April 2020 Vol. 26, 4
classroom with chairs stored on table
COVID-19 closes nearly every California school
As of March 18, an estimated 939 out of 1,035 local educational agencies in California had either closed or were in the process of doing so due to coronavirus (COVID-19), affecting more than 99 percent of the state’s 6.2 million public school students. In a press conference on April 1, Gov. Gavin Newsom said that that, while not a directive, state officials are advising LEAs to proceed as though students will not be returning to campus this school year, offering sought-after clarity and direction for decisions to close schools while still respecting local control. All districts should be planning for and implementing online learning with this longer time frame in mind, if they have not done so already.

On March 17, the California Department of Education released extensive guidance for schools that have closed due to COVID-19. In a webinar, CDE representatives said that the CDE would send updates every Friday and update the guidance as needed. The guidance is divided into three sections: distance learning, school meals, and child care and student supervision, and can be found on the CDE website at www.cde.ca.gov/ls/he/hn/guidance.asp.

CSBA will be keeping members up to date through individual eblasts when pertinent information becomes available, our weekly update email, a daily education news roundup email and through a dedicated page online at www.csba.org/coronavirus.

  • Visit www.csba.org/Newsroom for links to digital versions of current and past issues of California School News.
Non-agenda items: What boards can do within 72 hours of a regular meeting
What boards can do within 72 hours of a regular meeting
Under Government Code section 54954.2, the agenda for a regular school board meeting must be posted at least 72 hours prior to the meeting in a location that is freely accessible to the public and on the district’s website, if the district has a website. The agenda must contain a brief general description of each item of business to be transacted or discussed at the meeting. The description must be sufficient to give the public notice of the items to be discussed or acted upon, but generally does not need to exceed 20 words. These requirements help to ensure the public’s business is conducted openly. As a general rule, under Government Code section 54954.2, a governing board may not discuss any item that does not appear on the agenda posted for a regular meeting.

Government Code section 54954.2, subdivision (a)(3), allows board members or staff to briefly address items that are not on the agenda, but these limited exceptions do not allow the board to fully discuss and/or act upon a matter. These limited exceptions are as follows:

  • Members of the board or staff may briefly respond to statements made or questions posed during public comments.
  • The board may ask staff members to report back to the board on a matter and to place the matter on the agenda for a future board meeting.
California School News logo

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:
Andrew Cummins | acummins@csba.org
Alisha Kirby | akirby@csba.org
Aaron Davis | adavis@csba.org
Mike Ambrose | mambrose@csba.org
Briana Mullen | bmullen@csba.org

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

Senior Graphic Designer:
Mauricio Miranda | mmiranda@csba.org

Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez | Azusa USD

Suzanne Kitchens | Pleasant Valley SD

Vice President:
Susan Heredia | Natomas USD

Immediate Past President:
Emma Turner | La Mesa-Spring Valley SD

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: Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez
Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez headshot
Facing our greatest challenge together

I am writing this message in a time of great uncertainty, not just for public education, but for our everyday lives as we face the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. I want to commend my fellow trustees — as well as administrators, teachers and classified staff — across California for working tirelessly as we strive to educate and serve the state’s 6.2 million students amid unprecedented school closures. The challenges of the moment and those that lie ahead are tremendous, but by working together, we can meet them head on.

Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order for the entire state of California on March 19, urging residents to shelter in place, avoid nonessential errands and practice social distancing. However, we know that the critical functions of education must go on. Since the onset of coronavirus concerns and even before schools halted in-person instruction, CSBA has been working hard to keep you informed of the latest updates from both state and federal authorities. In addition, we have compiled a comprehensive set of resources (which are being updated as necessary) for California schools grappling with the impact of COVID-19. I hope school communities, students, families and staff find it useful and provide feedback to staff. These resources cover areas including remote and distance learning, student health and well-being, serving students with disabilities and special needs, multilingual education, support for parents and families, meals and nutrition services, and pressing legal issues.

State, local bond measures see newfound struggles in primary election
The March 3 primary election delivered disappointing results as California districts work to provide students with healthy, safe and modern schools and classrooms.
man voting at the polls
The campaign for Proposition 13 — the largest school facilities bond measure in state history at $15 billion — conceded defeat on March 11 with only 46 percent support statewide. Following suit, a majority of local school district bond measures and parcel taxes also appear to have fallen short at the ballot box.

CSBA endorsed Proposition 13 and actively campaigned for its passage alongside other statewide education organizations and advocacy groups, legislators and state officials, including Gov. Gavin Newsom. CSBA staff members and area school board members visited schools with Gov. Newsom in both Northern and Southern California in the final days leading up to the election.


GovernanceCorner Practical tips from our MIG faculty

How a governance leadership calendar can help your board
As a district or county office of education board trustee, there are many dates and deadlines for the board to remember. Fortunately, there is an organizational tool that can be used to meet these deadlines and other obligations: a governance leadership calendar.

A governance calendar provides a framework for the board to keep track of the key responsibilities in the priority areas of the local educational agency. The tool documents critical timelines and allows staff and the board to accurately calendar and prepare for study sessions, progress reports and board action on important topics in a timely manner.

