Feb 21 2018

Piedmont League of Women Voters Joins Individual Citizens Expressing Great Concern About the Lack of Citizen Participation and Quick Timing of Proposed Revisions to the City Charter – 

Councilmember Jen Cavenaugh suggested the newly proposed office holder limits appeared to be a solution looking for a problem.

As Piedmonters find out about proposed Piedmont City Charter changes, concern has grown.  In years past when important City Charter changes were proposed, community involvement was primary.  The majority of the City Council at their February 5, 2018 meeting made no attempt to require outreach to Piedmonters.  Only Councilmember Jen Cavenaugh desired more civic engagement prior to placement on the June ballot, which would postpone the Charter ballot to November, 2018.

The City Charter requires all proposed Charter changes be placed on a Piedmont ballot and approved by Piedmont voters prior to becoming law.

The Charter changes were agendized by Mayor Bob McBain and the City Administrator with little time for general public input.  After the February 5 introduction of Charter changes, the next Council meeting for consideration has been scheduled for March 5, 2018.  A Council meeting typically would have been held on February 20, following President’s Day of February 19, however that meeting was cancelled making the Monday, March 5, 2018 the next and last regularly scheduled Council meeting to take action on the ballot measure for it to qualify for the special election in June.

City Attorney Michelle Kenyon told the City Council the numerous changes to the Charter came from the City Administrator, the City Clerk and the Council members. The public was not involved or informed of Charter changes until release of the staff report for the February 5 Council meeting.

Mayor Bob McBain immediately suggested that the June 2018 ballot measure only offer two proposed Charter changes, which evolved to: 1. Exclude former two term officials from seeking public office until an eight-year waiting period has elapsed.  2. Remove from the Charter the budget limitation of 25% in Piedmont General Fund reserves. 

 The Council has shown interest in changing the limit on General Fund reserves from the current 25% limit. To avoid the accumulation of reserves in the General Fund, the Council has recently established various reserve funds where excess money has been placed in an effort to avoid exceeding the 25% limit. 

Cost to the City of up to $55,000 to vote on the Charter changes in June instead of November 2018.

The unexpected urgent placement of the ballot measure requires Council action within weeks of their first public introduction.  The incomplete and unavailable form of the possible ballot language must receive Council action by March 8 if it is to be on the June 2018 ballot.  (See Alameda County election deadlines below).  The expedited timing eliminates the opportunity for broad citizen participation prior to a ballot measure and would cost Piedmonters up to $55,000 than  waiting for the November election when there would be one ballot measure at a reduced cost. 

Some Council members suddenly want Charter changes for Special June Ballot, rather than waiting for November Election.

City Clerk John Tulloch told the Council that City Administrator Paul Benoit had informed the Superintendent of Education Randall Booker the Council wanted to place further limitations on out-of-office former officials seeking election to the Board of Education.   Benoit’s conversation took place prior to public information or Council consideration.

City Attorney Michelle Kenyon explained that the City Council and ultimately the voters rather than the School Board would make the decision on term limit requirements.  Kenyon acknowledged that this was an “important change” to the Charter.  

Importance of the Piedmont City Charter 

The Piedmont City Charter is the underlying legal basis of Piedmont governance.  Previously when significant changes to the City Charter were considered, a Charter Review Committee was appointed by the Council to review, carefully consider issues in open meetings, and then make recommendations to the Council.

The proposed Charter change limiting former office holders’ return to the City Council or School Board originated with Mayor Bob McBain.  McBain explained to the Council he had been approached about office holder term restrictions and had decided it would be beneficial to end prior officer holders ability to ever serve again.

McBain stated he felt it was unfair, and created an uneven election if past officeholders, who he referred to as “incumbents,” sought election after an absence of only 4 years.  He noted that many people want to serve and there are many volunteers.  This City Council has had the practice of recycling prior commissioners and committee members between the various boards, raising a question of the appointments excluding new willing volunteers. Though he had suggested a permanent exclusion, McBain was later convinced during the meeting that an eight year absence from  service was an acceptable time limit for an individual to once more seek election.

Council member Jen Cavenaugh stated that only one person in recent years had wanted to come back and returning past office holders were able to hit the ground running.  She was repeatedly interrupted by other Council members during the meeting when she attempted to speak. 

