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School board discusses drug and alcohol testing for bus drivers

Members also approve employee pay raises, name new principals, honor Monte Vista High basketball team

San Ramon Valley school board members emphasized their concern for student safety Tuesday during a discussion of proposed revisions to the district's drug- and alcohol-testing policy for school bus operators and other personnel required to have commercial driver's licenses for work.

The changes would add details on what is required of drivers and the consequences of non-compliance. It also covers the use of certain prescription medications.

In cases of voluntary admission of alcohol or drug misuse, when declared prior to driving, the new policy protects employees from adverse action by the school district. At the same time, it makes their return to driving duties dependent upon successful completion of an educational or treatment program and additional testing.

During the discussion Tuesday night in Danville, board clerk Greg Marvel questioned why return-to-duty tests permitted a blood alcohol content of up to 0.02 percent, which is one-quarter of the legal limit for driving.

He asked staff to research whether there was a legal reason against making it zero. He also suggested that staff consider extending the proposed policy's restriction against alcohol use before work from four hours to eight hours.

Final consideration of the policy revision is set to come before the board on May 6.

* In other business, board members gave final approval to revisions of the district's administrative regulation on reasonable accommodation for current and prospective employees. The new guidelines provide greater detail than the previous regulation, last reviewed in 1995.

* The board approved 4% salary increases -- retroactive to Jan. 1 -- for paraeducators, and clerical, technical and child nutrition workers represented by California School Employees Association units II and III. This follows earlier agreements to 4% raises for the district's service workers, teachers, school administrators and upper management.

* In other personnel actions, the board eliminated nearly 20 classified employee positions, many part-time, at 12 schools for the next fiscal year because of funding uncertainty.

Most of the jobs depended partly or wholly on external funding sources, rather than general school funds. In past years, most eliminated positions were reinstated by the fall, sometimes with reduced hours, after funding was found or renewed.

* Board members honored the Monte Vista High varsity boys basketball team for its recent state crown. The Mustangs defeated Centennial High, from Corona in Southern California, in the CIF Division I championship game March 28, bringing home the school's first-ever state title to cap a 32-1 season.

* The board declared April to be Autism Awareness Month and Asian Pacific Heritage Month.

* Board members appointed two new principals.

Mimi Quan was named the permanent principal at Quail Run Elementary School, having her interim tag removed. Matt Chamberlain, previously assistant principal at Los Cerros Middle School, was selected as principal of Venture Independent Study School, replacing the retiring Matt Hermann.

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