PLEASANTON -- Music will flow from elementary school classrooms for at least one more year in Pleasanton after school district trustees voted to rescind about $3 million worth of cuts on a one-time basis for the next school year.
Pleasanton trustees voted 5-0 to restore almost 40 full-time equivalent positions that include instructional coaches, physical education and music teachers, librarians, counselors, vice principals, technology specialists and custodial workers at a cost of more than $2.8 million.
Also at the Feb. 26 board meeting, trustees voted 3-2 to add one more full-time equivalent instructional coach and a half-time equivalent library assistant at the district's three middle schools. The restored positions are approved for just the 2013-2014 school year and could be reduced in the following years based on state funding.
"We have been doing this for five years, and, even though we didn't have midyear cuts, we are not even halfway back to what we had in 2008," said Jamie Hintzke about the reduction in funding the district has received since Hintzke was first elected to the board in 2008. "We have a ways to go to bring stuff back, and it's tough without knowing or having a stable funding source."
When Hintzke was first elected, the district had 138 full-time equivalent employees for the seven categories that had positions restored on Feb. 26. The district had 18 counselors and 13 library assistants in 2008, and for the same category of positions restored on Feb. 26 the district will have five and three, respectively.
While the district was forced to reduce its budget during the economic crisis, it also had to meet increasing demands to have its students meet a certain proficiency in core subjects by 2014 through the No Child Left Behind Act, said Hintzke.
"We are all facing higher standards with no money to do it," said Hintzke. "NCLB at first was a good thing because it forced districts to look at teaching in efficient and focused ways, but it makes it hard when we don't have money to do what we need to do."
A majority of the positions restored were either funded by either Pleasanton-based education nonprofits or were brought back in previous years through employee concessions. The exception being the math and technology coaches, Hintzke said.
Music, the fifth-grade strings and band program, has been funded since 2009 by the Pleasanton Schools Educational Enrichment Foundation. The foundation has given more than $600,000 to the district through a variety of programs and fundraisers since 1999, according to the foundation's website.
For a complete look at the restored positions visit the district website at http://pleasantonusd.net.