PUSD December 15, 2022 Board Meeting Included Updates Presented on Facilities, Academics and Budget.
By Scott Phelps
The agenda led off with three information item presentations by staff:
- Draft Facilities Master Plan,
- Update on the district’s Career Technical Education and Linked Learning Academies,
- Department and Program Review of Education for English Learners.
Career Technical Education (CTE) and Linked Learning Academies
Since the early 1990’s, PUSD has included Academies that integrate core subject areas with high interest CTE courses. This presentation by Dr. Kristina Turley, PUSD Coordinator of College and Career Pathways, indicated that over 40% of PUSD students are in an Academy and included information about what elements that all academies and pathways have, which academies and pathways are at which PUSD high schools, what amounts and kinds of state and federal funding are used to support them and what positive results have been documented for Academy students. Dr. Turley then called up Ariel Phelps, a senior at Blair in the Health Careers Academy, to comment on her Academy experience.
Following those presentations, several action items were presented to the board for approval.
PUSD First Interim Budget Overview
The first action item was the district’s First Interim Budget, which is required by state regulation to be approved by the board and presented to the county by December 15th. This year’s budget shows good news, according to Dr. Leslie Barnes, PUSD’s Chief Finance and Operations Officer: “. . . between the large investment from the state in both on-going and one-time funding as well as Pasadena’s Measure J… the District is in the best financial position in years.” She elaborated on this statement, saying that PUSD has been making headway on its goal of raising salaries to compare better with those of our comparison districts with “historic salary increases.” For example, the district was able to give a minimum raise of 8% to two-thirds of teachers last year, with others receiving up to 12% based on their placement on the salary schedule, and this budget includes another 10% raise on the salary schedule to teachers, clerical and security, and maintenance staff. On that front, she noted that the teachers recently overwhelming ratified this raise with about 95% of those who voted voting yes. She said that these settlements will be presented to the board for formal approval as soon as possible. The total increase in staff salaries and district paid health and welfare benefits last year was $11.7 million, and this year’s settlements will increase those further by $18.2 million. Employee retirement benefits paid by PUSD are budgeted per state law and regulation to be 19-25% of employee salaries in the next two years that are paid into the two main state employee retirement funds. Increases in the 90-100% of employee health care costs paid by PUSD are budgeted to rise by 6-7% in the next two years. The presentation showed that the district’s post-employment benefits liability is stable and its worker’s compensation estimated future liability has decreased by $2.7 million according to a new actuarial study. PUSD’s estimated ending balance for the year 23-24 is $22.1 million which is comfortably above its estimated state-mandated 3% reserve level of $8.5 million and PUSD’s board policy-required 6% reserve level of $17 million for that year. Dr. Barnes recommended a positive certification of the budget be submitted to the county.
The First Interim Budget was approved by the board.
Other Action Items
- a feasibility study for developing staff housing at the former Roosevelt Elementary site,
- a long-term lease for Young and Healthy at the PUSD property near the Lincoln Avenue post office on Peoria Street wherein in exchange for use of the property rent-free Young and Healthy will continue to provide many services for PUSD students and families,
- a resolution to recognize a global climate emergency and urgency to source 100% of required energy in a carbon-free way by 2030 and which resolves that the Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education urges Pasadena City Council, Pasadena Water and Power, and Southern California Edison to commit to sourcing 100% of its energy from carbon free sources by 2030; and also resolves that the Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education will present this resolution to the Pasadena City Council at its joint meeting in March, 2023, and
- a recommendation for the expulsion of a student.
These four action items were approved by the board.
Following the information, budget, and action items was the consent agenda which contains a long list of items that are usually approved together in one vote, unless pulled for a separate vote by a board member. These included routine items like approval of minutes from previous board meetings, approvals of contracts and field trips, ratification of purchase orders and disbursement reports, approval of agreements with other agencies, approval of facilities offers to charter schools, personnel assignments, and teacher certificate or credential waivers.
The consent items were approved by the board.
We hope you appreciated this article. Before you move on, please consider supporting the Colorado Boulevard’s journalism.
Billionaires, hedge fund owners and local imposters have a powerful hold on the information that reaches the public. Colorado Boulevard stands to serve the public interest – not profit motives.
While fairness guides everything we do, we know there is a right and a wrong position in the fight against racism and climate crisis while supporting reproductive rights and social justice. We provide a fresh perspective on local politics – one so often missing from so-called ‘local’ journalism.
You can access Colorado Boulevard’s paywall-free journalism because of our unique reader-supported model. People like you, informed readers, keep us independent, beholden to no outside influence, and accessible to everyone.
Please consider supporting Colorado Boulevard today. Thank you. (Click to Support)