City Clerk John Tulloch had initiated outreach to other cities to see what exclusions on past officials they included  in their Charters.  He spoke of no outreach within Piedmont. 

On February 13, Mayor McBain and City Clerk Tulloch made a presentation to the School Board.   Following McBain and Tulloch’s presentation, the School Board was not prepared to take a position on the Charter changes.  See Superintendent’s report below.

The City Council has not taken final action to place the term limit issue on the June 2018 ballot and despite the School Board’s inaction, Mayor McBain preemptively proclaimed to the School Board that the service limits impacting the Board members would be on the June 2018 ballot and he hoped that the School Board would vote for the new limits on public service. 

McBain’s proclamation was on a split Council vote with Council member Cavenaugh seeking further information and citizen involvement prior to expending money for the ballot measure in June. 

Given the few past office holders out of office for only four years, the limitation and barring of candidates appeared to be targeting specific individuals.

Deadlines for June 2018 Election Ballot:

Close of Nomination Period for the June 5, 2018 Direct Primary Election –  March 09, 2018

Deadline to file Arguments In Favor/Against a Measure on the June 5, 2018 Direct Primary Election – March 14, 2018

Deadline to file Rebuttals to Arguments In Favor/Against a Measure on the June 5, 2018 Direct Primary Election – March 19, 2018

Ballot arguments are filed with the Alameda County Registrar of Voters.

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The Board of Education current Policy 9110 states in regard to terms of office:

“BB 9110 Board Bylaws Terms Of Office:  The Piedmont City Charter contains the following provisions relative to the Board of Education: 1. The Board shall consist of five members elected from the city at large for a term of four years. Board members shall be elected at the times and in the same manner provided for members of the city council. Only qualified voters of the city shall be eligible to hold the office of Board member. No person who has served two full consecutive terms as a members of the Board shall be eligible to hold office until one full intervening term of four years has elapsed. Any person who serves as a member of the Board for more than eighteen months of an unexpired term shall be considered to have served a full term.”

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TO: Board of Education   FROM: Randall Booker, Superintendent  DATE: February 13, 2018   RE: POSSIBLE AMENDMENTS TO THE PIEDMONT CITY CHARTER

___________________________________________

I. SUPPORT INFORMATION

At its June 19. 2017 meeting, the Piedmont City Council directed staff to review the city charter and point out provisions that may be outdated. Subsequent to that meeting, Councilmembers also reviewed the charter and made suggestions regarding provisions they thought might need amendment.

At the February 5, 2018 City Council Meeting, City staff presented on the culmination of this review. As part of the discussion, a Councilmember suggested a possible revision of term limits (which in turn, could affect the [Piedmont Unified School District] PUSD School Board). City staff then requested direction from the City Council on further proposed Charter amendments and the possible placement on a ballot for consideration by Piedmont voters.

The following are the proposed changes that could specifically affect PUSD:

Article II – City Council
Section 2.03 Term of Office

Article VII – Public Schools
Section 7.02 Membership, Term of Office

Board Bylaw 9110

A question was raised as to whether Piedmont should amend the existing term limits provided for in the Charter. Currently, the Charter (and Board Bylaws) limits Councilmembers (and by extension Board of Education Members) to serving two consecutive terms. The current provision, however, does not prohibit a Councilmember (or Board Member) who has served two consecutive terms from running again after a full term (four years) has elapsed. The question for Council (and Board) consideration is whether there is a desire to impose stricter term limits than currently exist.

If there were such a desire, an option described for Council (and Board) consideration would be to limit Councilmembers (and Board Members) to serving two full terms in office. Should the Board wish to consider this option, both Section 2.03 and Board Bylaw 9110 would need to be revised as follows:

No person who has served two (2) full consecutive terms as member of the Board shall be eligible to hold such office again. until one full intervening term of four (4) years has elapsed. [Editors Note:  This appears to have been an error.]

II. RECOMMENDATION: REVIEW AND ACTION

Review the City’s proposed changes to the City Charter and, by extension, Board Bylaw 9110 and provide direction to the Superintendent.

Read the Piedmont League of Women Voters letter to the City Council HERE.

Feb 10 2018

How many Tennis Courts do we need?!

