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Vote of Confidence for Fresno Schools Chief Comes with a Pay Raise

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The Fresno Unified School Board gave Superintendent Bob Nelson its seal of approval Wednesday night with a 7-0 vote on a positive job evaluation that gives him a pay hike.

Nancy Price

School Zone

The board vote was taken in the closed session prior to the public meeting held online. Board clerk Keshia Thomas, who announced the vote, said that Nelson’s pay raise is “equal to the increase in the California Consumer Price Index as determined in the Department of Industrial Relations.”

It was not immediately clear the size of the pay raise, which Thomas said will be effective Feb. 1.

Later Thursday evening, district spokeswoman Amy Idsvoog told GV Wire℠ that Nelson will receive a 1.5% CPI raise, which equals about $5,000 on top of his old salary of $336,437.76. His new salary will be $341,484.33, she said.

Nelson effusively thanked the trustees for their vote of confidence. “We don’t do a lot of things unanimously, so that really matters,” he said. “So bless you for making that a reality too. It’s an incredible honor to serve alongside you. It’s been a difficult year, so thank you for that.”

The “difficult year” was in reference to how Fresno Unified, like most school districts across the nation, has struggled to educate students via distance learning while schools are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In October 2019 the board also voted 7-0 on a positive evaluation for Nelson. His salary with benefits then totaled $375,200, Idsvoog said at the time.

A month later the board voted 7-0 for a pay hike that included a 3% increase in accordance with the California Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers and a 7.5% career increment provided to all eligible district management employees.

Sierra Board to Review Trustee’s Capitol Riot Role

The Sierra Unified School District board is holding a special meeting on Feb. 1 that board chairwoman Connie Schlaefer said in a text message to GV Wire℠ is for “Board review and response regarding Trustee Hoak.”

The meeting agenda was not yet posted online Thursday.

For more than two hours at the Jan. 11 board meeting, the trustees heard from many people who called for James Hoak Jr. to give up his seat or be removed because he was part of the pro-Trump crowd of protesters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Hoak, who livestreamed during the ensuing riot, said he did not enter the Capitol but acknowledged he did climb a ladder on the outside to get a look inside for his “viewers.”

A change.org petition to remove Hoak, who won election to his first term on the board in November, had collected more than 9,300 signatures as of Thursday morning.

But Hoak, who was in Washington protesting the election of President Joe Biden, said during the Jan. 11 board meeting that he’s not resigning his seat “because elections matter.”

Student Nurses Overcome COVID Barriers to Graduate

It took a little longer than they might have expected, but 19 Fresno Adult School students will graduate Friday, marking a milestone in their path to becoming licensed vocational nurses.

They had to adapt to restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic that kept them from getting clinical patient experience. The students, who started in August 2019, were originally supposed to graduate by September 2020. They will still need to pass a state exam to receive their LVN license.

Superintendent Bob Nelson notes that their graduation comes at a particularly important time, since the need for health care workers — which is always an issue for the Valley — is even more critical due to the pandemic.

“We are very proud of the time and dedication these students have put into their studies, and the adjustments they had to make because of the pandemic,” said Nelson, who will be a guest speaker at the 2 p.m. Friday virtual graduation. “They are now on their way to meeting their goal of becoming LVNs at a time when health professionals are very much needed.”

If you want to watch the ceremony, here’s the link: http://bit.ly/LVNGrad29

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