School board takes on new member
Beverly Ducey was sworn in as the newest member of the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District board at Wednesday’s board meeting. Ducey replaced Cindy Gustafson, who resigned from her position to accept an appointment with California’s Fish and Game Commission.A parent of two children in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, Ducey has been involved in the district for 10 years, including a position on the district’s Measure A committee. She is also on the board on the North Lake Tahoe Boys & Girls Club.”I see, at the teacher level, that this is a very expensive place to live. A great teacher makes the biggest difference in a child’s education and we need to attract and keep great teachers,” she said during her question and answer session with the board.Ducey said poor financial support from the state for education, coupled with increasing housing prices and medical costs, pose challenges for the district.”I know that those things are out of the control of the general fund, but I think that there are creative ways to make up for that,” she said. Bill Kraus, a Measure A campaign member, supported Ducey’s appointment to the board. “There is no one who’s professional judgment and council I trust more. No one whose intellect I respect more, and no ones who’s selfless dedication to the community I admire more and try to model my own actions after,” Kraus said.Teacher contractsMeanwhile, the school board finalized its contract with teachers at Wednesday’s meeting. Contract negotiations continued non-stop for about four years, said Jo Wilson, assistant superintendent of personnel. With the board’s approval, both sides have agreed not to meet again until next year, she said. “This is really a milestone,” Wilson said.The new contract, which will increase teacher pay by 7 percent over the next eight months, will cost the district $1.3 million. Last on the agenda was a discussion surrounding the recent district office “efficiency and effectiveness” study, which was compiled by a private contractor. Staffing was likely going to be a “hot potato,” said district Superintendent Dennis Williams”I was hearing grumblings that the district office was over-staffed, but based on my experience, we needed more help in the office. I know that is going to be a hot potato,” Williams said. The office is working under constraints of no added staffing or funding while trying to meet recommendations in the study without asking the board for additional personnel, Williams said.He said that he would like to add personnel to the district office as soon as funds are available, including a director of human resources, who would be responsible for educational services and the coordination of Special Education Services.Other items of addressed by the study included reducing duplicative responsibilities within the office, hiring students to assist with basic clerical needs, and creating a new organizational structure. Next Meeting: Mon., Sept. 26, 8 p.m. North Tahoe Conference Center, Kings Beach
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Jaime Alessio took this video of a bobcat wandering around Kings Beach in broad daylight.