March 2019 Vol. 25, 3
Senate Bill 126 passed by the Assembly
Charter schools transparency bill heads to Governor’s desk
Senate Bill 126, a charter school transparency measure, passed both the Senate and Assembly in February. As of Feb. 28, the bill was headed to the desk of Gov. Gavin Newsom, who was expected to sign the bill into law. SB 126 sailed through the Senate on a 34-2 vote after passing the Senate Education Committee with a unanimous 7-0 vote. It was then passed by the Assembly with a 63-9 vote on Feb. 28.
Meanwhile, Newsom has directed State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond to assemble a statewide panel of experts to examine the financial impact of charter schools on traditional public school districts. The development is one key outgrowth of the recent six-day strike at the Los Angeles Unified School District and a political climate that is increasingly receptive to for greater charter school accountability.
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Board members are tasked with ensuring that local educational agencies are responsive
The Brown Act: Frequently asked questions

School district and county office of education board members are locally elected public officials entrusted with governing a community’s public schools. Board members are tasked with ensuring that local educational agencies are responsive to the values, beliefs and priorities of their communities through five major responsibilities: setting direction, establishing an effective and efficient structure, providing support, ensuring accountability, and providing community leadership as advocates for children. Citizen oversight of local government is the cornerstone of democracy in the United States.

Through the Brown Act, the people of the state of California require transparency in the form of information about the actions and deliberations of school district governing boards and other local government agencies. In addition to board members’ crucial work for education, trustees must also adhere to the rules in the Government Code and Education Code sections defining the open meeting laws in the state.

Senior Director of Communications:
Troy Flint |

Managing Editor:
Kimberly Sellery |

Marketing Director:

Serina Pruitt |

Staff Writers and Contributors:
Hugh Biggar |
Aaron Davis |
Mike Ambrose |
Andrew Cummins |

Graphic Design Manager:
Kerry Macklin |

Emma Turner | La Mesa-Spring Valley SD

Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez | Azusa USD

Vice President:
Tamara Otero | Cajon Valley Union USD

Immediate Past President:
Mike Walsh | Butte COE

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: Emma Turner
Seize the day for public schools

These are tumultuous times for public education. We began the new year with a teacher strike in the Los Angeles Unified School District. The year’s second month brought another teacher strike, this time in Oakland USD. And the financial strife is not just limited to big cities. Districts across California, small and large — urban, suburban and rural — are making deep cuts to counter rising costs and to maintain solvency.

When the demands for higher pay, lower class sizes, more staff and increased services meet the reality of insufficient resources, the inevitable result is the labor strife we are now experiencing. Teachers are not wrong to expect salaries and conditions more commensurate with the value of the work they perform. District leaders are not wrong to balance the desire for greater staff compensation and support with concern for fiscal stability, which is also a precondition for student success. Both sides have been forced into an untenable situation through decisions made not in local communities, union headquarters or district offices, but instead at the Capitol in Sacramento.

Hard-hit educators testify on wildfire response and recovery at state hearing
Educators and emergency officials from across California provided emotional testimony at a February hearing about the impact of recent wildfires on schools and communities. In what several speakers called the “new normal” due to climate change and a now year-round fire season, firestorms have caused unprecedented damage to school districts statewide since 2017.
The State Assembly’s Education Committee met at the Capitol to assess the recovery process, determine what remains to be done and how to better position schools to cope with future fires. Similarly, CSBA is developing resources that will help schools better prepare for, mitigate and recover from wildfires and other natural disasters.

“In the past two and half years, California has experienced an unprecedented number of wildfires which have both directly and indirectly impacted our public schools,” Committee Chair Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach) said. “This hearing will help us reflect upon any lessons learned, areas where state policy could improve conditions for school communities as they prepare for, respond to and recover from future natural disasters. This isn’t just about the past but about going forward as well, which I know many communities are working hard to do.”

Budget battles hit schools as Gov. Newsom takes on funding challenges
Oakland Unified School District teachers walked out of their classes Thursday, Feb. 21. As part of the strike, the Oakland Education Association, a union representing teachers, is asking for a 12 percent raise over three years, smaller class sizes and the hiring of more counselors and nurses. In an open letter, 75 Oakland USD principals said they supported the teachers and, echoing CSBA’s Full and Fair Funding campaign, called for the state to prioritize investing in K-12 public education. California currently ranks among the bottom 10 states nationally in critical areas such as per-pupil funding and the number of nurses, counselors and librarians per student.
Full and Fair Funding campaign
Similar concerns were also at the heart of the recent Los Angeles Unified School District strike, and districts from San Diego to Sacramento face budget crises and underinvested schools. Underlying these crises are understaffed schools, overcrowded classrooms, pension and health care cost pressures, charter school growth and low levels of per-pupil funding.
English learner resources
Toolkit offers guidance and resources for English learner, immigrant parents
The U.S. Department of Education has released a new guide to help schools better support English learner students, immigrant students and their families. Dubbed “The English Learner Family Toolkit,” the publication should be of particular interest in California, home to more than 1.3 million English learner students. The toolkit is available at

