Jul 31 2020

The Piedmont Unified School District will close the Witter Athletic Complex at 6:00 am on Monday, August 3rd until further notice. The Complex includes Witter Field, the baseball and softball fields, the batting cages, and the Witter Field House restrooms.

This closure is due to persistent lack of compliance with the Alameda County Public Health Department’s Shelter in Place orders. Despite repeated warnings from District staff, users of the Witter Complex have continued to play group sports in violation of COVID-19 health orders.

Similar issues led the City of Piedmont to close the Linda Beach Playfield last week. The District regrets having to take this action and the inconvenience this may cause the community. Nonetheless, continued lack of compliance on both City and District fields poses a serious public health risk, necessitating these closures. The District will work with the City and County to determine when it is safe and appropriate to reopen the Witter Complex.

Questions or comments? Please contact Director of Facilities Pete Palmer at ppalmer@piedmont.k12.ca.us

Jul 31 2020

The Bell Schedule Committee convened, developed, and found consensus on
the following daily bell schedules in response to the COVID-19 learning
landscape (both distance learning and in-person learning models) and ultimately,
the Board’s adopted parameters.
● Students will attend classes (either in a distance learning or in-person
learning model) 4-5 days per week under a specific schedule that
incorporates both daily synchronous and asynchronous learning
opportunities.
● Minimum Instructional Minutes:

■ 180 minutes of daily instruction for transitional kindergarten
and kindergarten students (as required by Ed. Code
43501(a)).
■ 230 minutes of daily instruction for 1st – 3rd grade students
(as required by Ed. Code 43501(b)).
■ 240 minutes of daily instruction for 4th – 12th grade
students (as required by AB 77: 43501(c)).
■ Daily attendance recorded for distance learning sessions
(as required by Ed. Code 43504 (d) (1))
● 30 minute duty-free lunch for teachers and staff.

REVISED JULY 29, 2020

● Grades K-5, a teachers’ direct instruction (any combination of in-person
and synchronous teaching) cannot exceed 1200 min per week.
● Grades 6-12, a teachers’ direct instruction (in-person, or synchronous)
cannot exceed 20 hours per week.
● Elementary teachers will be provided with a minimum of 1 hour of
preparation time per day.
● Secondary teachers (1.0FTE) will be provided with no less than 475
minutes of prep per week.
● At the secondary level, schedules will include a 10 minute passing period.

Jul 31 2020

School Board Candidate Hari Titan Asks For Community Input on In-School Versus Distance Learning, Virus Transmission Mitigation, 14 day Quarantines for COVID – 19 Positive, and More

I’m conducting a survey that is open to all community members in Piedmont regarding how schools should open under ideal circumstances.
This new survey goes into the substantive decisions being made by the school district and seeks to find out how the public would have decided things.
The results of this survey will be easily interpretable and will be shared with participants and the school board.
The survey is here:  bit.ly/2020ReopenSurvey
Thank you for your participation.
Hari Titan
Candidate for the Piedmont Unified School District Board of Trustees
Editors Note:  This is an independent survey apart from the Piedmont Civic Association. PCA does not support or oppose candidates for public office.  Participation in the survey is completely at the discretion of participants.  PCA has not screened the questions and takes no responsibility for the future use of any information provided on the survey, including names or email addresses. 
Jul 26 2020

Interested in running for the School Board or the City Council?

It’s Time to File!

On November 3, 2020 Piedmont voters will support or reject the $19 million Municipal Pool Bond Measure, increase the Real Property Transfer Tax when selling their homes,  and choose the future City Council and School Board.

Piedmont voters who are interested in seeking election or reelection to public office on the City Council or School Board must file their candidacy documents by August 7.  City Clerk John Tulloch must be contacted to learn specifically what documents must be completed.  Contact # 510/420-3040

 Nomination Filing Period ends August 7, 2020

___________

Real Property Transfer Tax Increase and Pool Bond Measure for New Aquatics Center

Piedmonters wanting to file an argument for or against the Real Property Transfer Tax Increase or the Municipal Aquatics Center bond measure must meet the deadlines by contacting the City Clerk. 

