Teachers, District reach contractual agreement of 5 percent raise

Laura Beaton

Staff Writer

The firm stand that teachers took two months ago during salary negotiations appears to have paid off. A dozen teachers spoke at the March 13 board meeting about the need for higher wages. Prior to that meeting, the district had presented its “first, last and best” offer, which the teachers association had resoundingly rejected.

At the May 8 Plumas Unified School District meeting last week, Superintendent Micheline Miglis announced good news: that a mutually satisfactory agreement had been reached.

Certificated teachers received a 5 percent salary increase, retroactive to the beginning of the 2013-14 school year. The agreement stipulated that teachers work two extra days of professional development. According to Plumas County Teacher’s Association president Ron Logan, some teachers said the raise amounted to 4 percent, given the two extra work days.

Still, it was called a “win-win” accomplishment. Logan said the teachers unanimously ratified the collective bargaining agreement.

Teachers should receive a check for their back pay before the end of the fiscal year, June 30, Miglis said. The contract is valid for two years.

BTSA success

Many beginning teachers express disdain with BTSA (Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment), a state-funded program that fulfills requirements of their preliminary teaching credentials.

But not Plumas County Community School teacher Kathy Hall. Instead of aggravation with the two-year process, Hall experienced inspiration, and brought that excitement to her classroom in Quincy.

Hall presented her action research project, Technology in the Classroom, to the board May 8.

The goal of her project was to study the effects of technology use on her students’ learning (grades nine through 12) abilities and attitudes. The results overwhelmingly pointed to positive benefits, academic and social, for all of her students.

In an intensive every-five-minutes, one-month long observation and data collection process, Hall determined that students were much more engaged, completed far more work, greatly reduced work-avoidance behaviors and vastly improved their attitudes toward school and learning.

She said the most important technology tool she had was an interactive white board. Upon entering her classroom at the start of the 2012-13 school year, Hall was told the equipment did not work. She persevered, however, and was able to get the interactive white board working, and as a result, turned her students’ attitudes and work ethics around.

As a result of her research, Hall’s classroom may end up with district-supplied laptops or tablets instead of her personal laptop, which she allowed students to use in class.

Forest Reserve funds

Business Director Yvonne Bales had more good news: the district received more Forest Reserve funds than anticipated. The combined total of county office of ed and school district funds received was approximately $450,000.

Bales reported a positive ending fund balance on the district side of $316,685. She said this is the first year in many that the district will end its year without a deficit.

Given the boost to the budget from Forest Reserve funds, added to the millions already in reserve, PCTA president Logan asked the board to consider allocating the Forest Reserve money to each school site to use as they see fit.

Logan said he was impressed with the achievements Kathy Hall has accomplished at her site, based on her students’ particular needs.

“What kind of possibilities might we see a year from now?” Logan asked the board. “If we release those funds to the sites, who knows what we might see.”

The next board meeting is scheduled for May 22, primarily to discuss the Single Plan for Student Achievement progress reports.

The meeting is set to begin at 6 p.m., after the Quincy High School senior class project showcase, which runs from 4 to 6 p.m., in front of the courthouse.

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