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TTUSD board considers student representative

ABHUTCHISON, Sierra Sun

Topping tonight’s Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District board meeting are discussions regarding the addition of a student board member, home-to-school transportation charges and possible action to increase the substitute teacher pay rate.

According to TTUSD board president Suzanne Prouty, the board hopes to welcome a student representative by November.

The student board delegate would sit with the board at meetings and partake in discussions, but would be unable to vote.

“I saw other districts had a student representative on their boards,” said Prouty, who represents Nevada and Placer County boards as a school board delegate. “The student would be on the advisory. They get to comment on issues that come before us like a regular board member.”

Prouty said the usual somewhat long board meetings have been shortened, as board members are now required to limit their discussion comments to 5 minutes, with a 2 minute rebuttal.

This will make it more realistic for a student to sit on the board, she said.

“We need to represent the population we serve,” Prouty said. “The student board member will be following the issues that are important to the students. Even though they will not be voting, a lot of the issues just have emotional content that they can respond to.”

The student board member will most likely be a high school junior and will probably rotate between North Tahoe High and Tahoe-Truckee High Schools year to year. Gemma will discuss the criteria and details of the arrangement at tonight’s meeting.

Gemma will also discuss with board members the reaction of the Measure S Citizens Review Committee to the possibility of charging parents for home-to-school transportation.

District staff met with the citizens’ review committee, which is made up of community members, parents and staff. Prouty said that out of approximately 30 people, only one person thought charging for transportation was a good idea.

“Everybody walked away with a very clear feeling it would absolutely not be tolerated,” Prouty said. “When you have a parcel tax, you should not ask people to pay for transportation.”

District staff has also been working on a letter to send home to parents asking for donations to Excellence in Education Foundation’s Program Continuation Fund, a fund that is earmarked to help the district maintain a percent reserve in its budget. The district can only use money in this fund for unforeseen economic uncertainties.

Excellence in Education

Excellence in Education agreed to set aside $200,000 of its endowment and help raise $100,000 as the district was finalizing its 1999/2000 budget to help prevent programming cuts and maintain rich academic programs and smaller class sizes. Foundation representatives and district staff will discuss with board members the contents of a letter to parents requesting donations to this fund at the meeting.

Boadmembers will be asked to approve a pay rate increase for TTUSD substitute teachers. According to district reports, staff are recommending that day-to-day pay for substitute teachers increase from $65 to $78 a day and pay for long-term substitutes (substitutes that work more than 10 days in one assignment) from $80 to $93 a day.

The rationale for the pay increase is the districts extremely low substitute pool, according to the report. During the first few weeks of school, the district has been unable to fill all substitute needs.

“When this occurs, other school staff must rearrange their schedules so that they are able to cover for a missing substitute,” wrote TTUSD Assistant Superintendent Jim Abbott in the report. “This has a detrimental effect on the instruction within the school and, in some cases, can result in district cost even greater than the proposed day-to-day rate above.”

If approved by the board, the pay rate increase would be coupled with wide advertising of the district’s need for substitutes and the new pay rates and periodic substitute training programs within the district.

The goal is to increase the available substitutes from 24 to at least 48.


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