Contact City Clerk John O. Tulloch at 510/420-3040 for updated information, dates, and specific qualifications to file an argument for or against the ballot measures.

Deadline for Direct Arguments on Measures – August 14, 2020 ?

 Deadline for Rebuttal Arguments on Measures – August 21, 2020 ?

Two seats on the City Council  will be elected on November 3.   Mayor Robert McBain having served two 4 year terms is not eligible to seek re-election.   Council member Jen Cavenaugh has taken out papers for another 4 year term.  Conna McCarthy has filed her City Council candidacy papers. Connie Herrick and  N.”Sunny” Rhodes Bostrom-Fleming have taken out candidate papers.

Three positions on the School Board will be chosen. Two School Board members, Andrea Swenson and Sarah Pearson, will  have served two 4 year terms and are not eligible to seek re-election. A third School Board member, Cory Smegal, is eligible to be re-elected to another 4 year term.  Those who have taken out papers as of this date for the School Board are: Veronica Anderson, Hilary Cooper, Jason Kelley, Hari Titan, Dr. James Crawford-Jakubiak, and N. “Sunny” Rhodes Bostrom-Fleming.

Sunny Bostrom-Fleming, who has taken out papers for both the School Board and the City Council, will only be allowed to file papers for one of the positions.

For the most updated information on candidates, click below:

https://piedmont.ca.gov/cms/one.aspx?portalId=13659823&pageId=16885057

_________

Staff report: Approval of a Resolution Setting Procedural Details for the General Municipal Election of November 3, 2020

SECTION 7. There shall be no filing fee for candidates for office in the General Municipal Election.

SECTION 8. The candidates’ statements shall be limited to a maximum of 200 words.

SECTION 10. The nominations for the General Municipal Election are open and close no later than 5:00 pm on August 7, 2020, unless extended pursuant to Elections Code Section 10225.

For all election related questions, contact City Clerk John O. Tulloch at 510/420-3040. 

Jul 15 2020

The Piedmont Unified School District, along with other California School Districts, has been unsure how to safely and effectively open Piedmont schools.

At a Special Meeting on July 16, 2020, 5 p.m., the Piedmont School Board will discuss and consider Distance Learning programs for Piedmont schools with instruction beginning August 17.  For full Agenda details, time, staff reports and participation instructions for the meeting, click below:

https://agendaonline.net/public/Meeting.aspx?AgencyID=1241&MeetingID=79474&AgencyTypeID=1&IsArchived=False

The School Calendar for 2020-21  –

Revised-2020-21-Instructional-Calendar-Board-Approved-071320.pdf

The following letter was sent from Superintendent Randall Booker to PUSD Educators and Families,

I’m writing to provide you all with updates related to our planning for a return to teaching and learning in the 20-21 school year.

During the July 13th Board of Education Meeting, the PUSD Board of Education directed me to bring forward a plan to begin the school year in a 100% Distance Learning Model.  I agree with this directive and appreciate the Board’s flexibility and willingness to recognize how COVID-19 is affecting the start of school for countless districts across Piedmont, Alameda County, the bay area, and the state.

I also agree with the Board of Education that we must continue to develop plans to bring students and staff back to our campuses, as we had previously discussed, as soon as it is possible and within acceptable parameters of safety.

The safety of our students and staff continue to be our top priority. 

Over the past several days, we have witnessed the infection rate spike across Alameda County, the bay area, and the state.  We simply do not live in a bubble and must consider how the virus is impacting not just Piedmont, but our surrounding communities as well.  In order to bring students and staff back onto our campuses, we were hoping to witness a decrease in the infection rate and hospitalizations.  We were also hoping to see an increase in the access and availability of testing.  Neither of these important criteria are materializing.  In fact, we are witnessing these trend lines headed in the opposite direction.

