By Tim Hunt
Trustees talking new calendar againUploaded: Jan 13, 2015
New Pleasanton school trustee Mark Miller will have the opportunity to change the direction of the board tonight when trustees face two key actions.
The one that affects most people is re-consideration of the new calendar that is set to start with the 2015-16 school year in August. The prior board majority approved a calendar that starts Aug. 9 and has the traditional week off at Thanksgiving and two weeks at Christmas after the first semester is done.
One of the key goals was aligning the calendar so the first semester does not lap over the Christmas break as it has done for decades. This year, for instance, students will be back for two weeks and then face finals. The new calendar, which has been criticized by some vocal parents, includes the traditional spring break as well as finishing around Memorial Day instead of the second week of June.
It is similar to calendars used elsewhere in the state and country, but new to the Tri-Valley. It would mean an eight-week summer this year, a 10-week summer in 2016 when school finishes May 27 and a nine-week summer (the new regular) in 2017 when the calendar would include a week off in October and start the 2nd week of August while finishing in early June.
If Miller can muster two additional votes to revert to the prior calendar that will mean some interesting negotiations with the teacher's union, which already formally has signed off on the new calendar. (Thanks to screwy state law the calendar is subject to negotiations instead of the employer's prerogative.) The board approved the contract in the lame-duck meeting between the November election and when Miller took office in December.
Trustees Valerie Arkin and Jamie Hintzke voted to rescind the calendar in September so it will be interesting to see if they continue that viewpoint and join with Miller to go back to the status quo.
The other interesting action will be the closed session prior to the regular meeting to consider disciplinary action of an un-named employee as well as how to respond to the law suit filed by former Walnut Creek Principal Jon Vranesh. Vranesh was removed as principal in the fall of 2013 and has dangled in school district limbo since that time on paid administrative leave. He filed legal action last October.
The board previously has scheduled closed-door discussions about the "un-named" employee, who presumably is Vranesh. Vranesh's law suit seeks unspecified damages as well as his reinstatement as principal and back pay.
It's possible that what's brewing is a settlement?the district gains little and likely loses a bunch if the legal action wends its way through the courts. That's for nothing else but paying lawyers on a case that already is probably hitting seven figures in expenses.'
For Vranesh, once the action is taken to discharge him, the pay spigot turns off and he needs to figure out a way to earn a living with the legal actions hanging on both sides assuming he appeals his termination.
Cooler heads just may prevail with losses being cut on both sides.
A settlement does not excuse the district for the shameful way it has handled this case?regardless of the merit of the allegations against Vranesh. To leave an employee in limbo for 15 or more months is shameful and sends just awful messages to the other employees of the district to say nothing of the parents and other community members who are paying attention.