what Pleasanton students can expect next fall
In February, the PUSD board of trustees approved a list of budget cuts (PDF), and only a few of those cuts were reversed two weeks ago, when the board accepted contractual modifications from the teachers’ union and the classified employees’ union.
At the elementary school level, class sizes will be increasing in grades K-3, unless a grass-roots effort to raise funds to keep classes at 25 students each is successful. (For more information about that effort, see Save CSR.) The school day will also end earlier one day each week, and students will spend less time in PE with specialized instructors.
Some parents may not have realized that the contracts approved at the last board meeting also meant that the seven-period day at the high schools was again going to be on hiatus this coming year. Because high school teachers agreed to suspend collaboration time (which used to be on Wednesday mornings) for a second year, the district will save over $400,000 per year by staffing fewer sections of courses, and fitting them all into a six-period day. The only exceptions that have been discussed in board meetings so far have to do with music and band classes. Because enrollment was so negatively affected this past year, and because the music teachers have agreed to teach outside the regular schedule, a limited number of those courses will be taught either before or after the regular school day. This will permit students who would otherwise drop those classes to keep them in their schedules.
Across the district, the Community Outreach for Education (CORE) fundraising effort is underway, to help reverse some of the budget cuts to library hours and tech support. If donations to CORE reach their fundraising objectives, some money will be available for each high school to offer sections of courses outside of the regular six periods. Parents with concerns are encouraged to donate, and to contact their children’s principals and school board members about their concerns.