Fresno Unified opened negotiations with the teachers' union, marking the start of what could be a contentious few months between district leaders and the Fresno Teachers Association.
At Wednesday's school board meeting, district officials presented a preliminary proposal to the school trustees, who will discuss the proposal at a future meeting.
The district's proposal blindsided union officials, who hadn't been told negotiations would start Wednesday and hadn't seen the proposal, said FTA president Greg Gadams.
The union normally has the opportunity to review the district proposal before it is publicly released, Gadams said.
Trustee Larry Moore, who formerly led the FTA, said the proposal was a formality, and real negotiations would happen over the coming months.
The district's proposal for 2012-13 calls for making changes to teacher evaluations, workday hours, discipline policies and how teachers are assigned to schools.
Gadams said the FTA proposal wasn't finished, but he was concerned about protecting teachers from unfair evaluations, salary cuts and increased costs for health benefits.
In other action:
-- The board received an update on progress in the district's three "turnaround" schools, which were singled out as some of the lowest-performing in the country.
Carver Academy and Webster Elementary School saw their Academic-Performance Index scores jump by more than 100 points. Yosemite Middle School's scores dropped slightly.
District officials said the schools still have significant work to do academically but had been focused on improving school safety this year.
The three schools started the reform program in 2010, which included replacing administration and teachers and extending the school day by 30 minutes.
Teachers said the extra half-hour helped struggling students improve in reading and math.
-- Trustees approved hiring Michael Neece as chief academic officer, a top-level position that has been vacant since 2008.
Neece's duties will include planning academic programs, supervising and evaluating teachers, securing money for programs and monitoring spending. His annual salary is $195,000. The last chief academic officer earned $178,000.
Neece will get an additional $90,000 over his three-year contract for developing and implementing common core standards to better prepare students for college and the work force.
The Silver Giving Foundation of San Francisco is providing the grant.
Also on Wednesday, Jamilah Fraser was hired as chief information officer. She will be paid $138,000 a year.
Superintendent Michael Hanson said the district has "a better than average budget" and several job openings that made money available for the new hires.
Several high-ranking officials are leaving the district this year.
-- A group of Edison High School community members spoke during the meeting about the school's athletic program, which they said has suffered under Principal Brian Wall's leadership.
Parents and school volunteers called on Hanson and Trustee Cal Johnson, who represents the neighborhood, to intervene and rehire basketball coach Arturo Ormond, who Wall had fired about two years ago.
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