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Summary of 5/24/22 Regular Meeting of the WCSD Board of Trustees

Consent Agenda

There were 33 items on the consent agenda containing a variety of issues.

Trustee Church requested to pull items 2.13 and 2.26. President Taylor ruled no and no other Trustee, which is now required pursuant to BP 9110 (which agenda item 2.13 covers), would second Trustee Church’s request. He proceeded to go to the microphone to make a public comment about its importance letting his diverse voice be heard by letting him pull items from the consent agenda for discussion.

President Taylor agreed to pull consent agenda item 2.26, as it has not been previously discussed.

Items that were not pulled from the consent agenda and we hope to review are four items on the agenda for preliminary approval of revisions to the following board policies; BP 6525 Gifted and Talented, BP 6600 Course Study, BP 6605 Academic: Curriculum and Content Standards, Specifically to Update Formatting and Clarify Language, and BP 6700 on Charter School, all under initiation of the 13-day public review and comment period

Motion to approve consent agenda items 2.02 - 2.25 and 2.27 - 2.33. Approved 6-1.

2.26 Reappointment of Certain Members to the S.H.A.R.E. Committee

Trustee Church noted some of these people have been on the committee since 2019. He asked if these positions had been offered to members of the public? Chief Academic Officer Troy Parks answered that an offer to fill these positions did not go out to the public as the people in question are in good standing and wanted to remain on the committee, so they reappointed them under BP 9100 Public Bodies. It is a controversial committee and it warrants going out to the community for application and public input on who is on this committee.

Motion to approve consent agenda item 2.26. Approved 6-1.

Budget Items

3.01 Presentation and Possible Action to Approve the Year 2022-2023 Final Budget

Presentation by the Budget Office by CFO Mathers and Jeff Bozo Budget Director.

  • The state per pupil funding in FY23 will increase only 1.3%, less than the combined increases for District employees and negotiated cost-of-living adjustments.

  • They had higher than normal indirect cost revenues from federal stimulus funding, plus higher than expected turnover savings (teachers leaving the district), are the two major factors that put us in a balanced budget situation.

  • The FY23 budget includes $1500 COVID differential payment for WEA employees (so are those who are not members of the union left out of COVID money?), totaling $6.3 million.

  • This FY23 General Fund budget has incorporated the Board’s direction regarding current critical labor shortages.

They went into detail on the definition of a balanced budget and that the WCSD budget is a balanced budget.

Some Balanced Budget Highlights Slide:

Compensation Increases

  • COLA (Cost of LIving Adjustments) for teachers 1% WEA, WSPA Principals & Leadership 1%, School Police 3%, Support Professionals 1%.

  • COVID Differential Payouts - WEA $1500 per member and WSPA &LT

  • Additional Payouts - one time vacation payout (up to 5 days) and sick leave payout (up to 2 days). They are still addressing critical labor shortage compensation increases, for benchmark positions (still negotiating).

  • Operating costs for the new Hug HS, expanded Swope MS, and new expanded O'Brien

  • Continued ESSER Funding - Joe Ernst Chief Accountability Officer is managing the COVID money and lots of great things planned. ESSER II spending deadline is 9/30/2023, estimated $10.2M in FY23 and ESSER III spending deadline is 9/30/24; estimated $30.2M in FY23 (Would like to see that broken broken down)

  • Capital Improvements - upped $40M

  • Free Meals for all students based on State assistance no matter what their income (how does that work?)

  • Property & Casualty and Workers’ Comp Funds at actuarially sound level

If you are interested in reviewing the presentation go to the agenda materials for review.

Trustee Smith asked if there were any updates on the Commission to increase funding for Washoe County. It is great the Trustee Smith is really focused and looking for fairer funding allocation on behalf of Washoe. Answer - Mr. Mathers said they have an upcoming meeting. In February the Commission requested the DOE to recalculate this funding. They are now just waiting to see the results of those recalculations and it seems they will find out in this June meeting.

Trustee Church this is not the budget he would propose. He wants to be a team player, knowing you can’t have 7 different budgets one for each Trustee, however we need more bus drivers and teachers. He said the mental health funding they go above and beyond social workers, nurses, counselors… For the record allocations are not easily changed, but there are some ways to work around them.

