Monday, March 23, 2015

Board Meeting Recap

March 2015

Each month the Board meets to review and action items relevant to all stakeholders, often with implications lasting long into the future.  This month was no different, as the Board updated the public on teacher contract negotiations and renovations to Patton Middle School.

Here is a list of the highlights for the month

+ Teacher Contract Update
+ Classroom Technology Plan - Infrastructure Review
+ Trimester Proposal for Elementary Schools
+ Facilities 10 Year Capital Plan - Update on next steps and funding balance

Videos of all Board meetings are available on our website, and the documents are also available here.

+ Teacher Contract Update

Gregg Lindner made a presentation summarizing the status of the current teacher contract negotiations.  Negotiations began in December and the current contract ends at the end of June 2015.  The Board negotiating team is comprised of Vic Dupuis, Gregg Lindner and Keith Knauss.  

The practice of this Board has always been to conduct business in an open, honest and transparent manner.  The Board wants all of the teachers and members of the community to understand the issues surrounding the contract.  The teacher contract drives about ½ and influences another 20% of the district's expenses.  The current negotiations will have a strong influence on the budget for the next three years and it is important to give the public information and a voice in this process.

A web page has been created to update all stakeholders on the status of negotiations and to address the issues being discussed.  The Board presentation is available on Board Docs and you can watch the video of the presentation as well (scroll to minute 34:45).

Presentation Document
Meeting Video
Teacher Contract Web Page

Scott Broomall, president of  the Unionville-Chadds Ford Education Association (UCFEA), the union representing the teachers, made public comments during the meeting as well.  His comments can be viewed on the meeting video (scroll to minute 44:00). UCFEA has also developed a presentation that was place on the UCFEA facebook page.

Meeting Video
UCFEA Facebook page

+ Classroom Technology Plan - Infrastructure Review

In January the Board reviewed plans to implement a Learning Management System (LMS) over the next few years.  In this meeting the Board reviewed aspects of the technology infrastructure that will be required to support the district's vision for technology in the classroom.  Key to this initiative is a good supporting network.  The technology department will double the number of access points to support growth in wireless traffic

Student devices is another critical element in the plan.  Chromebooks appear to be the device of choice by students, teachers and the technology team.  Chrome devices provide a good price point, a keyboard, easier management, Google Apps integration and are more secure than other alternatives.  A Chromebook is not a fully functioned laptop but all the apps needed by our students in the average classroom are well supported with this device.  As these devices are relatively new, life expectancy is yet to be established.  Next year's expansion of the LMS initiative will include further testing of Chromebooks.

Technology Plan - Integration Review Presentation
Technology Plan - LMS Presentation (from January 2015 Board meeting)

+ Trimester Proposal for Elementary Schools

The administration is recommending that elementary schools move to a trimester schedule.  This schedule reduces tests and administrative overhead by removing one of the four marking periods/report cards.  Many school districts have moved to this schedule, it is supported by the teachers and the curriculum council was very supportive as well.  The Board plans to take action on this next month.  This proposal, if approved, would be implemented for 2015-2016.

Trimester Proposal

+ Ten-Year Facilities Plan - Projects and Funding for this Year

The Board reviewed the Ten-Year Facilities Plan, specifically focusing on what is planned for this year.  There are various projects planned, but the main focus for this year is Patton.  Significant changes to the front of the building will make better use of space and improve security.

Last month the Board approved a bond refinancing that yielded a one-time pick-up of approximately $1M in available funds.  This month the Board approved using this one-time pick-up to fund the one-time expense to Patton.  This allows the district to continue with these needed capital improvements without taking on additional debt through either bonds of referendum.

The Board authorized the buildings and grounds department to get bids for the work to be done this year.

Summary of Ten-Year Plan Status

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