February 2020 Vol. 26, 2
orange tractor in front of state facilitie
March ballot offers chance to approve much-needed state facilities bond measure
On March 3, California voters will decide whether to approve the Public Preschool, K-12, and College Health and Safety Bond Act of 2020, or Proposition 13, which would provide $15 billion for school facilities — $9 billion of which would be available for preK-12 schools. CSBA is among a long list of statewide organizations that have advocated for and endorsed the bond measure.

Funds would be available for the renovation and upgrade of existing classrooms, for campuses that increase student and staff safety, for classrooms and laboratories that enhance teaching and learning, for the construction and expansion of schools to accommodate growth, and for career technical education facilities to improve job and career training. A growing body of research has found that school facilities have a great impact on both student outcomes and issues such as teacher recruitment and retention.

In 2016, voters approved Proposition 51, which allocated $9 billion to school facilities. However, all of that bond funding has already been allocated, with districts and county offices waiting for the approval of roughly $2 billion in new construction and $2.6 billion in modernization projects. Forty-six and 61 school districts, respectively, are awaiting Prop 51 funds on the unfunded list for either new construction or modernization, according to the Office of Public School Construction. In an EdSource webinar that CSBA participated in last summer, Murdoch, Walrath & Holmes Legislative Advocate and Elk Grove Unified School District board member Nancy Chaires Espinoza emphasized the ongoing and urgent need for facilities funding. “New applications are being submitted at an annual rate of $600 million for new construction and twice that for modernization,” she said. The money that districts receive from Proposition 98 and the Local Control Funding Formula does not provide dedicated funding for school facilities.

Public comment at board meetings: What board members need to know
As made clear by California’s Brown Act, public agencies, including school districts and county offices of education, “exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business . . . The people of this State do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them.” (Government Code section 54950.)
Board meetings must provide an opportunity for the public to address the board on items of public interest within the board’s jurisdiction. (Government Code section 54954.3.) For any item on the agenda, the public must have the opportunity to address the board prior to or during the board’s consideration of the item. At a regular meeting, the public is also permitted to comment on matters not on the agenda.

California law imposes important guidelines on how and when boards can regulate public comment. Boards are tasked with finding a balance between ensuring sufficient time for individual speakers and sufficient time for comment from the entire community present at the meeting, and to complete a meeting with a lengthy agenda within a reasonable period of time. Boards are also tasked with keeping order at the meetings, ensuring an orderly discussion and exchange of information, with the ability to remove speakers who disrupt a meeting, if necessary. These laws allow boards to create reasonable limitations on public comment, within the framework of protecting the public’s right to participate and allowing the flow of ideas and viewpoints for the board’s consideration.

Boards should set procedures for meeting conduct through their board policies, including the procedures for public comment. CSBA’s model Board Bylaw 9323 provides an important resource for boards in conducting meetings and regulating public comment.


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
Briana Mullen | bmullen@csba.org
Mike Ambrose | mambrose@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
Promoting student success through teacher recruitment, training and retention
Providing all students with a high-quality education is our greatest responsibility as school board members. In order to succeed in this work, we must prioritize teacher quality and invest both intellectually and financially in the recruitment, retention and development of an effective and diverse educator workforce for California’s preK-12 schools.

This is not just a moral ambition, it’s a practical measure to improve overall student outcomes and help close opportunity and achievement gaps that shortchange our students and undermine our communities. In that light, it’s not surprising that Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2020–21 budget proposal includes $900 million to address California’s teacher shortage. Like many of you, I would prefer increases to LCFF base funding, but, if the Governor is going to make targeted investments, educator preparedness is a good choice. Research repeatedly shows that teacher quality is the single greatest in-school factor related to student achievement. In fact, of all the issues affected by board policy, instruction is estimated to have two to three times the impact on math and reading outcomes than quality of services, facilities and even school leadership.

Students who have effective teachers are more likely to attend college and earn higher salaries. Research also shows additional value is offered by culturally competent, seasoned teachers who have experiences aligned with their students. A 2017 review of data from North Carolina and Tennessee found that for low-income African American males, having at least one African American teacher in elementary school reduced high school dropout rates by 39 percent. This was attributed to a number of factors including the role-model effect, and the likelihood that teachers with similar experiences or backgrounds as their students hold higher expectations, view their language and culture as assets and create a sense of belonging in the classroom.


GovernanceCorner Practical tips from our MIG faculty

How board handbooks play an integral role
The use of a governance handbook is a key step to building and maintaining a cohesive school district or county office of education governing board. It is a living document that memorializes the board’s working agreements and is a record of the board’s commitment to practicing effective governance.

The governance handbook should be reviewed biannually in a regular board meeting or scheduled for review at a special board workshop. It is particularly important for boards to introduce and review the handbook when new members are elected or appointed.

When conducting a review of the governance handbook, board members may consider discussing the following:

  • How effective are we in referencing the governance handbook throughout the year?
  • Is the current handbook an accurate reflection of our unity of purpose, protocols and/or working agreements? What recent updates have we made that need to be reflected in our governance handbook?
  • Do we need to revisit our unity of purpose, protocols and/or working agreements to reflect our current board and to be inclusive of newly seated board members?
March 15 layoff notices: What boards should know
As a member of a school board governance team, few situations are more sensitive than a district delivering March 15 layoff notices. It is essential for governing board members to be familiar with information about the March 15 notice, its implementation process and the strict legal requirements attached to the process.
The March 15 notice is a formal, written announcement from a school district to certificated employees — required by Education Code section 44949 — informing them that they may be released for the following school year beginning July 1. Districts must adhere to the notice, hearing and layoff procedures in Education Code 44949, 44955 and other applicable provisions of law. Boards may reduce the number of probationary and permanent certificated employees for either declining average daily attendance or a reduction or discontinuation of a particular kind of service, described further in CSBA’s Model Board Policy 4117.3. The law requires that no later than March 15, the district board must adopt a resolution stating that services are to be reduced and/or discontinued and that it is necessary to reduce the staff, specifying the extent of the reduction. The resolution must also direct the superintendent to provide written notice to the affected employees.

The notice must advise the employee that the superintendent has recommended to the board that the employee be notified that his or her services will not be required for the following year, the reasons for the recommendation and the employee’s right to request a hearing to determine whether there is cause for the action. An employee must be given at least seven days from March 15 to request a hearing. The notices must be delivered in person or sent via registered mail to the last known address of the employee. See Education Code section 44949 for further details concerning the content of the notice.

CSBA honors Atascadero USD trustee Donn Clickard with first Board Member of the Year Award
The inaugural Golden Gavel Award recognizes an individual school board member who exemplifies best practices in effective governance and boardsmanship.
Atascadero Unified School District trustee Donn Clickard is CSBA’s inaugural Board Member of the Year. Clickard has spent most of his life in service of children. He taught special education classes at Atascadero High School for 34 years, where he also served as athletic director. After his retirement in 2004, Clickard was elected to the Atascadero USD Board of Trustees, where he has now served the Central Coast community for 14 years.

Clickard is an outspoken and proud advocate for public education and Atascadero USD. He is also a champion of local control and believes in the importance of stakeholder and community engagement when it comes to providing direction for the district.

A beacon of hope in his community, Clickard knew he had to do something when parents from the district talked to him about the death of two former Atascadero students due to heroin overdoses. He is one of the founders of Lighthouse Atascadero, a nonprofit aimed at preventing substance abuse by youth in the community through awareness, prevention, intervention and education. Beginning with providing counselors at the district’s continuation high school, the Lighthouse project has grown to include a wellness center on the district’s main high school campus, a mentoring program, a student-run coffee company, after-school programs and resource centers in the community.

State, LEAs not doing enough to identify and support students experiencing homelessness
State, LEAs
California’s local educational agencies are not doing enough to identify youths experiencing homelessness, in turn limiting the opportunities to support these students, according to a recent report from the State Auditor. The report cites that many of these shortcomings stem from the California Department of Education’s inadequate oversight and management of the state’s homeless education program.

Included in the Legislature-ordered audit available at bit.ly/2RqkbYJ is an interactive graphic that allows users to see how many students each LEA reported as being homeless in academic year 2017–18 (the statewide identification rate was 6 percent).

Governance brief sheds light on NGSS K-5 instruction hurdles and solutions
It’s been nearly four years since the State Board of Education adopted the Science Framework for California Public Schools — based on the Next Generation Science Standards adopted in 2013 — which significantly overhauled science instruction in the state. The new framework goes beyond dictating what students should know and instead focuses on what students should be able to do with their understanding of science and engineering principles and practices.

This shift from simply learning and memorizing scientific concepts to engaging in sense-making practices to explain scientific phenomena also requires a shift in how teachers think about and approach science instruction.

“The new standards don’t just outline what students need to know, but also describe the types of scientific practices students should experience as they’re learning the content,” said CSBA Policy Analyst Mary Briggs. “Trustees can support ongoing professional learning opportunities to ensure teachers move from focusing primarily on the recall of facts to students also being able to explain their ideas and argue from evidence.”

Report highlights difficulties in aligning early ed with elementary school
two little girls playing with toys
Research shows that preK–3 alignment — coordinating preK–3 standards, curricula, instructional practices, assessments and professional development — can narrow achievement gaps by helping children sustain the gains they made in preschool, but many California districts say they are struggling to support alignment efforts.

Findings from a new Policy Analysis for California Education study presented at a Jan. 10 event in Sacramento show that one-third of 25 districts surveyed are not engaged at all in alignment efforts, while others are engaged to varying degrees. The full report, “PreK-3 Alignment: Challenges and Opportunities in California,” can be viewed here.

School districts provided an array of reasons as to why strengthening alignment between early education and K-12 schools has proven challenging, with costs and varying opinions on the rigor of early education programs among the most common barriers.

New law and changes to updating student records
As the keeper of student records, districts often receive requests from former students and parents/guardians for transcripts, diplomas and other past student records. A new law, Assembly Bill 711 (Chiu, D-San Francisco), aims to help former students and parents request changes to these records, including changes to the student’s name and/or gender. Districts are required to update the records of a former student who submits a written request or government-issued documentation of a name and/or gender change.

Although students have always been able to make requests for corrections in their student records, AB 711 explicitly outlines the responsibility of California local educational agencies to update the records of former students who identify as transgender and have transitioned after leaving the K-12 education system. Ensuring their legal name and gender are accurately reflected on critical documents such as high school diplomas and transcripts can be crucial for a student’s success post-graduation. Allowing transgender students to correct student records to match their preferred name and/or gender removes a significant barrier for employment, housing and continued educational opportunities. Students who present documentation with conflicting names and/or genders may face discrimination and unintentional disclosure of their transgender identity. Districts and schools can aid in students’ post-graduation transition by ensuring they have the correct documents to succeed.

Students of color remain underrepresented in college prep classes
Despite legislative efforts in recent years to increase access to and participation in advanced placement courses in high schools throughout California, black and Latino students continue to be underrepresented in college credit-bearing classes — even when they attend schools that offer an array of AP course options.

A new report from The Education Trust finds that nationally, inequities exist largely because schools that serve mostly black and Latino students are not enrolling as many students in advanced classes as those that serve fewer black and Latino students; and racially diverse schools are denying black and Latino students access to those courses.

For its part, California would need to enroll an additional 37 black students in AP courses for every 100 black students statewide to achieve fair representation, according to a data tool (bit.ly/2TJs9Pn) from The Education Trust. The state’s schools would need to enroll an additional 21 Latino students for every 100 Latino students to achieve fair representation. Overall, black students are underrepresented in 39 of 41 states with comparable data, while Latino students are underrepresented in 39 of 48 states.

county boards
What do county offices of education do? A perspective from Mendocino COE
The primary job of the Mendocino County Office of Education is to support all students within the county. This work is done primarily by supporting school districts, because they provide most of the direct instruction. Mendocino COE staff spend most of their time facilitating, training, coaching, developing programs, solving problems, networking, collaborating and advocating for the unique needs of the students and districts within this rural, geographically challenged county. The county office works in partnership with local districts to provide students with a large variety of services. The following areas are some of the largest on which Mendocino COE focuses.

Student services

Mendocino COE provides instructional programs for students with unique needs, including special education for severely disabled students, court and community schools for incarcerated and expelled youth, and programs for students with children. Child care and child development programs are also provided.

county boards
Riverside selected for State Superintendent’s $1 million Literacy Partnership Grant
The 2017 results for English Language Arts on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress showed 51.44 percent of all K–12 students did not meet the standard for ELA. To improve scores and increase students’ achievement in ELA, the California Department of Education and Riverside County Office of Education are working together with a focus on early literacy.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond selected two county offices of education, Tulare and Riverside, to be a part of this effort. RCOE was chosen due to current literacy efforts, paired with unmet needs with which the new partnership can help. Additionally, working with the CDE allows partners to implement strong early learning efforts, work with established biliteracy programs and provide pathways to increase student access to books in their home language. There is also great potential for customized efforts to specific underserved student populations, such as English learners, Native American students, and homeless and foster youth.

“We are excited to partner with the California Department of Education on such an urgent and important issue — increasing our students’ reading abilities,” said RCOE Superintendent Judy D. White. “The achievement gap between white students and students of color is present before they even begin kindergarten. It’s critical all students are proficient readers, that we encourage and support a love of reading, and ultimately help to improve the literacy rates for all students in Riverside County.”

UpcomingEvents info: 800-266-3382
Register for any of these events at www.csba.org/TrainingAndEvents.
Feb. 19 | Madera
The Brown Act
Feb. 20 | Madera
Institute for New and First-Term Board Members
Feb. 24 | West Sacramento
Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) Training
Feb. 28–29 | Santa Rosa
Masters in Governance Courses 3 & 4
March 6–7 | Oakland
Masters in Governance Courses 3 & 4
March 13–14 | Cerritos
Masters in Governance Courses 1 & 2
March 15–16 | Sacramento
CCBE County Board Governance Workshop
March 17 | Sacramento
Legislative Action Day
March 20-21 | Cerritos
Masters in Governance Courses 3 & 4
Thanks for reading our February 2020 newsletter!