Available in English, Spanish, Arabic and Mandarin, the toolkit consists of a series of modules that the agency will publish throughout the year. In January, the department unveiled the first two chapters. The first focuses on how to enroll a child in public school and outlines topics such as family and student rights, suggested questions to ask school staff members and tips for families. The rights portion addresses issues such as immunizations, documentation and personal information. The second chapter highlights issues about attending school in the United States, which includes an outline of how the country’s schools may differ from those in other places.

State identifies ‘low-performing’ schools that will receive Title I funds
The California Department of Education released a list of 781 “low-performing” schools in January, meeting a requirement to comply with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. The schools will receive about $160,000 in Title I federal aid each year, according to the CDE. About 80 percent of identified schools are in districts which also receive state assistance by way of California School Dashboard measures showing low-performing student groups.

The state similarly used Dashboard indicator data to select those identified for federal aid under ESSA: The lowest-performing 7 percent of schools receiving Title I funds (accounting for 481 schools) and all high schools with a graduation rate of less than 67 percent, as averaged over two years (accounting for the other 300 schools on the 781-school list). Additional information on the criteria and the full list of eligible schools is available on the CDE website at, which is also where further details on funding and technical assistance can be found.

LCAP’s new feature: An LCFF budget overview for parents
The Local Control and Accountability Plan will have a new feature this year — a Local Control Funding Formula budget overview for parents and guardians. The document is intended to be a user-friendly budget summary linking district, county office of education or charter school expenditures to goals, actions and services described in the LCAP.

As established by Assembly Bill 1808 (Ch. 32) passed in 2018), the budget overview must contain specific information, including, but not limited to, total projected LCFF revenue for the upcoming fiscal year, projected general fund expenditures, budgeted expenditures for planned actions and services, and current-year expenditures for increased or improved services for “high needs” students. “High needs” students are unduplicated students for LCFF funding purposes, a category comprised of English learners, homeless and foster youths, and students who are eligible for free and reduced-price meals. In addition, the overview must contain a brief description of the activities or programs supported by general fund expenditures that are not included in the LCAP.

GovernanceCorner Practical tips from our MIG faculty
School district budgets and second interim reporting
In a previous column, we discussed the first interim report of the district’s budget. In this issue, we discuss the second interim report, which is your board’s look at real numbers for the current budget year up to Jan. 31. This mid-year review provides the board with an idea of the health of the district’s finances.

When adopting the interim reports, the school board must take action to certify the financial condition of the district. There are three certification options based on current projections:

Positive — the district will meet its financial obligations for the current fiscal year and two subsequent fiscal years;

Qualified — the district may not meet its financial obligations for the current fiscal year or two subsequent fiscal years; or

Negative — the district will be unable to meet its financial obligations for the remainder of the current fiscal year or for the subsequent fiscal year.

It is important for the district to select a certification which accurately reflects the district’s financial position. Most districts will have a positive certification. For those with a qualified or negative certification, board members should know that the extra attention and focus from both within and outside the district can help identify options for improving the district’s financials.

Some questions that boards might consider asking are:
  • What were the key revenue and expenditure assumptions made to create this interim report?
  • What are the risk factors that could lead our district to a qualified or negative certification in the future?
  • If staff is recommending a positive certification, what are the lessons learned that could help us maintain a positive certification in future years?
  • If staff is recommending a qualified certification, what does that mean and what are the next steps for the district?
  • What resources and assistance are available from the county office of education in the case of a qualified or negative certification?

Budgets are covered in the School Finance module of CSBA’s Masters in Governance Course 3; information is available at Additional resources can be found at the Financial Crisis Management Assistance Team website at

CSBA Officers and Board of Directors 2018-19
Emma Turner
Emma Turner

La Mesa-Spring Valley SD
Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez
Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez

Azusa USD
Tamara Otero
Tamara Otero
Vice President

Cajon Valley
Union SD
Mike Walsh
Mike Walsh
Immediate Past President

Butte COE
Frank Magarino
Frank Magarino
Region 1

Del Norte County USD
Sherry Crawford
Sherry Crawford
Region 2

Siskiyou COE
Tony Ubalde
Tony Ubalde
Region 3

Vallejo City USD
Paige Stauss
Paige Stauss
Region 4

Roseville Joint
Union HSD
Alisa MacAvoy
Alisa MacAvoy
Region 5

Redwood City SD
Darrel Woo
Darrel Woo
Region 6

Sacramento City USD
Yolanda Peña Mendrek
Yolanda Peña Mendrek
Region 7

Liberty Union HSD
Matthew Balzarini
Matthew Balzarini
Region 8

Lammersville USD
Flushing lead from school fixtures remains a work in progress
As School Nutrition Month takes place in March, California is making progress on a key issue impacting daily nutrition at school — water. There is, however, still room for improvement and a need for more information, a recent report finds.