Who doesn’t love free pizza and talking about parks of your childhood? That’s just what I did January 18th, 2018 in the Piedmont Community Hall. This was the second meeting of the Groundworks Architecture and Landscape Firm with the Piedmont Community, hosted by the Piedmont Recreation Department, to discuss the redesign of the Linda Beach Playfield.

    At the previous meeting, the Groundworks team gathered ideas from about forty attendees about what the community wanted and valued. They put this information  into a list of guidelines. They then used guidelines to come up with designs.

    We were presented with three options: sports, nature, and hybrid.

    The sports option focused on expanding the tennis courts to fit two regulation size courts with colorful mural like retaining walls as well as a skatepark for teens under the bridge.

    The Nature design gave a serene and peaceful vibe, bringing a sculpture garden/public art space under the bridge, a terraced amphitheater/event space at the north end of the field.

    The Hybrid design was a perfect combination of both. Hybrid updates the tennis court to regulation size, while adding an event space with outdoor classrooms and a green space at the north end. The Tot Lot was moved in this design to the south end of the park featuring a slide into the park from Howard Street.

    After the presentation of the three designs, the audience was split into five table groups to discuss the options. Most of the people at the meeting were advocates for having as many tennis courts and sports areas as possible. On the other hand, many others were excited about having a green area to relax and hang out as a community. The skatepark was a big topic, but we students at the table were insistent on not including the area. Ryan Stokes, a Piedmont resident, was an advocate for the skatepark.

I spoke to Lorri Arazi, a listing agent for the newly built townhomes on Linda Avenue, about the plans. “I initially came on a fact-finding mission, I thought I’d be a listener and less of a participant. But I felt strongly, I had a strong gut reaction when I saw the skatepark next to the bridge,” Arazi told me, “I think that’d be really noisy for the people buying the condos.”

    More issues were brought up about the bathrooms, flex space for group activities, noise complaints, and wasting the space by planting more trees everywhere. Many younger people showed up to voice their opinions as well as the adults. “It was really really wonderful to see people of all ages here and involved and interested,” Arazi commented. Everyone had a positive reaction to the plans, were excited to voice their opinions and see this area remodeled.

    Arazi told me that, “I’ll definitely come to the March 21st meeting. If [the skatepark] shows up on the next iteration, then I’m going to want to voice my concern.” She also explained that by then she will hopefully have a few units sold, and can bring those families to voice their input as part of the community. The city will be having an online survey about this topic, in addition to a City Council Meeting being held on March 21st to talk about the final design. I look forward to seeing the final design, and the community support around the area.

by Maeve Andrews, Piedmont High School Senior

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Courts or no Courts?

    As the Piedmont Community Hall began to fill up with intrigued families, city officials, community members and Civics students, I could tell that I was in for an interesting evening. The debate over what to include in the new Linda Beach Playfield design had just begun.

    On Thursday, January 18th, at 5:45 p.m., I attended the Linda Beach Master Plan meeting to learn more about the city’s project and to share my thoughts on the subject. The project, headed by Piedmont’s Parks and Recreation Director, Sara Lillevand, is intended to landscape, renovate, and redesign the land surrounding the Beach Playfield on Linda and Howard avenue. A similar meeting had convened on November 16 of 2017 to introduce the project and present the Groundworks Office firm which was chosen to landscape the park.

At the beginning of the Master Plan meeting, the project leaders reviewed the notes from the past meeting and revealed three detailed design concepts that the Groundworks team had put together. We then broke off into groups and worked to address the pros and cons of each of the three designs. Design one was labeled as the ‘sports’ design and consisted of two regulation size tennis courts, a skate park, a community activity space, and a boardwalk entrance to the park from Howard Avenue. The second design, known as the ‘nature’ design, featured several community flex spaces, lots of planted trees and seating areas, and no tennis courts. The third design was labeled as the ‘hybrid’ plan and consisted of one full size tennis court, an adult exercise area, a bocce ball court, and some community flex space.

As a tennis player, I advocated for a version of the sports oriented plan because it included two regulation size tennis courts. Other community members spoke up about how the tennis courts take up lots of area and that the land should be allocated to multipurpose or flex spaces that can be utilized by any and all community members at different times.