Trustee Mayberry Questions:

-Can we use the ESSER money? Answer by Superintendent McNeill - Yes we can do grant revisions, but they have to be approved by the DOE. ESSERS I and II have already been allocated with most going to positions. There may be room on ESSER III.

-Concerned about a possible recession, he asked about the economic climate -Answer interest rates will probably increase, the war in Ukraine causing increased fuel prices …but it's all a crystal ball guess.

Motion to Approve the Final Budget for the Fiscal Year 2023. Unanimously Carried.

Items for Presentation, Discussion, Information and/or Action

4.01 Agreement between the WCSD and the Washoe Education Support Professional (WESP) Regarding Compensation to Adjust Critical Labor Shorage in Transportation, Housekeeping, and Nutrition

Superintendent McNeill - they are in contract negotiations with WESP. Note, the special education aids and assistants will not be included in this discussion.

Emily Ellison Chief HR Officer and Pete Etchart COO are presenting:

Pete Etchart COO

Talking about operations

  • With the new Hub Model they need 47 drivers, down from 88ish, to eliminate the area rotation plan. Even with increasing pay and training, not sure they will be able to due to the current labor market and the time to hire and then train drivers, who have federally mandated classroom time and then behind the wheel time, and driving with a trainer before they receive certification. About 3 /12 - 4 weeks to train a driver.

  • If they cannot get enough drivers they have come up with a Weighted Plan to help those hardship areas. As flushed out by Trustee Nicolet the hardship areas are ascertained by attendance records for the weeks schools had buses vs the weeks they did not. Some schools are impacted extremely negatively where others are not. So from there they will try to get transportation to schools that most need it.

Trustee Church Questions:

-When will we get the results of the study the Board funded? Answer Etchart - the study’s goal is to look at what we do and make it more efficient, like how far can a student walk to q drop off? They are paying to submit data to supercomputers that run different scenarios. We districts have seen incredible results, but he doesn’t know if they will see as much here as his team has looked at the transportation issue from every angle.

-Flushed out contracts have reopening clauses if there is a recession.

-Idea for recruiting to host a national conference on school recruiting and ask UNR and UNLV students to look at solving the hiring issues in a thesis paper.

Emily Ellison HR

Recruiting Update

  • Dedication of additional resources

  • Job fairs and community events,

  • Recruitment campaign and extensive advertising,

  • Social media, community organization partnerships,

  • Online events and outreach

  • New hire, retention and referral incentives.

They have been successful with percentages of recruitments and, but still need more.

They are in labor negotiations, but they are dealing with inadequate funding, severe labor market shortage. Also morale issues as WESP represents a lot of their employees, so don’t want to disenfranchise those other employees. So it seems to us that a, not sure how big, stumbling block is that some people are going to be angry that other people will be paid more and the school is afraid to lose those employees.

She is going to speak a little about the negotiations which is unusual but this is a crisis. They are looking at wage data to know what is reasonable to pay in wages, keeping in mind classifications b/c all positions are graded for complexity, but will have wage compression if the lower classified jobs get close to making near what a supervisor makes. This will cause morale issues. We ask, should this be a big consideration as you cannot have a school without students getting to school. And since equity is a main focus of our district, there has to be numerous equity issues associated with the failure to provide transportation. (Noting the special education students are the only ones mandated by law to be provided transportation.)

They have engaged a compensation consultant as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics are outdated in figuring out the right compensation to offer. Also, they can offer the wages to the prospective employees letting them know it was arrived at by a compensation consultant. It would take the heat off the district as the consultant, not WCSD, would be making the wage offers. She is also looking at offering COVID differentials.

The public has been asking her why can’t we use ESSER money? Because for one unsustainability, that funding ends in 2024. Even though COVID led to the labor shortage, the money was earmarked for pandemic recovery and the effect on the students. One time resources should be used for one time costs. Hmmmm.

Superintendent's Recommendations

They are going to continue negotiating with WESP

4.02 Recommendations of the Zoning Advisory Committee which may Affect Brown, Hunsberger, and Lenz Elementary Schools for School Year 2023-2024

The Zoning Committee uses Admin Reg 7107 for guidance on zoning; 1) keep neighborhoods in the same attendance zone, 2) assign students to the closest school possible, 3) compact zones, 4) allow for growth, 5) comply with feeder patterns as best as possible, and 6) avoid transportation burden.

This issue before the Zoning Committee pertains only to elementary schools. Lenz is overcrowded and Hunsburger has some space. They looked at several options narrowing it down to 2 options.

