Saturday, March 17 , 2018, 12:04 pm | Fair 57º


Santa Barbara School Board Approves One-Time Bonuses for All Employees

The Santa Barbara Unified School District on Tuesday night approved one-time, 2 percent bonuses for every employee as part of salary and benefit negotiations.

School board members approved the agreements with the California State Employees Association, Chapter 37, the Santa Barbara Teachers Association and unrepresented management employees.

The CSEA contract also changed the policy for employees recommended for termination, according to Margaret Christensen, assistant superintendent of human resources.

With the change, the district can put an employee on unpaid leave before the appeal process is over, and an employee can get retroactively paid if the discipline is overturned. Before, the district had to hire a substitute person until all appeal actions were concluded, and the burden had no way to recover wages if the person was terminated.

The money is coming from the payout from Redevelopment Agency dissolution, “which fits perfectly to a one-time, off-schedule bonus,” said Meg Jette, assistant superintendent of business services.

“Thank you to the teachers and classified employees for all you do,” board president Monique Limon said.

The board also listened to an update on the District English Learner Advisory Committee, or DELAC, which oversees committees at each school site.

DELAC co-president Gloria Hernandez, mother to a Harding University Partnership School fourth-grader, said the district has been working much more with parent groups and its students to improve academic achievement over the past year.

Every school has an ELAC now, she said, and the district has been providing more opportunities for English Learner parents to participate and get leadership training.

An extremely low percentage of eligible students have been reclassified from English Learners to fluent English proficient in the past, but rates jumped from 2 or 3 percent to 56 percent this year.

Standardized testing starts at second grade, but some teachers and reclassification committees don’t feel comfortable reclassifying students who had their first assessment read to them, said Emilio Handall, assistant superintendent of elementary education. In the 2010-11 year, he said, the district reclassified only 57 out of 445 eligible elementary students.

Once the process catches up with the student, they could be in fourth or fifth grade. Being classified as an English Learner for five years or more designates a student as a long-term English Learner, which makes it harder to redesignate them, Handall said.

The district reclassified 518 out of 933 eligible students for the 2012-13 year, and DELAC recommends that every eligible student be re-evaluated annually to increase the rate, Hernandez said.

She also thanked the district for implementing the restorative justice discipline model at Santa Barbara Junior High School, which focuses on intervention.

DELAC also recommended that the district include parents in the planning/implementation of the new Common Core State Standards, and that schools should develop an executive model of parent leadership for ELACs. Hernandez suggested that schools create parent communication centers for technical training with workshops focusing on communication between schools and homes.

Board member Kate Parker loved the idea and said school libraries could be open resources for parents.

Hearing DELAC’s concerns, board members asked Superintendent Dave Cash to double-check what resources and documents are available in Spanish as well as English, since they had assumed everything was.

“Whatever communication we have should be in both languages,” he said. “We will track down what’s not and make it so.”

The new state funding model for schools could eliminate the categorical funding that now pays for DELAC and the ELACs, but the board said the groups will continue no matter what the state Legislature decides to do.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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