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Summary of 5/10/22 Regular Meeting of the WCSD Board of Trustees

To watch the YouTube of this meeting click here.

Consent Agenda

2.02 Discussion regarding the sale of WCSD Administration Building on 9th Street to UNR.

This item was pulled by Trustee Church for discussion on what is the benefit to the District. (We thought pulling an item from the consent agenda would require a second after the last Board meeting, but did not hear that). Regardless, there was no discussion in this vein. What was explained to the audience is basically there is a history of UNR and the District working together. The District cannot accept anything other than the appraised value and Governor Sandoval wants to be first in line as the property is adjacent to UNR. Neither UNR nor the District are obligated by this memorandum. Motion to approve this memorandum item is carried unanimously.

2.03 - 2.10 Consent Agenda Items grouped and Motion to pass them carried unanimously.

Items for Presentation, Discussion, Information and/or Action

3.02 - Recognizing May as Mental Health Awareness Month

The Board moved and the motion was unanimously carried that May is Mental Health Month.

3.03. Recognizing May 15-21 as National Public Works Week in WCSD.

Acknowledging the staff who are responsible for the ongoing maintenance of WCSDs facilities and overall capital infrastructure. The Board moved and the motion was unanimously carried that May 15-21 is National Public Works Week.

3.04. Discussion of Selling Approximately $300 million in General Obligation Bonds

(repaid through Washoe County property tax receipts) all proceeds going to WSCS Capital Improvement for Fiscal years 23/24. The only eligible uses for WC-1 uses are acquisition, construction, repair and renovation of school facilities.

Moved to adopt and the motion was unanimously carried.

3.05 The Continued Review and Discussion on Performance of the 2020-2021 School Year (The Board Has Been Reviewing Various Metrics at Each Meeting). This Meeting, They Will Review How They Have Done On Goal #2: "To Develop and Retain Highly Effective Personnel Who Are Driven To Support Students and Their Academic Success".

The focus of this presentation is on Goal 2 of the District’s Strategic Plan Bridge Year which is to develop and retain highly-effective personnel who will support students and their academic success as well as the success of the District. WCSD plans to accomplish this goal through recruitment, selection, selection, professional development, and training.

Objective 2.1 - Attract, recruit, hire and retain highly effective personnel.

The first slide in Emily Ellison Chief Human Resource Officer’s presentation is that the first day of school they take a snapshot of enrollment and teacher allocations. In 2021-2022 they decreased the number of positions that remain unfulfilled by 2%. These are true allocated positions that they have not found a contract hire. It's a balancing act, hiring to enrollment levels is a guess. We are guessing they made the decided cuts last year due to COVID.

Ms. Ellison goes on to discuss how the HR Department, due to decreases in enrollment, have concerns about how funding and COVID transitioned the district into offering one-year-only teacher contracts. (Except math and special ed teachers). One year contracts cause low morale, low retention and recruiting problems.

During the discussion, Trustee Rodriguez questions the one year contract for classroom teachers because he "wonders when we will have enough teachers". Great question. What about a two year contract? Ms. Ellison wants to get away from limited contracts. She hopes the numbers will work out where the positions needed will fit the qualifications of the teachers available.

President Taylor asks how much is the one year contract hurting hiring? Ms. Ellison doesn’t feel it is as much of a worry because we don’t have a lot of commuting in our area; believing the early hiring by rural schools is more the issue. To help entice teachers to take a one year contract they have created a transfer period for one year only contracts before the general population pool opens up and are also auto renewing contracts for another one year if the teachers was rated as effective.

Superintendent McNeill understands as she was a holder of a one year only teaching contract, but says we are all aware of enrollment numbers and uncertainty with bi-annual legislature so they really don’t want to have to do a reduction in force (a RIF) which affects the entirety of the organization.

-2.1.2 - Increase diversity of new hires among all employee groups. Includes diversity in race, ethnicity, gender, language, and veteran status as identified by employee

It is positive to see they are saying diversity is not just race, but yet seem to be quickly contradicted by the following statement that “when our educators look like the kids we serve, there are better outcomes for the children and in organizations, there is a lot of research about diversity of thought and perspective and how it leads to better organizational performance.” Do they think diversity of thought only comes with diversity of skin color?

She goes on to speak about not being able to get diversity in a work force if you are hanging on to your current workforce because you can’t make them more diverse, but you can increase diversity through new hires. (We can’t imagine that sentiment makes current teachers feel great if they don’t check the desired diversity box. Listen here at 1:51 on WCSD Youtube). They are increasing in numbers of people who check the needed boxes but decreasing new hires. Here is an example of equity over education, they seem to care more about checking a diversity box without a mention of a teacher’s qualifications. They claim this is to connect to the community. WIth our diverse nation and classrooms how do you find a teacher who embodies all the diversity contained in even one of WCSD classroom? Is this why we have a teacher shortage because we don’t have enough people who check the right diversity boxes?

-2.1.3 Increase the number and/or percentage of certified new hires who are hired from our Education Support Profession and Guest Teacher staff each year

50% of hires come from within our own system; including our culture and expectation. Isn’t this the antithesis of the diversity argument above?

In 2015-2016 WCSD was approved by the state to be a provider for an Alternative Route to Licensure (ARL). They are only providers in their high needs areas; special ed, math, science, early childhood, music, elementary and foreign language. The district then fills the cohort going into the ARL with what they need, for example if they need special education, then the district will put those headed to teach special ed in the alternative licensure program. They won’t turn people away, but they will let them know the job opportunities are, for example, only for special education.

