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Tonight, Sept. 8: OUSD school board to vote on increasing board members' health benefits, stipend

1 18 21 OUSD logo copyOjai Unified School District school board members will vote at their Sept. 8 meeting on whether they should have the option to receive full district health and welfare insurance benefits for themselves and their families and at least $400 a year in compensation, to allow them to be eligible for the benefits under Education Code 35120, according to the OUSD agenda.

School board members will also decide whether to exchange the word "or" for "and" in Board Bylaw 9520 so they would not have to choose between health benefits or a stipend; instead, they could choose both. 

The meeting will start at 4:30 p.m. in closed session with legal counsel to discuss anticipated litigation. It will open for public comment before reconvening in closed session to discuss: employee discipline/dismissal release and labor negotiations with the Ojai teachers' union.

It will open in public session at 5:30 p.m.

To view the Sept. 8 school board agenda that will be held via videoconference and in person at the boardroom, visit:

https://core-docs.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/asset/uploaded_file/1530017/September_8__2021_Agenda.pdf

 The public can view the meeting live via YoutubeVideo at https://www.youtube.com/user/adminojaiusdorg
and via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ojaiusd.org

The school board voted at the Aug. 25 school board meeting to allow the public to write their public comments to them at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1CCfKeZXXuRb167DjQXSDjggyD9OS3u9wFDiOcg1ESec/viewform?edit_requested=true

People can submit written comments prior to 4 p.m. on the day of the meeting or in person in the boardroom at 414 E. Ojai Ave., following COVID-19 safety protocols of wearing a mask.

Because the school board does not read the written public comments aloud and limits them to 450 words and because the board may limit the amount of time verbal comments can be made, the public can also copy their comments to the Ojai Valley News at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the public to be able to know their concerns. 

In 2018, Ojai Unified School board members voted 3 to 2 (Trustees Kevin Ruf, Jane Weil and Michael Shanahan for. and Shelly Griffen and former board member Thayne Whipple against) to reduce the health benefits for school board members and to have them choose between a stipend or the minimum health benefits.

The proposal to increase board benefits was one of the last items on the July 12, 2021 school board agenda and was tabled until a later date, since Ruf, who introduced the reduction in board benefits in 2018, was absent from the July 12 meeting. As a result, a subcommittee of Shanahan and newly elected board member Rebecca Chandler, who requested this issue be put on the agenda, was created to craft a proposal.

The benefits agenda item 5.3.3, labeled "Board bylaw 9250" is also near the end of the Sept. 8 agenda.

To view the 33-minute July 12 school board discussion, see that recorded portion of the meeting from the 4:17 to 4:450 time stamp at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FM8O9z-LGXE

To read agenda item 5.3.3 on the Sept. 8 agenda, click on:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1uJjK0kVcdvKBj7QfxfdzctBjvEkokJIp/view

 Agenda item 5.3.3 reads, in part: "Board members may participate in the health and welfare benefits program provided for district employees."

The board packet information on agenda item. 5.3.3 reads as follows:

"Agenda Item Number: 5.3.3

Title: Review of Board Bylaw 9250

Type of Item: Discussion or Action

Presenters: Boardmembers Chandler and Shanahan

Explanation: At the July 12, 2021 meeting, the board agreed to form a subcommittee with Member Chandler and
Member Shanahan. The recommended language for consideration is below.

Bylaw 9250: Remuneration, Reimbursement And Other Benefits Original Adopted Date: 12/09/2014 | Last Revised Date: 06/05/2018 | Last Reviewed Date: 06/05/2018

Compensation: Each member of the Board of Education may receive Health and Welfare benefits and the maximum annual compensation of $400 as provided for in Education Code 35120.

On an annual basis, the Board may increase the compensation of Board members beyond the limit delineated in Education Code 35120 in an amount not to exceed five percent based on the present monthly rate of compensation.(Education Code 35120) Board members are not required to accept payment or benefits for meetings attended.

Any member who does not attend all Board meetings during the month is eligible to receive only a percentage of the monthly compensation equal to the percentage of meetings he/she attended, unless otherwise authorized by the Board in accordance with law. (Education Code 35120). A member may be compensated for meetings he/she missed when the Board, by resolution, finds that he/she was performing designated services for the district at the time of the meeting or that he/she was absent because of illness, jury duty, or a hardship deemed acceptable by the Board. (Education Code 35120) Student Board members shall receive no compensation for meetings attended. (Education Code 35012) Reimbursement of Expenses Board members shall be reimbursed for actual and necessary expenses incurred when performing authorized services for the district.

Expenses for travel, telephone, business meals, or other authorized purposes shall be in accordance with policies established for district personnel and at the same rate of reimbursement. Board members shall be reimbursed for travel expenses incurred when performing services directed by the Board. (Education Code 35044) Authorized purposes may include, but are not limited to, attendance at educational seminars or conferences designed to improve Board members’ skills and knowledge; participation in regional, state, or national organizations whose activities affect the district’s interests; attendance at district or community events; and meetings with state or federal officials on issues of community concern. Personal expenses shall be the responsibility of individual Board members.

Personal expenses include, but are not limited to, the personal portion of any trip, tips or gratuities, alcohol, entertainment, laundry, expenses of any family member who is accompanying the Board member on district-related business, personal use of an automobile, and personal losses and traffic violation fees incurred while on district business. Any questions regarding the propriety of a particular type of expense should be resolved by the Superintendent or designee before the expense is incurred. Health and Welfare Benefits for Current Board Members

Board members may participate in the health and welfare benefits program provided for district employees.

Fiscal Impact: TBD
Recommended Motion: None

 

One public comment was received from retired OUSD employee Becky Beckett as of Sept. 7 on this agenda item and can be viewed on the OVN site at:

https://www.ojaivalleynews.com/?view=article&id=20771:public-comment-for-wednesday-sept-8-ojai-unified-school-district-board-meeting&catid=856

 

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