One community member spoke about how the tennis courts are a much desired aspect of the Beach Playfield and eliminating them would upset many residents. He also brought up the interesting prospect of installing night lights for the courts which would increase the hours of use. There was much debate over what to include and what to not include during the meeting but the council decided to take the copious amount of community member input and work to build at least one new plan which will then be reviewed at the next meeting.

After the meeting I spoke with the project leader and Recreation Director, Sara Lillevand, to discuss her opinion on the project and the project’s next steps. She explained to me how her main goal of the meeting was to bring as many community members together as possible to receive input on what should be included in the design. She said that the meeting exceeded her expectations primarily due to the fact that there were so many young community members present. Moving forward, Lillevand will collaborate with the Groundworks team to gather the community input from the meeting, work with the city contractors, and develop a final plan to present. This project is moving quickly and I am excited to follow it in the coming months and utilize the final project. Let’s hope for tennis courts!

by Andrew Pinkham, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors.
Feb 4 2018

Big changes have been suggested for how Piedmont is administered. 

City Administrator form of government is evolving toward City Manager form of government, further limits on Council terms, increase in tax funds held in reserve, reduced meeting requirements, etc.

On the Monday, February 5, 2018 Council agenda is an item that potentially starts a change to long held principles within the Piedmont City Charter. The City Charter is in the domain of the voters of Piedmont, who must approve any changes to the City Charter..

When the Charter was updated and revised approximately 35 years ago, a citizen Charter Review Committee appointed by the City Council was established to develop recommendations for City Council consideration.  After review of the recommendations, the City Council placed the recommended revised Charter on a Piedmont ballot, and it was readily approved by Piedmont voters.

The Piedmont City Charter specifies expenditures, revenues, budgeting, decisions to be made by the Council, decisions to be made by voters, personnel roles, zoning, loan mechanisms, etc.

City staff actions are subject to Council direction and Council action in many instances is subject to citizen approval of major issues such as zoning, taxation, borrowing, and reserve fund limits.  Some staff members over the years have resisted  the requirement of gaining Council approval in a public forum before taking action on policy matters.  The result has led to some policy actions taken without Council authorization.

The City Council has exceeded its authority in some instances, supporting a reinterpretation of the City Charter diminishing voter controls.

Recent issues questionable under the City Charter reinterpretation have been:

  • Election process for selecting a mayor following a resignation
  • Loans taken out without voter approval
  • Refusal to allow a citizen vote prior to making zone use changes

City Administrator form of government evolving toward City Manager form of government –

Piedmont has for generations benefited from its City Administrator form of government, giving citizens and their elected representatives the primary authority and responsibility over numerous governmental actions.  The proposed Charter changes in a number of instances would alter this authority.

Unlike the proposed changes, the City Council, rather than the City Administrator, currently has the responsibility to appoint the top administrators of the City.  Some of these positions include:

  •  Police Chief
  •  Fire Chief
  •  Public Works Director
  •  City Clerk
  •  City Engineer
  •  Finance Director

The process for changing the Piedmont City Charter, foundation of Piedmont governance, will receive consideration by the City Council on Monday, February 5, 2018, on how to proceed with review and any updating of the Charter.

Residents interested in following this issue can attend the meeting, observe the Council live on Cable Channel 27 or from the City website under videos. This item is last on the agenda.

Read the staff report regarding Charter changes HERE.

Read the agenda HERE.

Feb 4 2018
Jan 30 2018

SCHOOLMATES HOURS OF OPERATION, BILLING, SCHEDULING – INPUT REQUESTED BY CITY – 

The City of Piedmont is seeking resident input on important items regarding Schoolmates program in 2018-19 and beyond. It is the City’s intention to continue to offer before and after school care at each of the three elementary school sites through the Schoolmates program. Our priority is to continue to deliver a high quality program that meets resident needs.

Together with consultant Decide LLC, we have been busy working on our plan for Schoolmates 2018-19 and beyond. Based on our experiences during this first year of full-day kindergarten and as we plan for the future, we would like to get feedback on some key items: •

  • Extending Schoolmates hours (e.g., open at 7:00am and/or close at 6:30pm) •
  • Registration and billing •
  • The desire for flexible scheduling •
  • The desire for block scheduling •
  • Offering a monthly Friday or Saturday evening “date night”

There will be four opportunities to join in the conversation.

