By Chris BLUME
Privacy rights for users of school technology was one subject tackled at the Nov. 17 meeting of the Glendale Unified School District board of education.
After hearing from the public, discussion turned to a new board policy concerning employee use of technology provided by the district. Among the items discussed was employee privacy when using district computers. The short answer offered was that there is none. It was explained that the district need not inform an employee if their computer use was being monitored for purposes of an investigation.
Also discussed was the long range forecast of the budget and the options before the board for extending funds. Of note is that the state budget is off by seven billion dollars and cuts can be expected across the board including education. The district has already taken measures to shore up the budget, including increasing class size for K-third grade. Options for the future include reducing summer school, reducing staff at Clark Magnet and other schools, salary reductions, early retirement and shortening the school year.
Board members provided clarification concerning the CLAD (Cross-Cultural Language & Academic Development) requirements for teachers. Teachers are not required to take the CLAD classes; they are only required to take the qualifying exams. Classes are only mandatory if a teacher is interested in earning university credit. Teachers have until June 30, 2011 to get their certification. Any teacher who does not get his/her certification by then would be relegated to other positions, such as substitute teaching. While GUSD has not yet had to lay off teachers for budgetary reasons other districts in the area have. When GUSD is forced to make layoffs, it is not just a teacher’s seniority that is taken into account, but also their certifications such as CLAD. GTA President Tami Carlson told the board that the CLAD certification is very technical and theory based. She talked about an alternative state recognized certification called SDAIE – Specially designed academic instruction in English – which is more hands-on and easier for the teachers to learn. She proposed that these classes be offered to the teachers, and that SDAIE be an alternative to CLAD. The board promised to look into this alternative.
Also at the meeting was State Senator Carol Liu who discussed state budget cuts and assured the board that education was important to the state legislature.