We are not alone in this thinking.  Many school districts, within and outside of Alameda County, are making the decision to move to a 100% Distance Learning Model to start the school year for similar reasons.  If we hope to transition to an on-site blended learning model, it is imperative to ensure that our students and staff remain safe during a period of increased transmission.

The Board of Education will consider a proposal to begin the 2020-21 school year in a 100% Distance Learning model at the July 16th Special Board of Education Meeting (5:00pm).  All stakeholders are welcome to provide public input prior to Board action.

If approved, administration, educators, and staff will direct our efforts entirely on developing a Distance Learning model that is focused, targeted, and productive for all of our students.  While the spring saw us shift into a crisis mode of distance learning, the fall will be met with much more structure that addresses the six following themes:

  1. An emphasis on a set and consistent daily bell schedule and number of synchronous (live) minutes for direct teaching and learning.

  2. Social/Emotional learning and support systems

  3. Consistent and required benchmark assessments and grading

  4. Structured professional development, training, and collaboration for all of our educators and staff throughout the school year.

  5. Uniform learning platforms and instructional technology

  6. Daily attendance tracking

This summer is challenging as we continue planning with our educators in an environment that constantly shifts.  We have spent a tremendous amount of human capital on the development and implementation of multiple plans based on multiple scenarios.  We have adjusted the 20-21 instructional calendar.  We have negotiated topics including instructional minutes, bell schedules, student cohorting practices, master scheduling, on-campus safety requirements, and employee leave of absence rights.  We have also planned for and reacted to drastic changes to our budget.  In short, all of these challenges have diluted our effectiveness and efficiency.

With a Board decision, the next five weeks, leading up to the start of school, will focus solely on the development and delivery of a Distance Learning Model to ensure a focused, targeted, and productive environment for all.  I recognize that any form of Distance Learning cannot adequately compare to in-person instruction, but I’m looking ahead, doing what is necessary to keep students and staff safe in the immediate, and hoping that under the right environment, we can return to in-person instruction with a full complement of learners and educators.  I fear that a rush to an immediate environment of in-person learning will only lead to an increased infection rate among our students and staff and return us right away to distance learning.

The Board will need to consider the appropriate parameters and benchmarks needed to return to in-person teaching and learning.  We are partnering with the Alameda County Office of Education, Alameda County Public Health Department, and surrounding districts to develop some semblance of uniformity around these benchmarks.  My goal is to provide the Board, our educators, and the community with recommended safety benchmarks prior to August 17th.

I deeply recognize how challenging these decisions are for our educators, staff, families, and students.  There is no single popular decision.  The Board of Education and I are making informed decisions based on the current landscape and what we feel is best for the safety and health of our students and staff.  As we have said since March, COVID-19 is largely in control and will require our planning to be unprecedented in its flexibility.  With that said, there is still so much we can all do to expedite an in-person learning environment:

  1. Masks are a must in all environments outside of the home.

  2. Social Distancing is real and desperately needed.

  3. Establish limited family cohorts and bubble groups.

  4. Delay any unnecessary travel.

  5. Wash your hands/use hand sanitizer fastidiously.

Please be on the look-out for active communications from school sites in the next week or two with updated instructions and developments.  Thank you for doing your part to keep our entire Piedmont community healthy.

Randall Booker

Superintendent

Jul 4 2020

PCA will attempt to keep voters informed as election season gets underway for the November 3, 2020 Election. 

It is known that some candidates are beginning their campaigns via the internet.  With social distancing remaining in place, this election will prove to be unique with no knocking on doors, block coffees, or hand shaking. 

Piedmont has never lacked for resident voters to step forward and seek election to the volunteer positions.  There are many details to running for public office requiring strict adherence to requirements. Candidates are advised to promptly contact the Piedmont City Clerk for details.

Piedmont voters who are interested in seeking election or reelection are getting busy for the election filing period beginning in July 13 and ending August 7.  

 Nomination Filing Period = July 13 – August 7, 2020

Suggested Deadline for Direct Arguments on Measures August 14, 2020

Suggested Deadline for Rebuttal Arguments on Measures August 21, 2020

Dates should be confirmed with City Clerk Tulloch at 510/420-3040.

