July 2020 Vol. 26, 7
State Treasurer
State budget provisions complicate school reopening under COVID-19 conditions
While touted by Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders as preserving K–12 funding and positioning schools to reopen this fall, the 2020–21 state budget trailer bill language strips local educational agencies of critical flexibility needed to safely and effectively resume instruction.
Expanding free and reduced-price lunch eligibility during COVID-19
One of the most visible services schools provided for U.S. children is the National School Lunch program. Since President Harry Truman signed the program into law in 1946, it’s been acknowledged that providing children with healthy meals is critical to their physical, emotional and academic growth. Among the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, many families have experienced historic rates of job layoffs and losses of income that may affect their eligibility for participating in the Free and Reduced Price Lunch program. One important step local educational agencies can take to help these families successfully start the coming school year is ensure that all families that qualify for free and reduced-price lunch are enrolled. Districts can include the enrollment form in their welcome packet, make announcements that highlight the income eligibility rates and provide staff contacts that can help families fill out and collect the forms.
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Troy Flint | tflint@csba.org

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Serina Pruitt | spruitt@csba.org

Staff Writers and Contributors:
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Briana Mullen | bmullen@csba.org

Graphic Design Manager:
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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
Racial inequity: Fulfilling the promise of public schools as the great equalizer
I am using this space this month to reprint an email that went out to all CSBA members in the early weeks of June from myself and CSBA CEO & Executive Director Vernon M. Billy.
There is no doubt all of you have seen videos of the protests across the country in the wake of the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. In California, those marching include our students, their families and our educators.
Image of hand turning dice
CSBA guidance for reopening schools addresses challenges faced by governance teams
In The Uncertain Road Ahead: Reopening Schools in the Time of COVID-19, CSBA seeks to answer important questions on the subject of reopening schools. While there are no clear solutions in this unprecedented situation, this report presents a robust examination of what it will take to reopen schools safely and effectively. While many education organizations and county offices of education have recently released guidance, this report provides a framework in which district and county office boards can make decisions based on their local circumstances, focused on the areas of health and safety, high-quality teaching and learning, equity, funding and flexibility. The Uncertain Road Ahead also provides important questions for board members to ask and answer while planning for the 2020–21 school year, and an overview of CSBA’s efforts to advocate for the resources, guidance, funding and support schools need to navigate this crisis and reopen schools safely.
CDE releases guidebook as schools plan how to reopen in new school year
The California Department of Education released its guidance for schools in early June to aid local educational agencies in their planning and discussions on physically reopening schools. “What we’ve done is compiled, as best as we can, a ‘how to’ to how we can safely reopen schools,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said during a webinar unveiling the document to LEAs.

Stronger Together: A Guidebook for the Safe Reopening of California’s Public Schools features a 10-page health and safety checklist for LEAs for resuming in-person instruction and dives deep into considerations for instructional programs; professional relationships and learning; continuity of relationships and learning plans; mental health and well-being for all; communication and community engagement; early learning and care; and school services such as meals and transportation. The guidance’s appendices answer frequently asked questions and include a resource list.


GovernanceCorner Practical tips from our MIG faculty

Aligning district goals through the superintendent evaluation
School district and county office of education boards can use summer as an opportunity to look ahead and prepare for next year’s superintendent evaluation cycle by finalizing the goals and success indicators on which the superintendent will be evaluated. The evaluation is a tool to align the superintendent’s goals with those of the district and its Local Control and Accountability Plan. Boards can use the superintendent evaluation as an important leadership tool to focus and align all district efforts, and an opportunity for the governance team to reflect and talk about where the district is going.

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has changed much about the way schools and boards operate, boards should strive to use their usual procedures to the extent practicable to evaluate the superintendent, as described in the district’s Board Policy 2140 — Evaluation of the Superintendent — and in the superintendent’s contract. The evaluation should reflect the superintendent’s work throughout the year, including the district’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

CSBA’s COVID-19 webinar series closes with a focus on student and staff well-being
overwhelmed student sitting on ground
District and county office of education officials are looking toward the 2020–21 school year with serious concern over how to provide a safe learning environment for students and staff, as well as myriad academic and mental supports that will be necessary to move past the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Supreme Court clarifies when public agencies can recover CPRA costs
On May 28, 2020, in a case in which CSBA’s Education Legal Alliance filed a friend-of-the-court brief, the California Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeal’s decision in National Lawyers Guild v. City of Hayward, holding that an agency’s cost of redacting exempt information from electronic records is not recoverable under the California Public Records Act. The Court of Appeal had previously held that the City of Hayward could recover its costs for redacting exempt body camera footage from electronic records in response to a CPRA request. The Court’s decision provides some additional clarity for public agencies that they cannot recover costs associated with searching for documents or redacting exempt information from electronic records.
CCEE pivots focus to distance learning needs amid COVID-19 pandemic

Like all other parts of California’s public education system, the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence had to quickly pivot its focus when the COVID-19 pandemic closed classrooms throughout the state and ushered in widespread distance learning. At the CCEE’s June 4 board meeting, staff members unveiled the organization’s Continuity of Learning playbooks and spoke to how the State System of Support is serving local educational agencies during these uncertain times.

Black female California student working on school from home with an adult
county boards
Riverside COE students experience the healing power of the arts during quarantine

The week following the closure of all 500-plus schools in Riverside County due to COVID-19, Superintendent of Schools Judy D. White discussed with a group of employees how the closures might affect students. White shared an idea that art might be a great way for students to express themselves and help process this disruption to their lives. Eight days later, still in the midst of work-from-home transitions, the Art Connects virtual student arts competition was officially announced.

Promotions were launched, local artists were tapped as judges and the Riverside County Office of Education Foundation secured prizes. Weekly winners from multiple age groups and their inspiring work were highlighted on the RCOE website and social media, and information was distributed to local media. Students’ work was also shared with educators to keep them connected with the organizational mission of serving students.

county boards
Countywide partnerships boost access to high-quality arts education for San Diego students

Arts education has been shown to benefit children by increasing creativity and confidence, improving motor function and academic performance, and fostering decision-making skills, focus and perseverance.

Yet for children in K-12 schools throughout the country, arts education has dwindled in recent decades — and in some cases, been cut entirely. For more than 500,000 students attending nearly 780 schools in San Diego County, the San Diego County Office of Education and its community partners understand the lasting impact that arts education can have on kids.

“All San Diego County children deserve access to high-quality visual and performing arts education, regardless of where they live or how much money their parents make,” said Superintendent of Schools Paul Gothold. “The arts provide a crucial link to engaging students in other academic fields and help students develop the critical and creative-thinking skills that are necessary for success in college, career and beyond.”

UpcomingEvents info: 800-266-3382

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