April 2019 Vol. 25, 4
Record number of board members advocate for education on Legislative Action Day
Record number of board members advocate for education on Legislative Action Day
More than 260 board members and superintendents representing more than 150 school districts and county offices of education across California met at the Capitol on March 12 to advocate for the state’s K-12 public schools and its more than 6 million students — with Full and Fair Funding a central theme.
Opening Legislative Action Day, CSBA President Emma Turner stressed the call for schools to receive more state funding to improve and expand programs, serve all students, and close opportunity and achievement gaps. “Full and Fair Funding is a long and hard road, but we are going to fight for it,” she said. “We’re persistent. We don’t give up.”
  • Visit www.csba.org/Newsroom for links to digital versions of current and past issues of California School News.
AB 2826 changes to interdistrict transfers: What you need to know
Wide-ranging changes took effect on Jan. 1, 2019, regarding the law governing the procedures for student transfers from one school district to another – known as “interdistrict transfers.”

Some of the changes made by Assembly Bill 2826 simply streamline and/or clarify existing requirements, but others are new and quite significant. Below are details of some, but not all, of the major changes.

Significant changes

Perhaps the most significant changes of AB 2826 are those related to the new requirement that school districts post their interdistrict transfer procedures, timelines and a link to related board policies on their websites. Foremost among these is the clarification of the timelines by which a school district must respond to interdistrict transfer requests. The bill specifies that for any request received 15 or fewer calendar days before the start of instruction in the school year for which the transfer is sought — the “current year” interdistrict transfer request — the district must notify parents of its final decision within 30 calendar days of receiving the request.

Senior Director of Communications:
Troy Flint | tflint@csba.org

Managing Editor:
Kimberly Sellery | ksellery@csba.org

Marketing Director:

Serina Pruitt | spruitt@csba.org

Staff Writers and Contributors:
Hugh Biggar | hbiggar@csba.org
Aaron Davis | adavis@csba.org
Bode Owoyele | bowoyele@csba.org
Andrew Cummins | acummins@csba.org

Graphic Design Manager:
Kerry Macklin | kmacklin@csba.org

Emma Turner | La Mesa-Spring Valley SD

Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez | Azusa USD

Vice President:
Tamara Otero | Cajon Valley Union USD

Immediate Past President:
Mike Walsh | Butte COE

CEO & Executive Director:
Vernon M. Billy

The California School Boards Association is the essential voice for public education. We inspire our members to be knowledgeable leaders, extraordinary governance practitioners and ardent advocates for all students.
California School News (ISSN 1091-1715) is published 11 times per year by the California School Boards Association, Inc., 3251 Beacon Blvd., West Sacramento, CA 95691. 916-371-4691. $4 of CSBA annual membership dues is for the subscription to California School News. The subscription rate for each CSBA nonmember is $35. Periodicals postage paid at West Sacramento, CA and at additional mailing office. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to California School News, 3251 Beacon Blvd., West Sacramento, CA 95691.

News and feature items submitted for publication are edited for style and space as necessary.

President’s Message: Emma Turner
Emma Turner
Opportunity knocks for school funding 

The funding challenges facing California public schools are many and varied, and so are the ways in which CSBA is addressing them. By now, you’re aware of CSBA’s initiative to secure Full and Fair Funding for K-12 public schools by raising per-pupil funding to the national average by 2020 and to the average of the top 10 states by 2025. This transformative effort would restore school funding to the levels of California’s Golden Era, when this state’s schools were considered among America’s best. It’s a major undertaking, but just one of several that could measurably improve school district finances in 2019 and beyond.

On March 12, a record-setting group of more than 250 board members from across the state descended on the Capitol for CSBA’s Legislative Action Day. The attendees were in Sacramento to advance CSBA’s legislative agenda, an ambitious slate of bills that would provide schools with financial relief and additional resources:


Charter school transparency bill signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom

In a decision that validated years of CSBA advocacy on the issue of charter school transparency, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 126 (Leyva and O’Donnell) into law on March 5.

The CSBA-supported legislation echoes many of the recommendations found in CSBA’s Charter School Task Force report, Uncharted Waters: Recommendations for Prioritizing Student Achievement and Effective Governance in California’s Charter Schools. The report is available online at www.csba.org/unchartedwaters.