The report, “Early Adopters: State Approaches to Testing School Drinking Water for Lead in the United States,” concluded that 3 percent of California’s K-12 public schools had at least one tap with an elevated level of lead in water and 1 percent of all taps tested in the California’s public schools had shown lead levels at or above the level requiring action — 15 parts per billion per one liter of water.

Those results are based on testing at just 22 percent of the state’s more than 10,000 K-12 public schools. Previously, California offered schools free tap water testing for lead on a voluntary basis through a program of the State Water Resources Control Board. Now, under Assembly Bill 746 (Fletcher-Gonzalez, D-San Diego), community water systems are required to test five outlets at all California public K-12 school sites that were constructed before Jan. 1, 2010 by July 1. According to the California State Water Resources Control Board, less than half of California’s roughly 11,000 public schools (4,429) have been tested so far.

Report: K-12 cybersecurity incidents, risks growing across the country

K-12 local educational agencies nationwide experienced both more frequent and more significant cybersecurity incidents in 2018, according to a new report from the K-12 Cybersecurity Resource Center. Data suggests the incidents did not discriminate by district type, location or size.

There were 122 publicly reported K-12 cyber incidents in the U.S. in 2018, or about one incident every three days. A map on the center’s website shows the location of every reported cyber incident since 2016, in addition to a description of the attack. Mt. Diablo Unified School District in Contra Costa County was one of two districts nationwide to report more than one incident in 2018.

Data breaches were the most common type of cyber incident or threat reported in 2018, with just over half of those carried out or caused by members of the impacted school community, whether by staff or students. Other prominent forms of cyber incidents explored in the report are phishing attacks, largely by email, and ransomware and malware outbreaks. “Perhaps most concerning in 2018 were a number of successful phishing attacks targeted at school district business officials,” the report states. Phishing is the practice of sending bogus emails that appear to be from a reputable company, but are actually bait designed to trick the recipient into providing personal or sensitive information such as passwords or checking account, credit card and Social Security numbers.

county boards
Capitol Hill to advocate for California schools and students
County Perspective
County Board leaders advocate for education in Washington, D.C.
California was well represented at NSBA’s national advocacy event, with 16 board members attending, including eight county board members, who traveled to Capitol Hill to advocate for California schools and students. Dana Dean, California County Boards of Education President, and Rick Shea, CCBE vice-president, reported back on their efforts.

Dana Dean: “In Congress, we met with our representatives to share the importance of modernizing and fully funding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. We also discussed the importance of updating the Higher Education Act to include real, substantial funding for more and better teacher training to help stem the growing teacher shortage.

From my view, we were very well received, as was our message. I visited directly with Rep. Mike Thompson, Rep. John Garamendi, and Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, as well as all their chiefs of staff and education-focused legislative staff. I also had a chance to call on Rep. Eric Swalwell’s chief of staff, Alex Evans.

Inspire your peers this fall in Monterey and submit a
CCBE Annual Conference workshop proposal by April 2
Does your county office of education have an interesting or innovative program? Are you interested in sharing your success? Submit a workshop proposal and showcase your work at the 2019 CCBE Annual Conference in beautiful Monterey, Sept. 13-15. Workshop presentations are an ideal way to increase your involvement in CCBE, support your organization and inspire your peers. In order to be considered, proposals must be submitted no later than Tuesday, April 2 to Registration is expected to open this spring. Please visit to download a copy of the workshop proposal form and for the latest news and updates on the CCBE Annual Conference.
UpcomingEvents info: 800-266-3382
Register for any of these events at
March 12, 2019 | Sacramento
Legislative Action Day
March 23-24, 2019 | Eureka
Masters in Governance Courses 3 and 4
March 29, 2019 | Redding
Masters in Governance Course 5
April 12-13, 2019 | Rancho Cucamonga
Masters in Governance Courses 3 and 4
April 13, 2019 | Eureka
Masters in Governance Course 5
Thanks for reading our March 2019 newsletter!