We plan to meet at each Schoolmates location, however, if you are unable to attend the meeting at your child’s school, please come to the one that is most convenient for your schedule.

  • Beach Schoolmates – Monday, January 29th – 7:00 pm •
  • Havens Schoolmates -Thursday, February 1st – 7:00 pm •
  • Havens Schoolmates – Saturday, Feb 3rd – 10:00 am •
  • Wildwood Schoolmates – Thursday, February 15th – 7:00 pm

If you plan on attending, please send an RSVP to prd@piedmont.ca.gov and note the date you plan on attending. In addition, if you are unable to come to any of the meetings, and would like to provide input, please email maria@decidellc.com and we will follow up with you directly.

Jan 26 2018

Let’s Talk!

Building a More Inclusive Piedmont Through Deliberative Dialogue” is a two-part workshop designed to help us engage in an enriching community dialogue to listen, learn, and understand one another better, respectfully.

These free workshops are on Monday, February 5, Saturday, Feb. 10, and Sunday, Feb. 11, have been created especially for the Piedmont community.

A free luncheon will be offered on Saturday and Sunday.

The workshops are a collaborative effort developed and paid for by the Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee, PUSD, and the City of Piedmont with support from the Piedmont Education Fund.

Lets Talk! workshops teach skills we can use to engage in more civic discourse during these divisive times. We encourage attendees to sign up for one or both sessions: Session I is an introduction and identification/celebration of diversity in our community and Session II offers continued workshopping.

The workshop will be led by Sara Wicht, a developer of Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Teaching Tolerance” curriculum and trainer used by Piedmont schools. Everyone, from middle school/high school students to golden agers, are welcome to these free workshops.

Lunch will be offered to all attendees on Saturday and Sunday. For more information about session topics and to register visit:>  www.padc.info/lets-talk-workshops.html

Monday, February 5 – Session I only

8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Piedmont Community Center
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Saturday, February 10 

8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., Session I – Introduction (followed by a free community luncheon)

1:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Session II – Continued 

Piedmont Veterans’ Hall, 401 Highland Avenue 
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Sunday, February 11 

8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – Session I, Introduction (followed by a free community luncheon)
1:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Session II – Continued
Piedmont Veterans’ Hall, 401 Highland Avenue 
 

Free and for all Piedmont community members – please register: www.padc.info/lets-talk-workshops.html

Workshops have been developed and paid for by the Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee, Piedmont Unified School District, and the City of Piedmont with support from the Piedmont Education Fund.

Jan 23 2018

It’s Time to Nominate A Community Member Who Benefited Piedmont’s Youth.

Announcement from the Piedmont Unified School District:

Nominations are being accepted for the 2018 Arthur Hecht Volunteer of the Year Award.  The Award was established eighteen years ago by the Piedmont Board of Education in honor of  late Piedmont community member Arthur Hecht. This award is presented annually to individuals who have volunteered their efforts over a period of time and made a difference because of their involvement and commitment to Piedmont’s youth. Staff, students and community members are invited to submit a nomination.

The deadline for nominations is Monday, March 19th by 4:30 p.m.

Nomination forms can be: a) hand-delivered in a sealed envelope, marked “Hecht Award Nomination,” to the Superintendent’s Office, Piedmont Unified School District Administration Office, 760 Magnolia Avenue, Piedmont; or b) emailed to seggert@piedmont.k12.ca.us. All forms must be received by the deadline of 4:30 p.m. on Monday, March 19, 2018.

2018 Nomination Form

Past recipients have included: Hunter McCreary, Ann Chandler, Ruth Cuming, Lisa Lomenzo, Cynthia Gorman,  Grier Graff, Julia Burke, Maude Pervere, Janiele Maffei Tovani, Andrea Swenson, June Monach

Several times there have been joint recipients, such as Cathie Glettner / Marion Souyoultzis, Fritz and Mary Wooster,
Elizabeth (Betsy) Gentry, Anne-Marie Lamarche / Mark Menke, Mary Ireland / Bill Drum.

Jan 22 2018

School Board will consider a number of policies on sexual harassment, complaint procedures, hate incidents, suspension and expulsion at their 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, January 23, 2018 Board meeting in City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue.  The meeting will be broadcast on Cable 27 and from the City website under videos.