Trustee Mayberrry, as a new Trustee, asked for clarification on WCSD’s ARL program. Answer - The state sanctioned WCSD’s ARL program, but it is the same as normal licensing. The only thing that changes is the order in which material is presented. We would be curious to know how the order of material presented makes such a big change? Also discussed that these ARL programs often serve people in their second careers.

Objective 2.2.1 - Maintain the percentage of licensed staff engaged through the Professional Growth System Platform

The tool that houses the evaluation system and all professional learning opportunities like continuing education. For many years they have had high engagement. In 2019, they changed the goal to reflect maintaining the percentage due to licensure changes. Initially, the district was first looking to see if people were using the system; and now will change to data on measuring the impact of using the professional growth system.

2.2.2 - Increase the percentage of professional learning course owners who finalize courses in the Professional Growth System (MyPGS) platform

They want to gather feedback to standardize data on impacts balancing with data at the course level wanting to know what is specifically taught in the course.

Objective 2.3 - Continuously increase retention and engagement of highly-effective and engaged personnel through programs, professional growth systems, and other management.

Teacher retention has gone down. Ms. Ellison notes there are many reasons a teacher leaves. It is likely not due to just one interaction, but more like organizational culture, policies we do or do not have etc. So everyone plays a role in retention and recruiting. She also indicates that what we say about WCSD as a community, the chatter around our district, plays a role in good or bad recruitment.

Trustee Mayberry - Do we do exit interviews? Answer - Yes, we get a 20% response rate via electronic surveys. They will sometimes dig deeper like in transportation when they see a hot spot or trend they will reach out by phone for more details. Teachers as well? Answer - Yes.

President Taylor - Seems to be asking for a little more of a push to get feedback. We agree.

Trustee Rodriguez - Do you ever interview retirees? Answer - No can’t invest in resources. Trustee Rodriguez pushes and says that may be a rich resource of information. Ms. Ellison adds they have stay interviews, telling why an employee stays. Trustee Rodriguez pushes back a little noting we are having people leave so glad you are doing those interviews. Could it be their equity over education agenda?

Ms. Ellison continues her presentation by the addition of a wellness program to entice employees to stay. Employees are giving positive feedback on the new insurance vendor and she hopes to get employees to increase wellness with walking challenges etc and thereby positive outcomes.

Superintendent McNeill thanks the HR staff for taking care of the 8,000 employees; 4,500 teachers. Those are big numbers.

Trustee Smith - Do we see where teachers start to drop off in the 5 year plan? And do we have support plans to help get them through a possible notable rough time? Answer - Yes, Ms. Elliot sees trends in year 1 and year 2, and has implemented supports like master lead program, consulting teacher support, new teacher academy BUT you don’t want to overwhelm the new teachers with more you have to do, like meeting with mentors, more evaluations to complete etc… Another balancing act.

Motion to adopt the updated metrics and measurement from the 2020-2021 school year. Passed unanimously.

3.01 Superintendent Employment Agreement pursuant to NRS 391.110

The Board had previously approved a draft template for the Bryan Group. They will now go from there.

Public Comment first - Why sign a contract with a Superintendent with a district performing worse than ours and an author of “Decentering Whiteness from Our American Schools”. She will answer herself; believes 6 of the trustees endorse her philosophy.

Ms. Ellison HR - Pulls up the Superintendent's contract on overhead for review.

The terms of the contract: July 06, 2022 to June 30, 2026.

Base pay: $310,000

Deferred Compensation Annuity: WCSD shall annually contribute monthly 8% of the base pay to a qualified annuity or deferred compensation plan. Removed performance bonus language and this was substituted; which legal says is not atypical.

Days of Vacation: 22

Car Allowance: $800/month

Relocation: Entitled to expenses incurred during a period of 10 months not to exceed $25,000.00

Termination w/out cause; Increased from 30 to 60 days

Termination by Board Due to Disability: If lasts for 60 days in a 12 month period

PERS Public Employees Retirement System - payment into that is state mandated.

Superintendent Enfield will be able to work with Superintendent McNeill for 10 days, but cannot come any earlier due to finishing up at the school district she presently oversees. Superintendent McNeill offered to help with the transition even if she is no longer employed by WCSD.

Trustee Church - Not comfortable with the amount of the contract. Top of the salary plus all the additions. Feels they agreed to $310,000 and now up to $351,000. President Taylor addresses concerns. All in alignment with all her experience in arguably the most important business in the community.

Trustee Mayberry - Why not just give her $25,000 as it seems really micro?

Trustee Nicolet - She hopes $25,000 isn’t used.

Trustee Mayberry - Feels good contract as big fortune 500 companies get way more and this is the 59th largest school district in the country. Later adds, we need to pay what the market bears.

Trustee Nicolet - Wants to address the performance bonus. She felt it was problematic because they weren’t ready to address the goals and objectives of what should be in a performance bonus. Attorneys did some research and gave them deferred compensation to consider instead of performance bonus. Went that route because it was cleaner and could hire vs going back and considering what a performance bonus would entail. We would have loved to see, for example, higher proficiency in math and English. There is so much talk about a child needing to learn by 3rd grade.

President Taylor - Also felt it was important Superintendent Enfield did not have to take a pay cut from her current job.

Motion to approve the contract between WCSD and Superintendent Enfield. Carries 6-1. Dissenting vote by Trustee Church.

Superintendent McNeill is excited in the direction the District is going...which we believe is equity over education.

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