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Ojai school board to meet Monday, Jan. 25, to discuss $200-a-month stipend for classified employees

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The school board of Ojai Unified School District will hold a special meeting, via teleconference, on Monday, Jan. 25, to consider approving an agreement for classified school district employees who “work in-person at a school site, and potentially could be a close contact with students” to receive a $200-a-month stipend through June. 

The tentative agreement can be viewed at:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1joSpUTOhP4tA0VZR5vDZ_PgCTYodEHMc/view

The school board agenda can be viewed at:

https://core-docs.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/asset/uploaded_file/1091068/1-25-21_agenda.pdf

*The school board will start its meeting at 5 p.m. in closed session to have a conference regarding labor negotiations in response to the teachers’ union “demand to bargain” letter, dated Jan. 10, objecting to the school district's return-to-campus plans, posted on the Jan. 13 school board agenda. In the letter, the teachers' union President Angie Genasci wrote, in part:

"The membership feels that the current plan of (1) bringing elementary students back to campus for two  days in this and next week and beginning a full hybrid schedule the following week and (2) bringing the  middle and high school students back to campus at the end of January before we know if the case rates  have lowered to the guidelines set forth by our Governor, is not one that is taking into consideration the  physical safety of our students or staff. " 

(Hybrid classes started for elementary students the week of Jan. 11 and secondary schools are scheduled to open under the state "small cohort" guidelines on Feb. 1.)

The teachers' union letter can be read at the link below. The letter is also copied at the end of this article.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1iQEOp4riesKR1KHe3kdwZ8209PjrR4oE/view

The school board is required to open the meeting in public, prior to the closed session meeting. However, this agenda does not state that the meeting will open in public at 5 p.m., before the school board members hold their closed-session meeting.

The school board will meet in open session at 5:30 p.m.

To subscribe to receive notices of meetings, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The school board meeting can be viewed via District YoutubeVideo at:

https://www.youtube.com/user/adminojaiusdorg     

And on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/ojaiusd.org

Public comment for the school board can be submitted in writing at: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1CCfKeZXXuRb167DjQXSDjggyD9OS3u9wFDiOcg1ESec/viewform?edit_requested=true

The public comments submitted for the Jan. 25 meeting can be viewed under the Opinion/Op-Ed tab at:

https://www.ojaivalleynews.com/opinion/op-ed?view=article&id=19582:public-comments-on-ousd-jan-25-school-board-meeting&catid=914

Public comments can be submitted in writing prior to 4 p.m. the day of the meeting. OUSD asks that written public comments be limited to 450 words.

Members of the public can also go to the board room at 414 E. Ojai Ave., Ojai, to make a public comment in person that will be streamed live on the school board’s Zoom meeting. They are asked to wear a face mask and to socially distance, following COVID-19 safety protocols.

The stipend for classified school district employees (separate from the teachers’ union) is described in the agenda as “COVID-19 circumstances and extraordinary responsibilities compensation.”

The classified employees’ tentative agreement, negotiated by the superintendent on behalf of the school board with the Negotiations Team of the California School Employees Association, Ojai Valley Chapter 333, was signed on Jan. 22.

“Employees must be on campus a minimum of 15 days each month that students are on campus to receive that month’s stipend,” according to the agenda item.

The agreement defines “close contact” as “anyone who spends 15 or more minutes within 6 feet of a student. Custodial staff will also be included in this agreement due to their contact with students.”

 Job classifications include:

• Instructional assistances

• School office clerical / staff

• Custodians

• Health care technician

• ABC Club staff, including campus assistants

• Bus drivers

• Occupational therapists

• Crossing guards

Also on the agenda:

— Student Accountability Report Cards for all of OUSD schools:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jAN4mulCCjObBbH-BbjGQY-h_EPRZ2yw/view

 To see the college and careers readiness report for OUSD by the state for 2020, visit: https://www6.cde.ca.gov/californiamodel/ccireport?&year=2020&cdcode=5672520&scode=&reporttype=schools

— Updates on the previous OUSD bond Measure J projects:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jC8C_0z2iPGmrLsJdqvHJm7iwCjmZaAW/view

— Bond budget updates:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jGQIF4mZX1WhxHzkLobWPBoiOYBiiN2d/view