Readers accustomed to one click access will find a different process for the Piedmont Unified School District (PUSD) staff reports.

Readers must first click on each link (noted in blue below), then download the report to their personal computers, after which the School District staff reports can be read. (See links in blue below.)

The following links go to the PUSD staff produced documents to be considered by the Board. The policy considerations are to begin at approximately 7:30 p.m.

1. Background – Healthy Relationships and Sexual Harassment
2. BP-AR 6142.12 Healthy Relationships/Sexual Assault Prevention
3. BP-AR 1312.3 – Uniform Complaint Procedures
4. BP-AR 4030 – Discrimination – Hate Motivated Incidents-Hate Crime- Harassment-Bullying – Employee Version
5. AR 4031 – Complaints Concerning Discrimination in Employment
6. BP 5131 – Discipline Code – Schools Rules and Procedures
7. BP-AR 5141.4 – Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Procedures
8. BP-AR 5144.1 – Suspension and Expulsion Due Process
9. AR 5144.2 -Suspension and Expulsion Due Process – Students with Disabilities
BP-AR 5145.3 – Discrimination / hate-motivated incidents and hate crimes / hazing / harassment (including sexual harassment), intimidation, bullying
VII.B. Presentation and Acceptance of 2016-17 District Annual Financial Report (Auditor’s Report) 

Annual Financial Report 2016-17
VII.C. Review Schedule of Board of Education Meetings for 2018-19 

2018-19 Regular Board Meeting Dates
VII.D. Approve 2017-2020 Collective Bargaining Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding between the California School Employees Association (CSEA), Chapter 60 

8:35 PM
Speaker: Randall Booker, Superintendent
The Board will be requested to approve the collective bargaining agreement  and Memorandum of Agreement for 2017-2020 between the District and the California School Employees Association (CSEA), Chapter 60.
Attachments:
Background – CSEA Contract Approval
CSEA Tentative Agreement
CSEA-PUSD Memorandum of Understanding

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Comments may be sent directly to School Board members by clicking their email addresses below:

Sarah Pearson
President
spearson@piedmont.k12.ca.us

Amal Smith
Vice President
amalsmith@piedmont.k12.ca.us

Doug Ireland
direland@piedmont.k12.ca.us

Cory Smegal
csmegal@piedmont.k12.ca.us

Andrea Swenson
aswenson@piedmont.k12.ca.us

Jan 17 2018

Board President Sarah Pearson made an announcement at the Piedmont Unified School District Board meeting of Wednesday, January 10, 2018, as follows: 

Some community members have asked the Board for more information about our process and plan to address issues of sexual harassment and intimidation. I wanted the community to know that this topic will be discussed in more detail at the next board meeting, which will take place on Tuesday January 23, 2018, and subsequent meetings. I am grateful to the Superintendent and his staff for their ongoing efforts to address issues and wanted to share a short update.

Regarding review of policies and procedures:

In the Fall of 2017, the District asked its legal counsel to undertake a comprehensive review of all District policies and administrative regulations concerning discrimination, harassment, complaints concerning schools, complaints concerning District employees, Uniform Complaints, and student discipline.  The purpose of the review, which is still underway, is to ensure that the policies are complete, aligned with one another and consistent with current law, and reflect best practices.

District staff will present the recommendations of its counsel at the next Board of Education meeting, on Tuesday, January 23.  This presentation will be the starting point for a broader community conversation about District policies and procedures, and we strongly encourage community members to attend and provide input.

Regarding training and support for teachers and staff:  

In November 2017, all District administrative staff received their annual training to prevent, identify, address, and remedy sexual harassment in both student-to-student and adult-to-student situations.  This spring, teachers and classified staff will receive the same training, which is an online program designed specifically for use in schools.  In the past, teachers and classified staff received the training every two years, but going forward this training will be required every year for teachers and staff as well as administrators.

In January 2018, administrative staff who are in supervisory roles, as well as counselors and Wellness Center staff, will receive more comprehensive sexual harassment training presented by District’s legal counsel.  This training will be tailored for the District and include small-group discussion and analysis.  In the past, this training was presented every other year.  Going forward, this training will be repeated every year.

In addition, the District is researching training programs for members of the Board of Education.

