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June 2021 Vol. 27, 6
State budget
May Revision boosts Prop 98 with mostly one-time funds
Concerns remain over long-term funding for California schools
Teenaged students wearing backpacks walk toward school building
On May 14, Gov. Gavin Newsom presented the May Revision of the budget and a sweeping “California for All Kids” plan. The proposal contains significant one-time money for programs addressing pressing student needs but does little to address the continuing long-term financial pressures inhibiting schools’ ability to provide students with the resources needed for success in college, career and civic life.
child wearing headphones smiles while on a laptop
At this year’s virtual May Delegate Assembly, local educational agency representatives from across the state shared information and ideas regarding how to use new funding to address reopening challenges.
Suicide prevention: Stakeholder engagement, strategies and best practices
Law requires that district and county boards have a policy in place that addresses suicide prevention, intervention and postvention
close view of a woman's hands clasping a young child's hands
In addition to planning for learning recovery as students return to in-person instruction, it is important to address the emotional toll that the pandemic has had on students. Boards can support strategies for emotional recovery and ensure that board policy on suicide prevention is current, meets legal requirements and sets a foundation for sound practice. Even before the pandemic, suicide ranked as the second leading cause of death for those ages 15 to 24. Experts worry that COVID-19 may have heightened the risk of suicide among youth due to increased social isolation, financial stress, lack of routine and fear and worry about the future. Early data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention back up the concern: mental health visits to the emergency room for children ages 5–11 and 12–17 increased approximately 24 percent and 31 percent respectively, from 2019 to 2020.
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Chief Information Officer:
Troy Flint |

Managing Editor:
Kimberly Sellery |

Marketing Director:

Serina Pruitt |

Staff Writers and Contributors:
Alisha Kirby |
Heather Kemp |
Mike Ambrose |

Graphic Design Manager:
Kerry Macklin |

Senior Graphic Designer:
Mauricio Miranda |

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.

CSBA & NSPRA logos
President’s Message: Susan Heredia
Neither normal, nor one-time is good enough for our students
It’s common these days to long for a return to normalcy. Amidst the death and disruption of the past 16 months, people want to go back to the way things were. I think we can all identify with that. Yet, when I hear people talk about a return to normalcy in the context of public schools, I cringe. The truth is that normal was never good enough and we should be using this opportunity to develop a better education system that serves the whole child and meets the diverse needs of today’s students and families.

Led by Policy Analysis for California Education, CSBA and more than 40 other education associations, labor unions and advocacy groups came together to embrace this idea in the form of a brief titled, “Reimagine and Rebuild: Restarting School with Equity at the Center.” The brief contends that inequity in our schools — in terms of access, opportunity and outcomes — has disadvantaged many students, and that the pandemic has exacerbated this problem because of its disproportionate impact on low-income students, English learner students, students with disabilities, foster and homeless youth and students of color. In order to meet the goal of providing all students with a high-quality education, schools must address not only the immediate trauma stemming from the pandemic and school closures, but also the longstanding disparities that have prevented many students and schools from reaching their true potential.

Suzanne Kitchens portrait
Suzanne Kitchens
1954 — 2021
In memory of Suzanne Kitchens
Former 2021 CSBA President Suzanne Kitchens passed quietly with her family on Sunday, May 23, just two weeks after she resigned her post as CSBA President due to health issues. It is characteristic of Suzanne’s dedication to children that she continued to work on their behalf in her final days as she battled ovarian cancer.

The suddenness of Suzanne’s passing only accentuates the grief and CSBA sends its most heartfelt condolences to her family as they cope with this loss. At age 67, Suzanne was full of the curiosity, joy and passion we hope to nurture in all California students, and it seemed she had so much life left to live. Suzanne’s empathy and compassion were badges of honor that made an impression on everyone who knew her. Suzanne accomplished more in nearly seven decades than most people do in several lifetimes and it is clear she made the most of her time here on earth. Suzanne leaves a tremendous legacy for her family, her community and CSBA as a public servant, an advocate for students and, most of all, as an incredibly kind and caring person.

State budget
May Budget Revision webinar highlights CSBA advocacy for budget season
Local and state leaders discuss how best to use one-time funds
Following Gov. Gavin Newsom’s presentation of the May Budget Revision, CEO & Executive Director Vernon M Billy and CSBA’s Governmental Relations team joined Michael Fine, CEO of the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team; Dr. Daryl Camp, superintendent, San Lorenzo Unified School District; and Brett McFadden, superintendent, Nevada Joint Union High School District to provide analysis and local perspective on the proposal.

Billy opened the “May Budget Revision Update: Implications for Schools” webinar by critiquing the major thematic elements of the Governor’s revised proposal. “This year’s May Revise contains more bright and shiny budget proposals than any in recent memory, and yet, at the same time, many of our underlying, structural funding issues still remain,” Billy said. “Gov. Newsom’s proposal is extremely generous … and is ambitious in terms of the new programs … which are well-intentioned and in areas of great need, and the Governor should be commended. At the same time, we are concerned about the creation of new programs with one-time funding that should be used for things like paying off deferrals.”

CSBA ad campaign shines spotlight on unsung heroes
The exceptional work of board members is recognized through a multipronged initiative
The past two school years have tested governance teams like never before and clarified the central role that public education plays in our society. Working without a blueprint, schools have navigated the shift to a virtual learning environment, while also keeping the physical and social-emotional needs of students and families in mind. Unfortunately, not everyone appreciates what governance teams accomplished when faced with an unprecedented challenge, insufficient resources and inconsistent guidance. CSBA’s new School Boards in Action campaign aims to change that.