— Matilija kitchen project:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jsExHe94DKbm0HgWvcnqw5dZtXpqVO5w/view

— Nordhoff Library project:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jEFIo53lv2t7w2TS7p7fFdIeiV5-KRZb/view

— Mira Monte School restroom upgrade:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jrrcEeTQVtRtqDFp6jax0k92W48z4Czb/view

San Antonio School paving project:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jr4F4rlbAEMQaPj-0Iqth5oqTglstm5z/view

Black History Month:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jl-TPTepHm8QIl-qVCUznz2qpyY7-63e/view

Future board meeting topics:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jlKI-zFKISEhf9UcYWrfByimYdibIbNy/view

(Those submitting public comments are invited by the Ojai Valley News to also copy those comments to the Ojai Valley News at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . There is a word limit of what can be read at school board meetings and the school board sometimes sets a limit on the amount of time for public comments to be read aloud, so that not all are heard by the public at the time of the meeting. Also, OUSD does not make publish the public comments, beyond the ones that are read at the meeting, until the meeting minutes are submitted several days after the meeting.)

 

*Teachers' union "Demand to Bargain" letter, dated Jan. 10, posted on OUSD school board's Jan. 13 agenda:

January 10, 2021 

Subject: Ojai Unified School District: The members of the Ojai Federation of Teachers are asking to  continue high-quality distance learning in all schools until we can safely reopen at a later date. 

Dear Dr. Morse and the Ojai Unified School Board of Trustees, 

The Ojai Federation of Teachers respectfully requests to bargain the criteria for the return to campus at  all grade levels and asks that the District pull back on their plans to return the elementary students and  staff to campus on Wednesday, January 13.  

The Pandemic has created an educational nightmare for all citizens. We are all trying to make our way  through this situation carefully and with grace and hope the District shares our desire to collaborate on  working through this challenge. 

While our Federation president took part in a discussion on Wednesday, January 6 and agreed to the  current plan, the overwhelmingly negative reaction to this plan by our membership, the current number  of positive cases in Ojai and the consistent jump each day of new cases in our community, along with  the civil unrest in our country have changed our stance.  

The educators of Ojai Unified care deeply about their students, their education and all aspects of their  health.  

The membership feels that the current plan of (1) bringing elementary students back to campus for two  days in this and next week and beginning a full hybrid schedule the following week and (2) bringing the  middle and high school students back to campus at the end of January before we know if the case rates  have lowered to the guidelines set forth by our Governor, is not one that is taking into consideration the  physical safety of our students or staff.  

We understand that the safety protocols established between the Federation and the District are what  keep children and staff safe on campus; however, as you know, the information about this coronavirus  changes daily. The most current variant of the virus, its ability to be transmitted easily coupled with the  asymptomatic nature of Covid 19, and the fact that there are no ICU beds available in the county have  us concerned for our students, our community, and ourselves.  

We also understand that the district administration has a duty to respond to not only the staff but to  parents and other community members. We know that they want our students at all age levels to be  back in classrooms: learning, socializing, thriving.  

We want this too!  

Right now, however, we feel is not the right time to bring kids on campus. 

As professionals we understand our jobs and our clientele, so to speak. We understand that students  and families need consistency and routine so that the task of learning isn't muddled with figuring out  new systems every few weeks.  

By remaining in the distant mode of education we are allowing students and families to settle in and our  children to get an education at a critical time of the school year. We are creating the consistency that  students need so that they can thrive even at a distance. 

Finally, the civil unrest exhibited last week with the attack on our Capital and Congress, the threats to  our Vice President and Senators, and the unprecedented move by our Vice President to possibly invoke  the 25th amendment or Congress to impeach a President for the second time have been nothing short  of jarring.  

Our school community is already under enormous stress from the pandemic but last week’s events have  taken that stress to new levels. A return to campus would only exacerbate those stress levels.  

We look forward to the coming negotiations.  

Sincerely, 

Angie Genasci 

Ojai Federation of Teachers, President  

Cc: Craig Andrews, Secretary  

Janet Watts, Treasurer 

Kate Spiva, Co Treasurer 

Aimee Mendoza, V.P. of Grievances 

Teresa Lessing, V.P. of Benefits 

Tracey Anderson, V.P. Membership

 

 

 

 

 

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