Nominations open for 2020 CSBA Officers

President-elect and Vice President nominations accepted through June 3

The CSBA Nominating Committee encourages CSBA members to participate in this year’s election process for the offices of CSBA Vice President and President-elect.
The 2019 criteria used to evaluate potential officer candidates is as follows:
A CSBA leader:

  • Communicates effectively on behalf of public education and, as the face of CSBA, advocates CSBA’s vision, mission and governance structure.
  • Demonstrates knowledge of education finance, budget and accountability issues on a statewide basis.
  • Understands, articulates and influences the Legislature’s impact on public education.
  • Demonstrates advocacy for and knowledge of the diverse needs of all students throughout the state.
Lessons shared as spotlight shines on school disaster preparedness and recovery
A thorough chain of command, well-prepared emergency plans, and strong relations with both local and state emergency officials are critical for school districts to have in place before a disaster strikes. And when a disaster does strike, it is paramount to document and keep as many records as possible — despite being in a chaotic, fluid and often devastating situation.
These lessons learned were shared March 6 by Sonoma County officials who led districts and school communities through the area’s deadly October 2017 wildfires

These lessons learned were shared March 6 by Sonoma County officials who led districts and school communities through the area’s deadly October 2017 wildfires. They spoke at a California Department of Education event, the first in a series of workshops focused on how district and school leaders can better prepare for and respond to natural disasters. CDE staff and representatives from the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services were also featured panelists.

State Board explores System of Support’s impact at the local level

Despite the California State Board of Education’s recent focus on System of Support implementation, some State Board members have voiced concerns about whether the new approach is reaching all districts and schools with demonstrated need. The system aims to assist local educational agencies and schools by promoting partnerships, building capacity and focusing on continuous improvement rather than turning to punishment and mandates.

Officials from the California Department of Education, California Collaborative for Educational Excellence and lead agencies have likewise understood that the new system needs exploration and explanation by way of workshops, trainings, webinars and other events.

To that end, the State Board’s March 13-14 meeting featured a presentation from the San Diego County Office of Education about how it is working with districts through the System of Support. Alongside Riverside, the San Diego COE is a geographic lead agency for its region charged with building the capacity of other county offices to aid districts.

GovernanceCorner Practical tips from our MIG faculty
Staff recognition goes a long way toward a healthy culture
The recognition of teachers and staff is one way that governing boards can set the tone and contribute to a culture of support for their district or county office of education. An intentional recognition practice demonstrates that the board values all efforts that contribute to increased student achievement.
Consider these questions as you reflect on the current practice of recognition:
  • How does our recognition practice align with the district’s or the COE’s culture of support?
  • What adjustments could be made to the current practice that would enhance the culture of support?
  • What are ways to engage parents and other community partners as we recognize teachers and staff?

Discussing the following questions can help governance teams build a recognition practice that celebrates the growth in student achievement across the district or the COE:

  • Do the board protocols support an ongoing practice to recognize teachers and staff? If not, what adjustments could be made to support an ongoing practice?
  • What is it that we will celebrate? What are the accomplishments and efforts we want to recognize?
  • Are we able to articulate the connection between what we celebrate and how those recognized efforts contribute to student achievement in our district or to our county office?
  • Are there recognition opportunities that are absent from the governance calendar? If so, what can be built in? To review a sample governance calendar, visit www.csba.org.
  • How do factors like the time of the year, available resources and potential community involvement influence how recognition opportunities are organized and calendared?

Revisiting and strengthening recognition practices will demonstrate to teachers, staff, students and parents that your district and COE are committed to student learning and student achievement. CSBA’s Masters in Governance classes equip board members to support an effective governance structure. Course 2 focuses on Student Learning and Achievement. Visit www.csba.org to learn more.

Suicide prevention: A heightened focus
Recent changes in state law, as well as increased awareness about the importance of mental health to student well-being, achievement levels and school safety, have heightened suicide prevention and response as priorities for school districts and community members. While May marks Mental Health Awareness Month, suicide prevention and the core mental health concerns of students require year-round attention.

Districts serving students in grades 7-12 are required to adopt a policy on student suicide prevention, intervention and postvention that specifically addresses the needs of high-risk groups. Legislation signed into law in 2018 creates additional requirements for districts. Assembly Bill 2639 requires governing boards to review and update the district’s suicide prevention policy at least every five years. For districts that issue or reissue student identification cards, Senate Bill 972 requires the printing on either side of the card the telephone number of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Districts may also include the Crisis Text Line and/or local suicide prevention hotline number on student identification cards.

