Staff to be reduced at Vantage Point Charter
The Penn Valley Union Elementary School District board of trustees has unanimously voted to reduce the amount of certificated full-time equivalent staff at Vantage Point Charter School, due to a decrease in enrollment the school has experienced the beginning of this year.
“The Vantage Point contract, along with the education code, says we get funded quarterly and it’s based on last quarter,” District Superintendent Angela Haick said Tuesday.
“So one of the predicaments we are in is we’re going to have to pay back for the fall quarter because we should have started that program with lower staffing at the beginning of this year.”
According to Haick, as of May 30, 2014, Vantage Point had 67 students enrolled, 16 of them being graduating seniors, which brought enrollment by the end of the school year to 55. Haick said the district then should have compensated for that loss in enrollment with more students, or a reduction in staff hours.
“We should have started the year at 2.2 or 2.4 (full-time equivalent)” Haick said.
“We are at the point where, based on the staffing ratios, we should be staffing at two full-time teachers, and a 20 percent teacher. We know that there is fluctuation so we are requesting the staff at 2.4 teachers to adjust for some of that staffing coming up in the next quarter.”
The reduction in staff hours, though, falls solely on one teacher at the school, Jessica Boucher, who spoke at this week’s board meeting to plea for the board not to accept the requested reduction. Boucher pointed out that the 13 students she is servicing this year are more than she has started with compared to years past, and that throughout the years student enrollment at the school has consistently gone up as the school year continues.
“There’s a few points I’d like to make that aren’t reflective of numbers,” Boucher said. “If my hours get reduced, they’re are going to be days when I can no longer come in, and that’s going to be disruptive not only to the school but to our students. Generally it would make being a teacher for the students very difficult.”
As an independent study K-12 charter school located on the Ready Springs Elementary School campus, Vantage Point has given students in the county an alternative form of education for 25 years.
Teacher Maggie Montre said that the school on average has 70-75 students enrolled throughout the year, and that last year the school graduated 23 students, the second biggest graduating class the school has ever had.
“Jessica teaches Japanese and has a credential to teach it, so we had to call a student today to let them know we won’t be offering the class until possibly next semester,” Montre said.
“Since she can’t work full time, other teachers have to take in some of her kids to make up for it, and students really do get attached to their teachers so it’s just devastating for them.”
At Tuesday’s board meeting, Boucher pointed out that having an inconsistent salary base is not ideal for any employee of the district.
“It’s not so much about the money, but the stability,” Boucher said.
“So if my pay is changing from full time to 40 percent to 80 percent to 60 percent, and fluctuating around every quarter, it no longer becomes practical for me to keep this job.”
Haick, though, said that the reduction is a semantics issue and that the district needed to make the change or be in a financial hole.
“It didn’t happen this first quarter, but an adjustment has to be made so we can address the current enrollment,” Haick said.
To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4236.
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