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Committee endorses SRVUSD parcel tax spending

School board also discusses new policies on employee breastfeeding and pregnant students

The San Ramon Valley school district received a stamp of approval for its spending of Measure C parcel tax funds last year from the citizen group tasked with watching over the district's handling of the extra revenues.

"The (Parcel Tax Oversight Committee) is confident that the parcel tax funds are being spent within the purpose of the parcel tax measure," committee spokesman Peter Hoefs said to the Board of Education Tuesday night in Danville.

Local voters approved the seven-year parcel tax ($144 annually) in May 2009. It generated nearly $6.8 million for the district during the 2012-13 school year, about 3% of the district's overall unrestricted revenue, Hoefs said.

Measure C funds must be used for specific purposes, including academic programs, student preparation, supplies, and offsetting impacts to classrooms, teachers and student services because of state budget cuts.

Hoefs said the committee determined the district fulfilled those requirements last school year.

"This committee has shown the public that we are performing our fiduciary responsibilities, and (I) appreciate the deep dive the committee has performed to develop this report," board member Mark Jewett said.

The board voted unanimously to accept the committee's report.

In other business, the school board discussed creating new policies focused on employee breastfeeding and students who are pregnant or already parents. The board currently has no specific policies on either matter.

Board vice president Denise Jennison said there is a need to provide private places -- other than restrooms -- to accommodate district employees who are lactating post-pregnancy. Prospective job applicants have been asking for such facilities, Jennison added.

Speaking about the proposed policy for parenting students, assistant superintendent Jessica Romero said, "I would like the board to provide information and education about different services for students who are married, pregnant, and parenting."

"We support these students so they don't feel discriminated against," she added.

The "lactation accommodation" and "married/pregnant/parenting students" policies were listed as discussion-only items Tuesday, with final consideration set for a future date.

District chief business officer Scott Anderson presented an update on Gov. Jerry Brown's preliminary 2014-15 budget and potential impacts locally.

"We are looking for budget acceptance based upon the (Proposition 98) revisions set forth by Governor Brown," Anderson said. "We believe the budget is reasonably defined."

Adding to his report, Anderson said district staff is planning for increases in student population and staffing levels, including almost three-dozen new teachers, next school year.

Board members also approved initial bargaining topics proposed by California School Employees Association units II and III. Union reps want to discuss issues such as work hours, overtime, salaries, layoffs and evaluation procedures.

The board recognized this year's local Intel Science Talent Search finalists and research semifinalists in the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium Competition. Students from California, Monte Vista and Dougherty Valley high schools were awarded certificates from the board and given time to present a brief overview of their projects.

Board members declared next week as Week of the School Administrator and March as Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Month in the district. They also named The Growing Room as the child care provider at Hidden Hills Elementary School in San Ramon.

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