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County office of education hiring variety of positions

Auburn Union might use funds for English learners, superintendent says
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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With many schools and districts facing tough financial times and the loss of programs and staff, the Placer County Office of Education is filling some positions in local education. The office is hiring three full-time Professional Learning Community and Response to Intervention coaches. The office is also hiring a full-time ROP program manager — transition partnership position. PCOE is also hoping to hire several part-time sign language interpreters/transliterators as well as a teacher in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program. Renee Regacho-Anaclerio, associate superintendent of educational services, said every county in the state received additional one-time Title I money through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, based on poverty counts. “So, we kind of have a bubble of funding that has been working its way through the system,” she said. Regacho-Anaclerio said the state of California measures portions of the population struggling to meet minimum standards, particularly in reading and math, and the county has to work to provide intervention to see that those children are more successful. The district is using its Title I funding to pay for the PLC and RtI coaches. These coaches would be teachers and administrators on-loan from the districts in the county for a year. The employees would receive training on improving instruction for at-risk students. They would work with districts throughout the year and then go back to their original districts with their new knowledge, Regacho-Anaclerio said. “Yes, they are new positions, but they are short-term and they are almost like a redistribution of the dollars we have to benefit our districts,” she said. Jeff Tooker, assistant superintendent for educational services at Placer Union High School District, said he thinks the coach positions are a good idea. “I think training is important, and I appreciate the county wanting to provide support for the member school districts,” Tooker said. “And a position like this, it’s not precedent-setting. There have been some others in the past, and if an employee, if a teacher, has an opportunity for professional growth that could help their own colleagues, their own school, then I support it.” Both Tooker and Michele Schuetz, superintendent of the Auburn Union School District, said if employees from their districts were hired for these short-term positions, their original positions would be temporarily filled until they came back. “It’s almost like a sabbatical opportunity — that same idea,” Tooker said. Tooker said when the high school district received its Title I funding, it used it for intervention support-type classes for reading and math, but he doesn’t know how the district would use the funds now because it doesn’t have the opportunity. Schuetz said she also thinks the coaches are a good idea because each of the individual districts don’t have the means of hiring and training their own coaches. “Each of the districts can’t at this time afford to get coaches, and so by having the county bring in coaches, these coaches are going to be well-trained … and so they will be able to come in and support the school sites in whatever way they need,” Schuetz said. Schuetz said the district’s Title I funds went to Rock Creek, Auburn Union’s Title I school. If Auburn Union had the same amount of funds being used to pay for the county’s coach positions, it might spend it on helping English learners get more of the language by possibly having teachers split up into smaller groups with students, Schuetz said. Regacho-Anaclerio said the ROP program manager-transition partnership position is being paid for with new grant money, which allows this position to receiving training in skills for special education to be able to place students in the workforce. The sign language interpreter positions are replacing employees who have retired, Regacho-Anaclerio said. The money for the coach positions has to be spent soon to be spent at all, Regacho-Anaclerio said. “I can tell you on the Title I position … if that money isn’t spent this year, it goes back to the state, the Department of Education,” she said. “It’s money that would be lost. I think we are a little unique in Placer County in that we are not required to make decisions about how those dollars are spent collaboratively.” Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com ----------------------------------------------------- Salaries and health benefits of PCOE positions • Professional Learning Community and Response to Intervention coaches (three positions): annual salary: $64,800 to $91,250; health benefits: $9,000 • ROP program manager-transition partnership (one position): annual salary: $61,900 to $69,600; health benefits: $9,000 • Sign language interpreters/transliterators (three positions) and Deaf and Hard of Hearing teacher (one position): annual salary: $25,000 to $30,460; health benefits: $9,000 or annual salary: $28,000 to $34,000; health benefits: $9,000 ------------------------------------------------------ James Anderberg, executive director of administrative services for the Placer County Office of Education took the time to get some more answers to questions about new PCOE positions. 1. When an employee is hired for the PLC/Rtl Coach position, what happens to the salary they were already making with the district they were working in? Do they make the new salary on top of their original one? The Coach will no longer be paid by their district. They will be "on leave" from their district. That allows them to return to their district. 2. Would the district that teacher or administrator came from hire a replacement while the employee is working for PCOE? The decision whether to hire any replacement would be up to the district. We anticipate that in most cases the district would replace the position. 3. What is the application process like for this position? It was the same process used for other positions that are both open and promotional. Written applications were accepted and screened, and the top candidates were offered an interview. 4. If PCOE plans to hire from a district within the county, why was the ad placed in the Sacramento Bee? There were several positions included in the advertisement including hard to fill positions that out-of-county candidates were expected to be competitive. 5. How many sign language interpreters does PCOE already have and are they all being replaced by the new interpreters? PCOE presently has 14 sign language interpreter/transliterators and are seeking to fill three vacancies. Replace PCOE valued employees? No. 6. Could the Title I money be used for anything else besides the PLC/Rtl positions? Could it go into the classrooms in any form or into extracurricular activities? Title I money is used to support students who struggle academically and to provide training to teachers and administrators in order to improve instruction, and thus achievement results for these students. PCOE’s Title I funds cannot be given to school districts to spend (Districts are funded separately.) PCOE spends the largest portion of its Title I funding to directly support students with academic support. We serve students in our Alternative Education programs and foster, homeless and at-risk children across the county. The coaching positions will directly impact the ability of Placer County schools to provide effective intervention programs for their low achieving students. By building a school's capacity to do this work effectively, we expand the benefit of these dollars. Title I cannot be used for extracurricular activities. 7. How many special education staff does PCOE have and how many students? PCOE has 213 FTE working in special education and currently serving 462 students.