On May 17, CSBA debuted a radio ad in the Sacramento and Los Angeles metro areas emphasizing the critical role school boards have played in supporting students and families despite incredibly adverse conditions. On May 25, the campaign expanded to include stations in the Fresno and San Diego markets. The spots emphasize how schools have gone beyond their traditional functions to become technology centers, food distribution networks and public health resources, among other valuable services. It also focuses on the intense preparations school boards are making for summer school and the return to full-time, in-person instruction this fall.

Governance corner
Practical tips from our MIG faculty
How to create a climate and culture that retains staff
One of the responsibilities of a district or county office of education governance team is to establish a positive climate and culture. District boards understand that a strong teacher workforce is essential to student achievement and must consider how to retain teachers, even amid shortages in key subjects like science and math. Many local educational agencies are experiencing a shortage of classified and confidential as well. While county boards do not hire staff, it is still important to create a positive culture and climate.

Boards should focus on six areas to build a positive climate and culture that will ultimately retain staff: developing and maintaining pride in the organization, feeling appreciated, being treated with fairness and respect, having a sense of accomplishment, engaging in interesting and meaningful work and building positive workplace relationships.

Delegate Assembly meeting focuses on a successful 2021–22 school year
This year’s virtual May Delegate Assembly meeting served as a place for local educational agency representatives from across the state to meet and share invaluable information and ideas with one another regarding how to use newfound funding to address reopening challenges. Delegates received updates from various CSBA committees and departments and exchanged concerns and ideas about the fall semester in breakout rooms. Recently appointed CSBA President Dr. Susan Heredia opened the meeting with an acknowledgement of the dedication and inspiration provided by Suzanne Kitchens, who passed away last month just two weeks after stepping down from the position.

“I am humbled to be in this position,” Heredia said during the two-day event, which took place May 15–16. “I have known Suzanne for a very long time, as many of you have, and she was an inspiration for me. We both share a passion for education and for kids.”

New CSBA briefs examine pandemic learning loss and addressing learning recovery
A new pair of CSBA research and policy briefs examining the pandemic’s effect on student learning are available now. The briefs explore barriers to remote learning and how to address them, and delve into research regarding learning loss and strategies to support students through learning disruptions. Each brief contains resources and questions for boards to consider as they evaluate successes and failures of distance learning and plan for learning recovery in the summer and fall.
Barriers to distance learning
Even as schools continue to reopen, many students have chosen to remain in distance learning for the remainder of the 2020–21 school year. In addition, many schools have opened with hybrid models where students are still learning from home for some portion of the school week.
Charter school network’s criminal misuse of funds addressed in new legislation
AB 1316 introduces significant new oversight responsibilities to charter authorizers
Pen on paper
In February 2021, two charter school management company executives, Sean McManus and Jason Schrock, pleaded guilty to criminal charges related to their operation of A3 Education, a charter school management company that operated 19 nonclassroom-based charter schools throughout the state. As part of the criminal case, People v. McManus, the San Diego County Grand Jury also indicted several A3 employees and one district superintendent.
CSBA webinars explore expanded learning opportunities
District leaders and education experts offered insights on funding and program opportunities
Three children's hands painting a colorful wall mural with paint brushes
School district leaders and researchers explored various strategies, investments and best practices for expanded learning initiatives that can address the disruption of COVID-19 on education this summer and beyond in a recent CSBA webinar series.

In part one, “School’s in for Summer: Strategies for Successful Summer Programs and Beyond,” experts discussed how districts can best leverage state and federal funding to support students and provided examples of how some local educational agencies were planning for summer learning.

Vaccines approved for children aged 12 and up, mask rules relaxed
On May 10, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration expanded its emergency use authorization for the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to include youth ages 12 to 15. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention followed suit on May 12 and endorsed the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine for the age group. The vaccine was previously approved for those ages 16 and up.

Though children and adolescents typically have milder cases compared to adults, it was a critical step in further fighting the spread of COVID-19 and protecting student and families.

“This official CDC action opens vaccination to approximately 17 million adolescents in the United States and strengthens our nation’s efforts to protect even more people from the effects of COVID-19,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.

State Board
State Board Report: Student growth model adopted
Also adopted was guidance on distance learning, assessment and standards
Child with her hair up and earphones in drawing in a workbook and referencing a tablet screen in front of her
The State Board of Education’s virtual May 12–13 meeting overlapped with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement that he was proposing $93.7 billion in Proposition 98 funding for 2021–22, with increases in spending on early learning, wraparound services, community schools, nutrition programs and extended learning opportunities in the May Revision.

State Board President Linda Darling-Hammond said during the board’s meeting that the funding would “in many ways, begin the process of reinventing our public education system from TK to college, with a whole child vision in mind.” Two items on the agenda also have the potential to push California’s education system to better serve all students and prepare them for the future, she said; the long-anticipated adoption of the student growth model and the adoption of digital learning guidance that can be used even as students return from distance learning to classroom-based instruction.


County board member trainings offer rich professional development experiences

A diverse group of people in an office space with laptops and tablets in front of them
Effective leadership is essential for any successful organization, including county offices of education and school districts. Being a board member is a difficult and complex job that requires an in-depth knowledge of school governance. Research has shown that high-functioning boards lead high-achieving organizations. In addition, board members can lead by example and set the direction for a culture of life-long learning. The first few months of 2021 provided exciting professional development opportunities for county board members.
UpcomingEvents info: 800-266-3382
Attention: All in-person CSBA events are cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. For more information about events, visit
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