Two seats on the City Council are up at the November 3 election.  Council member Jen Cavenaugh can seek another 4 year term.  Mayor Bob McBain having served 2 four year terms cannot seek re-election. Two seats will be filled at the election.

Two School Board members, Andrea Swenson and Sarah Pearson, will  have served 2 four year terms and cannot seek re-election.  The third School Board member, Cory Smegal, is eligible to be re-elected to another 4 year term.  Three seats on the Piedmont School Board will be filled at the election.

The City Council on July 6 will approve the protocols for Piedmont’s City Council and School Board Elections on the November General Election ballot.

Staff report: Approval of a Resolution Setting Procedural Details for the General Municipal Election of November 3, 2020

SECTION 7. There shall be no filing fee for candidates for office in the General Municipal Election.

SECTION 8. The candidates’ statements shall be limited to a maximum of 200 words.

SECTION 10. The nominations for the General Municipal Election shall open on July 13, 2020 and close no later than 5:00 pm on August 7, 2020, unless extended pursuant to Elections Code Section 10225.

ANSWER to the question of who is running?  It is not known for candidates have not publicly announced their candidacy.

Contact  City Clerk John O. Tulloch at 510/420-3040. 

Window looking out from inside the Piedmont City Hall Council Chambe

 

 Resolution Setting Procedural Details for the General Municipal Election of November 3, 2020

Jul 1 2020

Background Reopening Schools (2nd Reading)

Jun 26 2020

Locations proposed for electric vehicle (EV) charging stations are 4 parking spaces in the Piedmont Community Center parking lot, one parking space near Havens School on Highland Avenue, and 2 parking spaces near ACE hardware on Grand Avenue.

Park Commission Wednesday, July 1 will make a recommendation to the City Council on converting  parking spaces to EV charging stations.

The Piedmont Park Commission will meet on Wednesday, July 1 at 5:30 pm via ZOOM Teleconference.

The agenda:

1. Approval of Park Commission Minutes for June 3, 2020

2. Update from the Piedmont Unified School District Regarding Phase 2 Construction at Piedmont High School and Discussion on New Street Trees in Coordination with the City of Piedmont

3. Consideration of a Recommendation to City Council to Install Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in the Civic Center and Grand Avenue Commercial District in Conjunction with East Bay Community Energy.

  [East Bay Community Energy charges $0.28 per kWh, limits charging to 4 hours and requires the City or private entity to police the occupancy of the charging stations. see below]

4. Update on the Impacts of the COVID19 Emergency on City Parks, Open Spaces, and Landscape Maintenance Regulations

5. Monthly Maintenance Report: Park, Open Space, and Street Tree Update for the Month of June

East Bay Community Energy EV Charging Station Policy

  • A flat rate fee of $0.28 per kWh will be charged for the use of the station.
  • There is a four (4) hour time limit for charging at the EV station. Violators may be subject to towing at owner’s expense.
  • Vehicles parked in EV station spaces MUST be connected to the charging station. Violators may be subject to towing at owner’s expense.

State of California law on EV’s (AB 475 Butler)

“Electric vehicles (EV’s) must be plugged in for refueling when occupying an EV designated parking space, otherwise they may be towed. In addition, the law prohibits a person from obstructing, blocking, or otherwise barring access to an EV-designated parking space.”

Click the red link below to:

Learn how to participate in the July 1 Park Commission meeting 

Read the minutes of the prior meeting

View the maps of charging station locations near Havens School,  Community Center Parking Lot, and Grand Avenue.

View Piedmont produced video and read questionnaire.

PCA Park Commission Agenda_2020-07-01

 

Jun 21 2020

At the June 24, 2020 Piedmont Board of Education meeting, the Board will discuss the timeline and various scenarios for reopening the Piedmont schools in August.