Pursuant to AB 1808, the California Department of Education will be identifying evidence-based online training programs that districts can access for training purposes regarding suicide awareness and prevention. Districts are encouraged to review CSBA’s sample board policy and administrative regulation BP/AR 5141.52 – Suicide Prevention, issued in December 2018, to incorporate the legislation described above when updating their suicide prevention policy.

school climate
Report finds police officers outnumber health staff in schools
A new report finds that more than 400,000 K-12 students in California attend a school that has a police officer on site but not a school counselor — reflecting critical gaps in staff essential to student health and well-being.
Based on analysis of newly available federal data, the report from the American Civil Liberties Union found that police officers outnumber nurses, social workers, psychologists and nurses at school sites by wide margins. Nationwide, there are 1.7 million students attending schools with police officers but no counselors. In another example, there are three million students in schools with police patrolling the halls but no nurses. Driven by fears of high-profile but rare school shootings, nearly half of public schools nationally have law enforcement on campus, up from about 1 percent 40 years ago.

California has matched these trends or outpaced them. The state’s student-to-counselor ratio is 682-1, compared to the recommended 250-1, and is among the highest counselor caseloads nationally. California also has more school security guards than nurses and averages about one nurse for every 2,370 students. Meanwhile, the need for student health support staff is increasing, with students reporting high levels of depression, trauma and other mental health issues.

school climate
Data illustrate need for greater focus on California’s homeless students
In the 2016-17 school year, 4.2 percent of California’s public school students were identified as homeless, according to a new report from Education Leads Home. The state’s homeless student population that year of 262,935 marks a 4.16 percent increase from the 2012-13 school year. Researchers and advocates say the facts reinforce the need for state-level policymakers, district officials and board members to allocate additional resources toward the issue and to address root causes.

Meanwhile, the Joint Committee on Legislative Audit on March 6 approved an audit of districts to verify they are accurately reporting the number of students experiencing homelessness. Officials said a quarter of schools are reporting to the state that they have no such students. The audit will also study barriers schools face in identifying students experiencing homelessness, why students may be going unreported, and best practices to identify and provide services to them.

county boards
County Perspective
An overview of county boards of education
by Rick Shea, Vice President CCBE, Trustee, San Diego COE

County boards of education are the elected governing boards of county offices of education. The boards operate under the authority of the California Constitution, the Legislature, California Education Code and the State Board of Education.

The San Diego County Office of Education is one of only five in California that recruit, hire and supervise its county superintendent. The other 53 elect their county superintendent. San Diego COE serves as landlord and owner of property; and acts as an appeal board for student expulsions, inter-district transfers and charter school petitions. While serving as the appellate body, San Diego COE is an integral part of ensuring the voices of parents, community members and students are heard. With expulsion hearings, county boards review district hearing transcripts to assure the expelling board’s decision followed legal requirements. Similarly, we evaluate the needs of the student in interdistrict transfers. If the board finds discrepancies, it then informs the district and works with it to assure future compliance.

county boards
On advocacy and making an impact
by Heidi Weiland, Board Member, El Dorado COE
According to Merriam-Webster, “advocacy is the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal; the act or process of advocating.”

When preparing for this article, I reached out to a handful of county board members across the state to ask about federal funding for their counties; their advocacy awareness and relationships with other elected officials; and whether they thought their interactions had an impact. The answers regarding relationships and advocacy ranged from frequent interactions to those only through the California School Boards Association/California County Boards of Education. Those who had the most frequent interactions also had the most confidence that their advocacy efforts made an impact.

Why is it so important that you advocate? As county board members, one of our most important roles is that of advocating for our students and families, and public education. And, as elected officials, we are uniquely poised to build relationships and alliances with, and have tremendous influence with, other elected officials.

UpcomingEvents info: 800-266-3382
Register for any of these events at www.csba.org/TrainingAndEvents.
April 12-13 | Rancho Cucamonga
Masters in Governance Courses 3 and 4
April 13 | Eureka
Masters in Governance Course 5
May 4 | Rancho Cucamonga
Masters in Governance Course 5
May 10 | Sacramento
California Council of School Attorneys Spring Workshop
May 10 | Santa Barbara
Masters in Governance Course 1
May 11 | Santa Barbara
Masters in Governance Course 2
Thanks for reading our April 2019 newsletter!