The Zoning Committee did something we wish that the WCSD Board of Trustees would do. They did an outreach to the community and then sat down and talked with the parents affected. The community really helped by leading them to consider also using Brown to relive the overcrowding at Lenz. Many of the families lived closer to Brown and already felt a tie to that school. The numbers worked well, there was no change to transportation, and because the parents and the principals were part of the meeting with the zoning committee they had the decision to start their children earlier and avoid having them moved to a different school after only one year in attendance.

They took a problem where parents were really stressed out about having to move their children once they got used to a school, sat down and they all talked and worked out the problem. Now the parents are excited. The Board congratulated the Zoning Committee on their outreach. Is this a case of irony?

The Zoning Committee listened and shared ideas with the public. They had dialogue, a conversation. This is one of our biggest complaints we have is that the Trustees offer little to no opportunity for dialogue. That leads one to believe it is intentional. They know what the stakeholders want, but it is not what they have planned, so no dialogue. I hope that is not the case.

Motion provide final approval to accept the recommendation of the zoning committee effecting Brown, Hunsberger and Lenz Elementary School, option 9.

General Public Comment

-Several McQueen seniors did a great job advocating for longer lunch times to create a better environment for the students they are leaving behind. They were well dressed, well researched, polite and articulate. They spoke about the importance of lunchtime in every student's life. They need time to eat and have a mental break. Often lunch is a student's first meal of the day. Many skip breakfast and those from families who have food insecurity it is their first opportunity. There is not enough time to eat, causing stress and tardies to class. All the tardy students then disrupt the classrooms, decreasing class time. They have solutions too. Talking about teachers giving kids more time for lunch if they are not tardy, seeing tardies decrease 32%. They are asking for a 40 minute lunch break. They surveyed 629 students, 98.6% believed they should have longer lunches and 97.8% felt rushed during lunchtime. Harvard study evidenced decrease in food waste with minimal increased lunchtime.

Teachers also need a longer lunchtime. One teacher mentioned nutrition breaks but this is not a good idea as it is unfair to students who don’t have food to bring to school. A longer lunch break is the most logical solution. Another teacher suggested an A and B lunch schedule. Bad ideas because now we will be dealing with scheduling issues and focusing issues because of the noise and commotion, easier to skip class and being separated from their friend which upsets students.

-Another set of McQueen seniors advocated for freedom of religion and speech in schools. All were the same as the first group, extremely articulate, well researched, polite and well versed. The first spoke about being able to organize a religious club on campus, citing state and federal statutes and case law and speaks to the current infringement of the same. Another student argued about lack of diversity in clubs as there is only one religious club in WCSD. There are many LGBTQ clubs, which are great. Clubs are a place where students with like minded students. There is no worry you are shoving your views onto someone else. He feels religious clubs should be given the same opportunity.

A third student advocated for religion in curriculum. They did a student survey and 74% said they could learn more and there was little religious representation in curricula. Talks about how they do not cover the Mormon expansion throughout the country. Also there is no mention of the Mormon Extermination Order where the government encouraged Mormon’s to be killed. There are a multitude of religions the schools do not talk about or include in history. They requested the Board to reconsider its restriction of religious clubs and curriculum.

-A WCSD occupational therapist. He wanted to bring it to the Board’s attention that budget item 2.15 about special ed students getting occupational therapy. There were 229 kids who did not have services required by their IEP. It is a federally mandated program. District is offering Comp Ed if they don’t get the services. They are asking the Board to come out and investigate.

-Extensive information was listed about how bad the data collection is in NV and read to NV Dept of Ed. Dr.Jhone Ebert who said it is all true. This was deleted from the WCSD website. Infinite Campus is one of the biggest collectors and no one knows how this may affect the future of NV students. The federal government has access to all this data. WCSD took $13M in money from the government.

-Shannon C responds to President Taylor’s web-ad talks about the public spreading made up narratives when all they want to do is teach about Civil Rights. Benchmark Advance Supplemental Curriculum said nothing about Civil Rights. The Equity and Diversity Training Manual - talks about Critical Race Theory, but there is no CRT in WCSD. Then goes on to speak about the discussions of whiteness and all the negatives and slants against white people. She gave handouts to the Board so they can no longer say you haven’t seen divisive materials in Washoe County.

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