Piedmont school board OKs Thanksgiving week off in future years

PIEDMONT — The Piedmont Unified School District Board of Education unanimously approved the instructional calendars for 2018-19 and 2019-20 with Thanksgiving week off in future years.

“There are lots of needs we are trying to meet. You can’t please everyone. But it’s an improvement to have Thanksgiving week off,” board president Sarah Pearson said at the Nov. 8 meeting. Trustee Andrea Swenson was absent at the meeting.

Superintendent Randy Booker explained that developing instructional calendars is a laborious process balancing the needs of the teachers, the students and the parents. Several meetings were held with the Association of Piedmont Teachers and a survey was taken to gauge parent’s views.

The first day of school for 2018 will be Aug. 14. Thanksgiving break will run Nov. 19-23. Winter break will be Dec. 24 through Jan. 4. In 2019, President’s week will be Feb. 18-22, with spring break April 15-19. The last day of school in 2019 will be May 31.

The calendar has been organized so that students will take their finals before breaks.

Finishing up 2019, Thanksgiving break will be Nov. 18-22, with winter break Dec. 23-Jan. 3, 2020. President’s week in 2020 will be Feb. 17-21 with spring break April 13-17. The last day of school for 2020 will be May 29.

The board also voted to eliminate one full-time classified position effective June 30, 2018. It was supported by the California School Employees Association (CSEA) bargaining unit.

“Due to a lack of need for this type of student support, the district is recommending to eliminate the physical education paraprofessional,” Booker said. “The employee affected … may exercise the right to be reassigned into a position in a lower classification.”

The board also had a lengthy discussion and presentation by Blake Boehm of KNN Public Finance about refinancing 2006 general obligation bonds to save taxpayer’s money. He presented several scenarios.

The board seemed to favor refinancing the current capital appreciation bonds (CABs) with CIBs (current interest bonds). This could provide taxpayer savings of about $19.5 million over the life of the bonds. CAB to CIB refinancing would increase annual debt service payments on the front end (2024-2034) for the new bonds resulting in higher tax rates, but the refinancing would have a significant impact on reducing total interest cost and reducing long-term tax rates, Boehm said in his report to the board.

The board may call a special meeting in early December to take action.

For a complete account of the board meeting, visit www.piedmont.k12.ca.us and click on online tab for Nov. 8.

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