School Board Meeting Preview

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Tuesday June 05, 2007

The Berkeley Board of Education will review the proposed solar project at Washington Elementary School for the third time Wednesday and vote on whether to approve $750,000 in funds from the Office of Public School Construction (OPSC) and $305,000 in PG&E funds. 

Board members had asked district staff to develop a more comprehensive report on the financial aspects of the proposed project at the last meeting. 

Tom Kelly, director of KyotoUSA, said that unless the district issued a request for proposals for the project and submitted a copy to PG&E by June 16, the PG&E rebate would be lost. Kelly said KyotoUSA secured a 10-year financial municipal lease in the amount of $232,000 from Saulsbury Hill Financial to avoid bond funds. 

“KyotoUSA will donate approximately $8,000 to the district to bridge that difference,” said Kelly. “The district will be assured that it will be able to go forward with the Washington solar project without it affecting any other projects that are currently scheduled.” 


Collective bargaining 

The board will vote on whether to approve the collective bargaining agreement for 2006-07 with the Berkeley Council of Classified Employees (BCCE), which covers district secretaries, clerks and instructional assistants and includes an increase of 4.7 percent in salary and benefits. The board will also vote on whether to approve the compensation and salary increase for employees not represented by a union or under a bargaining agreement. 


Surplus committee 

The board will vote on whether to approve recommendations for five additional members for the district Surplus Facilities Committee. 

Current properties that are under consideration for being sold are located at Sixth and Addison streets and Milvia and Bancroft. 

The district pays the City of Berkeley $1 annually for using the Old City Hall in exchange for the city using the property at Sixth and Addison. This 20-year agreement is set to end in 2009. 

The board will also direct the committee to look at surplusing the Berkeley High tennis courts which could serve as a possible relocation for the warm water pool. 


B-Tech summer school program 

Traditionally, B-Tech students are assigned to Berkeley High School for summer school. This year, B-Tech principal Victor Diaz has worked with the B-Tech faculty to design a summer program to meet the needs of their students. The six-week- long program at B-Tech (June 20-July 27) is aimed at students not making satisfactory progress toward high school graduation. 

The mayor’s office will provide paid internships during the afternoon to up to 15 B-Tech students enrolled in the program. Tutors from UC Berkeley’s Cal Corps will also help the students during their morning classes.