Regarding assessment of student needs and concerns:

The California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) is a statewide survey concerning student health and academic performance, and the District typically administers the survey in odd-number years to 5th, 7th, 9th, and 11th graders.  In addition to using the State’s questions, the District can and usually does customize the survey with its own questions.  Last year, the District decided to administer the CHKS survey every year, so District staff are already preparing survey questions for this February.  The intent is to include questions about harassment, bullying, safety, security, and registering complaints.  The complete list of questions is scheduled be presented to the Board and the community at the Board meeting on Tuesday, February 13.  Community engagement is essential in developing, evaluating, and refining District policies and practices. The Board and District staff encourage students and community members to join in our discussion of these and related issues.  Community members are also most welcome to contact the Superintendent or members of the Board directly. We appreciate questions and suggestions, and we look forward to working together.

School Board President, Sarah Pearson

Jan 17 2018

Sexual Harassment and Intimidation –

School Board President Sarah Pearson and PUSD Superintendent Randall Booker answered the parents’ > letter as follows:

Dear Jennifer and Shannon, [Authors of correspondence to School Board]

Thank you for your letter dated January 8.  The District welcomes your questions and comments and what follows is a response to at least some of your concerns.  Please share this with the other signers, and please encourage them to attend the upcoming meetings (outlined below) to discuss these and related issues.  Community engagement is essential in developing, evaluating, and refining District policies and practices. On behalf of the Board of Education and the District staff, we look forward to working with you and other stakeholders on these critical issues concerning student safety and security.

Review of policies and procedures.
In the Fall of 2017, the District asked its legal counsel to undertake a comprehensive review of all District policies and administrative regulations concerning discrimination, harassment, complaints concerning schools, complaints concerning District employees, Uniform Complaints, and student discipline.  The purpose of the review, which is still underway, is to ensure that the policies are complete, aligned with one another and consistent with current law, and reflect best practices.  The District initiated this review following incidents of hate speech among students during the Spring of 2017 and allegations of teacher misconduct in the Fall of 2017, as the process of investigating these incidents and allegations drew staff attention to apparent gaps, ambiguities, and outdated provisions in District policies.

District staff will present the recommendations of its counsel at the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, January 23.  This presentation will be the starting point for a broader community conversation about District policies and procedures, and we strongly encourage you to attend and provide input.

Training and support for teachers and staff.
In November 2017, all District administrative staff received their annual training to prevent, identify, address, and remedy sexual harassment in both student-to-student and adult-to-student situations.  This spring, teachers and classified staff will receive the same training, which is an on-line program designed specifically for use in schools.  In the past, teachers and classified staff received the training every two years, but going forward this training will be required every year for teachers and staff as well as administrators.

In January 2018, administrative staff who are in supervisory roles, as well as counselors and Wellness Center staff, will receive more comprehensive sexual harassment training presented by District’s legal counsel.  This training will be tailored for the District and include small-group discussion and analysis.  In the past, this training was presented every other year.  Going forward, this training will be repeated every year.

In addition, the District is researching training programs for members of the Board of Education.

Assessment of student needs and concerns.
The California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) is a statewide survey concerning student health and academic performance, and the District typically administers the survey in odd-number years to 5th, 7th, 9th, and 11th graders.  In addition to using the State’s questions, the District can and usually does customize the survey with its own questions.  Last year, the District decided to administer the CHKS every year, so District staff are already preparing survey questions for this February.  The intent is to include questions about harassment, bullying, safety, security, and registering complaints.  The complete list of questions is scheduled be presented to the Board and the community at the Board meeting on Tuesday, February 13.

Review of Board training and decision-making.
On Tuesday, January 30, the Board of Education will hold a workshop on effective governance that will include self-evaluation and reflection.  The workshop, facilitated by a representative of the California School Board Association, will be from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm in the Piedmont Police Department conference room.  All are welcome to attend.  

Please feel free to contact either of us directly if you have further questions. We hope this information is useful and provides some foundation for more in-depth community discussions. On behalf of the Board, we appreciate your thoughtful suggestions and look forward to working with you.

Sincerely,

Sarah & Randy
Sarah Pearson, Board President
Randall Booker, Superintendent 
          January 10, 2018
Read the previously published letter sent to the Piedmont Unified School District Board of Directors HERE.