Board Of Education consider job eliminations, Horack replacement

MARTINEZ, Calif. – The Martinez Unified School District Board of Education will vote Monday whether to trim its Para professional staff by the equivalent of about 1.6 full time employees and a typist clerk by half of a full-time employee.

The cuts are being made as part of the District’s efforts to reduce its deficit spending.

The employees will be given at least 60 days’ notice before their jobs are eliminated.

The Board also is facing the latest fallout from its decision to switch from at-large to by-area elections.

Bobbi Horack who represents Area 5, is moving out of her area, the southernmost division of the District, although she is remaining in Martinez.

She was returned without opposition to the Board for her third term in 2018, and that term ends in 2022.

The Board may choose to find her successor through a special election, although District Superintendent C.J. Cammack said the District has not included that expense in its already-tight budget. Another option is to appoint a provisional Boardmember to complete the term.

The District changed its voting system after receiving a demand letter from Malibu attorney Kevin Shenkman that accused the District of violating the California Voting Rights Act by diluting the votes of minority residents, particularly Hispanics, and of exhibiting racist attitudes. The letter threatened legal action if the District didn’t halt at-large voting.

Shenkman sent the city of Martinez a similar letter.

Shenkman had not lost any challenge to his demands, and unsuccessful challenges either resulted in costly settlements or in even larger losses, with courts imposing by-district voting. So both the Board of Education and the City Council drew maps that divided their boundaries into separate voting areas.

Both panels vehemently denied Shenkman’s accusations, but adopted their new voting systems in 2018 under the 90-day protection period granted by California and in time to be effective in the Nov. 6, 2018 elections.

The District’s teachers’ labor representatives, the Martinez Education Association, has submitted its “Sunshine Proposal” with the District to reopen negotiations on class size, salaries and benefits and association rights.

Likewise, the District has submitted its own proposal to discuss salaries, employee benefits and class size as well as workdays.

The Board will look vote whether to adopt Elementary Education Specifications for campuses that have been in development since 2014 as the District looked toward modernizing its schools. The specifications were reviewed last October, and staff has recommended adopting these standards without modification.

In other action, the Board will accept public comment during a hearing to review a school Facility Needs Analysis by Jack Schreder and Associates and adopting alternative school facility fees so the District can comply with government codes.

The panel will hear a staff report on adding responsibilities to the position of director of Educational Services. Those responsibilities were the tasks of the coordinator of Educational Services, a position that has been eliminated because of budget cuts.

The Board will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the MUSD District Boardroom, 921 Susana St.

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