Superintendent Randall Booker states in his report:

“During the June 24, 2020 Board of Education Meeting, I am asking the Board of Education to review and discuss my recommendation that Piedmont Unified students and educators return to campuses under a Blended Learning Model, rather than beginning the year under a Full Distance Learning Model. A Blended Learning Model is a weekly combination of In-Person and Online Synchronous, and Asynchronous Lessons (synchronous learning is online or distance education that happens in real time, whereas asynchronous learning occurs through online channels without real-time interaction). In other words, students would return to their respective campus for in-person instruction a few days per week and participate in online learning (a combination of synchronous and asynchronous) for the reminder of the week. “

Decision-making Timeline and Next Steps:

June 24, 2020 Board of Education Meeting -1st Reading of Recommended Blended Learning Model – No Action

June 29, 2020 Special Board of Education Meeting – 2nd Reading and Decision of the Recommended Blended Learning Model – Action Requested – 1st Reading of Calendar Committee Recommendation for Revised 20-21 Instructional Calendar – No Action

July 2, 2020 Special Board of Education Meeting – 2nd Reading and Decision of Calendar Committee Recommendation for Revised 20-21 Instructional Calendar – Action Requested – 1st Reading of Bell Schedule Committee Recommendation for Elementary and Secondary Daily Bell Schedules – No Action – 1st Reading of Board Policy 0470 – Covid-19 Mitigation Plan – No Action

July 7, 2020 Special Board of Education Meeting – 2nd Reading of Bell Schedule Committee Recommendation for Elementary and Secondary Daily Bell Schedules – Action Requested – 2nd Reading of Board Policy 0470 – Covid-19 Mitigation Plan – Action Requested 

READ THE FULL STAFF REPORT AND PROPOSED REOPENING DETAILS BELOW:

pca VII_B_BackgroundReopeningSchools_0

READ THE FULL AGENDA BELOW AND HOW TO PARTICIPATE:

https://agendaonline.net/public/Meeting.aspx?AgencyID=1241&MeetingID=78863&AgencyTypeID=1&IsArchived=False

Jun 17 2020

“Piedmont is the highest taxed city in the area.”

Letter to the Piedmont City Council regarding increase in Piedmont taxes.

Table 4 of the Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee (BAFPC) report provides scenarios of increased property transfer tax (RPTT) revenue based on alternative increases to the tax.  The analysis looks backward and provides you with increased revenue the city would have received over the past 10 years had these rates been in place.  That’s an understatement and I recommend you give direction to staff to conduct a fourth scenario that forecasts RPTT growth under the current tax rate that will occur based on the growth rate of the past 10 years.  This is very easy to do and will provide you with information to select the appropriate tax increase, if indeed one is needed at all. 
Three reasons: First, as the BAFPC analysis shows, Piedmont is the highest taxed city in the area and adding more taxes to that burden should be factually considered. Second, the Facilities Maintenance Fund is fully funded.  Third, as the Public Works Director said at your last meeting, facilities maintenance is on pace and substantial deferred maintenance has been achieved under current RPTT revenue.  As you know, the past 5 years have seen record RPTT receipts even in a period of declining sales so there is good reason to analyze whether the a tax increase is needed.

I have some questions for staff:

City Administrator:  the BAFPC recommended city staff dialogue with PUSD officials about how increases in city taxes might impact the District’s need for additional funds.  Can you elaborate on these discussions?

Finance Director:  even in the midst of the pandemic, you recently stated the real estate market is “robust”. Can you elaborate on your projection that revenue will drop by 29% in 20-21,  yielding a RPTT of $2.2M.  Is that due to a drop in the number of sales or home prices?

Assistant City Clerk; You stated that under the City Charter, a bond initiative might require two votes.  Can you elaborate on that and any conclusions?  If that were the case, some have suggested a facilities district as a way to avoid 2 votes. I recommend Council abide by the Piedmont City Charter.

Garrett Keating
Former Member Piedmont City Council 
Link to Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee report > Receipt of a Report from the Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee on Financing Options for Improvement of City Facilities