Title IX update, parcel tax recs, school safety plans

Superintendent search

Board of Education President Cory Smegal said at the June 7 school board meeting that the Board would announce its interim superintendent selection for the 2022-2023 school year at the June 22 meeting.

Over the summer, the Board said it would select a superintendent search firm to coordinate the search process for a permanent position. “Stakeholder meetings will take place in the fall to gather input from students, staff, families, and the community. The Superintendent position will be posted in the winter with interviews to take place in the winter/spring. PUSD’s next Superintendent will be named in the spring and will assume their new position on July 1, 2023,” according to PUSD.

Title IX audit update and approval of two new girls sports

Title IX district coordinator (and director of instructional technology) Stephanie Griffin provided trustees with an update on the district’s efforts to comply with Title IX requirements. To address a gap of 55 girl player slots and other shortcomings in the athletic program as identified in an internal audit (see reporting below), Griffin asked the Board to approve the addition of a new girls junior varsity and varsity beach volleyball program as well as a girls frosh lacrosse team. The Board unanimously approved the addition of these teams for the 2022-2023 school year.

Griffin said the district was also considering the addition of a girls varsity field hockey team pending further research. She said efforts were planned to increase girls overall participation in the athletic program and that with these steps PUSD should meet its participation goals by the end of 2023.

Griffin also told the board that the athletic department would be reviewing and working to improve other “benefits and treatments” required under Title IX such as uniforms, locker rooms, practice times, and more. Some immediate plans she said Athletic Director Bradley Smet would undertake next year would be to review practice time allocations and make adjustments where necessary, provide scheduling support to girls teams that do not have as many competition opportunities as the boys, updating the Athletic Handbook, and posting Title IX compliance information on the website. Griffin said work was already underway to ensure new equipment and protective equipment, uniforms, and storage areas were equitable.

Griffin said adding the new sports would require additional coaching stipends, a likely increase in league fees, and facility rental fees (for beach volleyball in particular). Some of the funding may come from state one-time funding sources she said. (Coaching stipends, while included in the PUSD budget, are typically covered by parent contributions to the coaches stipend fund every season.)

Griffin also outlined a monitoring and reporting plan, saying that coaches will be required to rate their programs at the end of every season, and that team captains and parents will also have a say in the rating exercise. Additionally, participation numbers will be posted on the school website, a student survey would be administered every three years, and the Title IX officer would update the school board every year. Griffin said Athletic Director Smet would give the Title IX Task Force an update on progress in October 2022.

Board approved advisory committee’s recommendation to increase Measure G, maintain Measure H parcel tax

The Board approved the School Support Tax Advisory Subcommittee’s recommendation that PUSD levy the Measure G parcel tax at its maximum level in 2022-23, which would result in the maximum 2% increase above the rate in 2021-22, and keep the Measure H parcel tax at its current level in 2022-23 of $0.25 per square foot of building improvements.

Two members of the committee, Ruchi Shrivastava Medhekar and Robert Phillips, told the Board that the 2% increase is expected to yield PUSD an additional $219,674 in revenue for the 2022-2023 school year, based on an assumed base parcel tax amount for the current year of $10,982,759. On a per parcel basis, they said, this increase would add $56.37 to the current per parcel levy of $2,818.26, making the total tax levy per parcel $2,874.63 for 2022-23. (The third committee member, Claire Arno, was not in attendance.)

The committee recommended that the full amount of the 2% increase be allocated to the district’s General Fund to help address ongoing revenue challenges, most notably declining enrollment and increases to required contributions to CalSTRS and CalPERS plans:

As it was charged, this Subcommittee reviewed the District’s proposed budget for 2022-23 which was shared at the Budget Advisory Committee meeting on May 24 and at the School Board meeting on May 25 (excerpts attached as Exhibit A). The 2022-2023 Budget benefits from an increase due to the Proposition 98 minimum guaranteed revenue from the state, as well as an anticipated one-time grant from the State totalling approximately $3.4 million. However, even with these sources of additional revenue, PUSD continues to face significant revenue challenges, primarily resulting from declining enrollment over the last six years. Moreover, increases to required contributions to CalSTRS and CalPERS have increased expenditures compared to previous years. PUSD staff have identified ongoing budgetary needs to attempt to address (1) challenges in teacher and staff retention through increases to salary and benefits and (2) ongoing impacts from the pandemic, manifesting as learning loss and ongoing social emotional challenges, driving the need for additional learning specialists and counseling support.

Measure G’s stated goal is “To maintain the high quality of education in Piedmont schools, continue funding programs in math, science, technology, engineering, English, music, and arts, keep textbooks and instructional technology up to date, maintain smaller class sizes, and attract and retain qualified teachers…” Given the challenges PUSD still faces, the Measure G 2% increase will best position PUSD to have the fiscal means to maintain this excellence.

June 8 School Support Tax Advisory Subcommittee report and recommendations for Measure G and Measure H tax levies for 2022-2023

Fire drills and more: Board approves comprehensive safety plans for school sites

The Board approved comprehensive school safety plans for all school sites. Superintendent Randy Booker said the documents complied with California Education Code and contained a wide range of topics beyond the standard fire and earthquake drills, covering everything from child abuse reporting procedures, how to handle suspensions and expulsions, school discipline procedures, emergency disaster procedures and more. Booker noted that for safety and security reasons, not all of the plan (e.g., escape routes from a school site) was publicly available and that PUSD worked closely with both Piedmont police and fire departments on developing its emergency procedures.

The Board also received first readings of the 2021-2024 Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) and 2022-2023 budget which the Exedra will recap at the next board meeting on June 22.

Leave a Reply

The Exedra comments section is an essential part of the site. The goal of our comments policy is to help ensure it is a vibrant yet civil space. To participate, we ask that Exedra commenters please provide a first and last name. Please note that comments expressing congratulations or condolences may be published without full names. (View our full Comments Policy.)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *