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February 2021 Vol. 27, 2
Issues arise with Governor’s school reopening plan
Safe Schools for All plan includes frequent required COVID-19 testing and use of Proposition 98 funds for non-educational expenses

When Gov. Gavin Newsom released the 2021–22 budget proposal on Jan. 8, many in education celebrated the seemingly significant investments in school reopening and learning loss mitigation amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposal includes the paying down of most school funding deferrals and a Local Control Funding Formula cost-of-living adjustment, as well as additional investments in teacher preparation, pension relief and special education.

It also includes the Safe Schools for All plan — a $2 billion grant program that would make available on a per-pupil basis funds for schools that resume in-person instruction by specified dates. While state funding to help local educational agencies purchase personal protective equipment, enhance and expand COVID-19 testing for employees and students, and provide mental health support services is welcome, details of the plan left a lot to be desired.

Equity: 2021 Black History Month honors the African American family
The Black History Month 2021 theme, “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity,” presents the opportunity to look at how your district is engaging with its African American parents/guardians.
Layoff notices: What boards should know
March 15 on a block calendar set on a desk

For any 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 informing its certificated employees — required by Education Code section 44949 — that their services may not be required 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.

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Chief Information Officer:
Troy Flint |

Managing Editor:
Kimberly Sellery |

Marketing Director:

Serina Pruitt |

Staff Writers and Contributors:
Alisha Kirby |
Mike Ambrose |

Graphic Design Manager:
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Suzanne Kitchens | Pleasant Valley SD

Susan Heredia | Natomas USD

Vice President:
Susan Markarian | Pacific Union ESD

Immediate Past President:
Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez | Azusa USD

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.

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President’s Message: Suzanne Kitchens
Honor Black History Month by supporting today’s Black students
It’s important that our schools recognize all the vibrant cultures and ethnic groups that form the fabric of this nation. So I applaud the many districts and county offices of education that took an innovative, intentional approach to Black History Month. Yet, what’s even more important than honoring Black history is preparing Black students for a brighter future, one where all African American students — and all California students — receive a high-quality education that prepares them for college, career and civic life.

It’s encouraging to see these celebrations of African American history, but that enthusiasm is tempered by present day data on student progress. On Feb. 8, researchers with the Educational Opportunity Project at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education released data that paints a sobering picture of student performance and the related opportunity and achievement gaps. Most disheartening was the finding that all of California’s student groups except African Americans made academic progress over the last decade, as measured by standardized test scores. Similarly, achievement gaps remained level or closed somewhat, except in the case of African American and white students where the gap widened. This is not the kind of history we want to be writing for our African American students, our schools or our state.

Slew of new bills introduced in 2021–22 legislative session
Several bills return from 2019–20 session, including broadband infrastructure legislation
The 2021–22 legislative session is off to a busy start, with more than 550 bills already introduced for consideration in the California Senate and Assembly. After a 2020 session sharply curtailed by closures amid the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s docket will undoubtedly be crowded as legislators revive old bills and unveil new proposals to take on the challenges of a new year.

Even as Gov. Gavin Newsom’s January budget proposal rides better-than-expected revenues to provide a full cost-of-living adjustment of 3.84 percent, erase most apportionment deferrals and maintain an additional year of employer pension rate buydowns, school reopening remains top of mind in Sacramento. Gov. Newsom’s Safe Schools for All proposal is now under consideration for early action as the Senate and Assembly begin work on the 2021–22 budget process. CSBA and many stakeholders, as well as members of the Senate and Assembly, have pushed back on the Governor’s plan, which will require legislative approval before being put into action. Assembly Budget Chair Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) has also introduced Assembly Bill 10, which would require schools to publicly present a plan to resume in-person learning within two weeks of their county moving into red, orange or yellow tiers, beginning March 1, 2021. Districts would be able to choose whether to return to all in-person learning or use a hybrid model, and local educational agencies in non-purple counties would still maintain the authority to determine when to provide in-person learning during the 2020–21 school year, how that learning is provided and how long it is provided.

2021 Black History Month honors the African American family
Research shows that parent/guardian involvement in schools leads to better student outcomes — how is your district engaging African American families?
Father on the phone with young daughters by his side
First celebrated in 1926, February has marked a time to commemorate and celebrate the contributions of Black Americans for nearly a century. The Black History Month 2021 theme, “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity,” explores the African diaspora, and the spread of Black families across the United States.

Research shows that regardless of family income or background, students whose parents are involved in their schooling are more likely to have higher grades and test scores, attend school regularly, have better social skills, show improved behavior and adapt well to school.1 Under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act and California’s Local Control Funding Formula, parent stakeholder engagement is required, but the ways in which parents are engaged is up to each district A 2017 academic paper “African American Parents and Effective Parent Involvement Programs” examines what effective parent involvement entails, particularly for the African American community.

COVID-19 vaccines for students
No vaccine is yet approved for children under 16 years old; boards can look to CDPH for guidance once vaccines for younger students are available
Young masked girl receives an injection from masked medical staff
Recent approval of COVID-19 vaccines provides hope for a “new normal” soon, but has raised questions for public health officials and school board members regarding whether they can, or should, mandate the COVID-19 vaccination once it is available to everyone as a condition of employment and school attendance. Negotiations about requiring vaccinations before employees may return to work have been taking place at bargaining tables throughout the state, but questions about requiring vaccinations for students before their return to school have been raised as well.
CSBA webinar takes a deep dive into the Governor’s 2021–22 budget proposal
A cost-of-living adjustment and payment of most deferrals reflect CSBA advocacy; Safe Schools plan presents issues
A magnifying glass over the money symbol

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in a Jan. 8 press conference that his 2021–22 budget proposal provides approximately $90 billion total for K-14 schools, with the historic investment centering on equity as local educational agencies navigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A number of the Governor’s proposals will provide increased spending flexibility, said CSBA President Suzanne Kitchens during a CSBA webinar following the announcement. She noted, however, that the wide variety of student needs, extraordinary expenses during this time of crisis and local circumstances all stand in the way of ensuring equity in reopening schools throughout the state.

Governance Corner Practical tips from our MIG faculty
Conducting virtual board meetings

When county office of education or school district trustees cannot meet in person, boards must continue to connect and conduct business. During the global pandemic — and in other emergency circumstances — district and county boards are permitted to meet and make board decisions virtually. A virtual school board meeting can be held through a video-based platform or a conference call that allows for public access and comment.

CSBA resources for virtual board meetings

In a spring webinar and blog post, CSBA’s legal team joined with affiliate law partners to offer concrete ideas and examples to help board members answer the questions posed in this article.

CSBA webinar “Open Board Meetings in a World of School Closures”:

Read the webinar blog summary at

CDC cost estimates to reopen schools safely does not include COVID-19 testing
The report estimates an additional $55–$442 per student to reopen safely — without testing

As school districts across the United States consider how to safely reopen schools, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided indicators to help local educational agencies evaluate the risks associated with reopening schools for in-person instruction, including the level of community transmission. Other determinate factors in assessing the risks associated with reopening schools are associated with how firmly an LEA adheres to the CDC’s five primary mitigation strategies: consistent and correct use of masks; social distancing to the extent possible; hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette; cleaning and disinfection; and contact tracing in collaboration with the local health department. Other mitigation strategies that can be used concurrently include forming cohorts of students and teachers and staggered scheduling. It is important to note that COVID-19 testing of students and staff was not included in this estimate.

CSBA briefs examine training needed to effectively implement Next Generation Science Standards
Students using classroom whiteboard together
Establishing and maintaining a pipeline of highly trained educators in science, technology, mathematics and engineering is critical in the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards. Accomplishing this is difficult for many local educational agencies, however, as many face a shortage of STEM teachers in their region or the funds to train and retain those they recruit.

In a pair of briefs released Oct. 29, CSBA policy experts explore not only the challenges that LEAs face in these areas, but also potential actions that governance teams can take to ensure that all students have access to rigorous STEM curriculum and educators capable of teaching it.

State Board
January meeting moves forward state literacy plan and ESSA amendments
Board discusses possibility of waiver for 2020–21 standardized testing
Now almost a year since COVID-19 took hold in the United States, local, state and federal policymakers continue to grapple with how to ensure students receive equitable learning opportunities in a distance learning setting. Those challenges, including concerns about administering statewide assessments, were just one of the topics discussed at the January 13–14 State Board of Education meeting. The SBE also moved forward the State Literacy Plan and provided some flexibility for identifying schools in need of support in the 2021–22 school year.

State Board President Linda Darling-Hammond opened the meeting addressing equity in distance learning and beyond, saying how California moves forward in developing the future of education will be crucial to improving student outcomes long term.

Trinity County trauma-sensitive alternative school wins CCBE Apple for Excellence Award
Trinity County in Northern California is so rural that it doesn’t even have a stop light. But what it does have is an award-winning, comprehensive alternative school serving at-promise K-12 students who need a second chance to succeed.

Operated by the Trinity County Office of Education, the R.I.S.E. Academy is this year’s winner of the CCBE Apple for Excellence Award. The award recognizes outstanding programs administered by county offices of education reflecting the depth and breadth of a county education program necessary to address students’ changing needs. The award is given to the top county office of education program that is a winner of the CSBA Golden Bell Award.

Lead with confidence: Attend the County Board Governance Workshop
Blue button on computer keyboard that says "Training"
New this year, CCBE is offering a two-track virtual professional development training for both newly elected/first-term and veteran county board members. This county board governance training will help you hit the ground running and provide new county-focused learning opportunities in governance, equity in education, special education, county board appellate role, charter schools, legislative advocacy and more. Veteran board members will gain knowledge and a greater understanding of the impact of social media, virtual meetings, charter oversight and the pitfalls to avoid.

The training will be held virtually every Tuesday beginning March 9 through March 30 from 8:30 — 11:30 a.m., plus one session from 3:30 — 5:00 p.m. Live sessions will be recorded and available only for registered attendees to view asynchronously. Each session is 2.5 hours long.

UpcomingEvents info: 800-266-3382
Attention: All in-person CSBA events are cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. For more information about events, visit
Virtual Events
Feb. 16 & 27
MIG COE Course 2: Policy & Judicial Review / Student Learning & Achievement |  SOLD OUT
March 9, 16, 23 & 30
CCBE County Board Governance Training
March 26–27
MIG Course 2: Student Learning & Achievement / Policy & Judicial Review
Feb. 20 & 27
Board Presidents Workshop
March 20 & 27
MIG COE Course 3: Facilities & Finance / Charter Schools | SOLD OUT
April 17 & 24
MIG COE Course 4: Community Relations & Advocacy / Governance Integration, 2021 | SOLD OUT
Feb. 16 & 27
MIG COE Course 2: Policy & Judicial Review / Student Learning & Achievement |  SOLD OUT
Feb. 20 & 27
Board Presidents Workshop
March 9, 16, 23 & 30
CCBE County Board Governance Training
March 20 & 27
MIG COE Course 3: Facilities & Finance / Charter Schools | SOLD OUT
March 26–27
MIG Course 2: Student Learning & Achievement / Policy & Judicial Review Workshop
April 17 & 24
MIG COE Course 4: Community Relations & Advocacy / Governance Integration, 2021 | SOLD OUT
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