When reviewing this calendar, some of the critical questions to reflect on are:

  1. How are we currently using our governance leadership calendar? What are ways we could use it more effectively?
  2. How comprehensive is our calendar? In addition to tracking calendar items such as finance, facilities and collective bargaining, do we use it to track items related to student learning and achievement?
Legislative update: CSBA adopts new bill positions as Legislature stands in unprecedented recess
California Republic Flag
A historic event befell the California Legislature on the evening of March 16, as both the Senate and Assembly voted unanimously to recess the 2020 legislative year until April 13, in the effort to combat the rampant spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19). It is believed to be the first unplanned work stoppage for the Legislature in more than 150 years.

Before adjourning, the Legislature passed a bill package allocating more than $1 billion for the statewide fight against COVID-19, including Senate Bill 117, which appropriates $100 million for California’s schools to combat the spread of the virus and enacts other protections for schools amid their statewide closures. The passage of SB 117, which you can read more about in this newsletter’s cover story, preceded by less than 24 hours Gov. Gavin Newsom’s devastating yet unsurprising prediction that California’s schools are unlikely to reopen before the summer break.

state board
Dashboard items on growth model, ELPI stir strong State Board debates

A regular annual update to the State Board of Education at its March 11–12 meeting about the California School Dashboard raised serious questions and concerns from board members about several proposals.

While only an information item, the board informed California Department of Education staff that much more clarity and direction must be provided about the proposed inclusion of a student growth model on the 2020 Dashboard. California is one of only two states that does not measure school performance based on the growth of individual students’ scores on standardized tests over time. A push from many organizations and researchers led the CDE to study growth models over the last year, with CSBA participating in a stakeholder work group.

As the CDE moves forward, State Board member Sue Burr said the state must be “crystal clear” with parents and local educational agencies about what, exactly, the growth model data is conveying about students. For example, she said the model may not necessarily provide valid insights into whether students are prepared to do work at grade level when they cross from elementary school to middle school and middle school to high school.

California Lottery owes millions to public schools, audit finds
The California State Lottery owes public schools $36 million, according to a recent state audit.
In 1984, the state lottery was created by the Lottery Act, which was approved by voters to supplement funding for public education in California through the sale of lottery tickets. In 2010, the Legislature amended the Lottery Act to set its prize payout amounts so that the maximum amount goes to public schools instead of the strict percentage (at least 34 percent) that was in place beforehand. The amended act also included the provision that the lottery was to increase its contribution to public education in proportion to increases in sales. It is important to note that lottery funds — even when paid in full — account for only about 1 percent of the state’s annual budget for schools.
Lottery not meeting its financial obligation to schools
The audit states that, since 2010, there have been questions as to whether the lottery has maximized the revenue it gives to education. The February report found that the lottery did not meet its obligations for fiscal year 2017–18 and owes $36 million to education funding due to its failure to provide “up to date analysis of the optimal balance between prize payouts and education funding.” Meaning, the lottery does not know if the prizes it offers result in maximum funding for education.
Nominations open for 2021 CSBA officers
President-elect and vice president nominations accepted through Monday, June 1
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 2020 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.
  • Engages and strengthens the power and voices of local governance teams.
  • Demonstrates high standards of ethics and integrity.
  • Leads successfully in the face of change and challenges.
  • Possesses strong leadership skills, including the ability to collaborate, motivate and inspire.
Board members share what they’ve learned in final meeting of CSBA Equity Network
Closing persistent opportunity gaps requires a commitment to educational equity.
In summer 2018, CSBA launched an Equity Network with a grant from the Stuart Foundation, providing extensive support and professional development to board members across California on concepts related to educational equity. Topics addressed included implicit bias, cultural proficiency, the history of public education and the role of education leadership in disrupting a system of inequity.

The second cohort of network participants met at CSBA’s offices in West Sacramento for the final time March 6–7 to discuss the status of their districts’ equity action plans, review what they’ve learned so far and further analyze how they can continue working toward creating equitable opportunities for all students.

CSBA spoke to a handful of participants to discuss what they’ve learned through the Equity Network and their district plans moving forward.

The continuum of teacher development and National Board Certification
Teacher and students sitting at classroom table
As California’s attention has been focused on filling positions to address an unprecedented teacher shortage in the last few years, far less attention has been paid to deepening the expertise and skill set of those teachers already in the classroom. One often overlooked and misunderstood professional learning opportunity is the National Board Certification program offered through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Certificated staff who become National Board Certified teachers by completing this rigorous, advanced certification process can provide valuable expertise and exemplary leadership for school sites. They can act as teacher leaders on school campuses through roles including team leaders, department chairs and instructional coaches.

county boards
Santa Clara COE initiative builds a culture of respect, beginning with introductions
Central to establishing a positive and supportive school climate is respect, and for the Santa Clara County Office of Education, respect goes by many different, unique names.
In partnership with the National Association for Bilingual Education, the Santa Clara COE is leading the national My Name, My Identity initiative. The goal is to bring awareness to the importance of respecting one’s name and identity in schools and build a respectful and caring culture that values diversity in school communities.

The initiative — which received a 2019 CSBA Golden Bell Award and the Apple for Excellence Award from California County Boards of Education — provides students, teachers and those in the community the opportunity to learn about other people’s cultures, history and identity by first learning the story behind students’ names.

Though pronouncing another person’s name properly may seem to be a small gesture, making that simple effort can have a major, positive impact on children.

UpcomingEvents info: 800-266-3382
ATTENTION: All in-person CSBA events are cancelled through April due to the coronavirus pandemic. For more information about events, visit www.csba.org/TrainingAndEvents.
Thanks for reading our April 2020 newsletter!