March 2020 Vol. 26, 3
Special education, LCFF, student mental health
Special education, LCFF, student mental health, tobacco use highlight new legislation

As the usual crop of new bill introductions began its annual deluge at the Capitol, lawmakers in Sacramento spent the first few weeks of the 2020 legislative year hearing legislation held over from 2019 that faced a key January deadline.

On the K-12 education front, the Assembly in January declined to hear Assembly Bill 221 (Garcia, C., D-Bell Gardens), a CSBA-opposed bill that would have prohibited local educational agencies from contracting with a third-party organization to employ teachers, thereby negatively impacting the ability of LEAs to recruit and hire the most effective and most representative candidates available. The measure will not advance in 2020, as the bill was not heard prior to the Jan. 31 deadline for 2019 bills to be heard and passed by the house in which they were introduced.

CSBA is monitoring more than 300 bills introduced prior to the Feb. 21 deadline for the introduction of new legislative proposals, with CSBA’s Legislative Committee approving official positions on more than a dozen of those. Updated CSBA bill positions are available at

  • Visit for links to digital versions of current and past issues of California School News.
  • Visit for the latest in CSBA education news.
Keeping current during your commute with education policy podcasts
Trustees are more likely to report a different shortage: time

School board packets. Inboxes overflowing with newsletters. Local and national publications. Social media. There seems to be no lack of information about education issues. Instead, trustees are more likely to report a different shortage: time. Yet in their role as public officials, it’s essential for trustees to keep current on state and federal laws and policies, as well as to know what other districts and county offices of education are doing to tackle the challenges and opportunities they encounter.

One source of information presented in digestible bites? Podcasts. There’s something for everyone, and that includes board members looking for education news and policy updates. Fortunately, busy trustees will find that most education policy podcast episodes last between 20-30 minutes each. If you’re not sure where to start, there are several podcasts to which trustees can subscribe. Below are just a few to consider:


Senior Director of Communications:
Troy Flint |

Managing Editor:
Kimberly Sellery |

Marketing Director:

Serina Pruitt |

Staff Writers and Contributors:
Andrew Cummins |
Alisha Kirby |
Aaron Davis |
Diane Greene |
Bode Owoyele |

Graphic Design Manager:
Kerry Macklin |

Senior Graphic Designer:
Mauricio Miranda |

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
Help make sure that every student is counted

As school board members and education leaders, we all agree that every student counts. That mantra will be put to the test this month as invitations to complete the 2020 U.S. Census begin arriving in mailboxes. While U.S. Census Bureau and California officials will ramp up their outreach efforts in the coming weeks, we also play a key role in making sure school-aged children are not forgotten. Traditionally, some of our youngest citizens have not been counted.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that the census will not include a question about the status of a person’s citizenship. This is an important development worthy of repeating to our communities, especially as California’s schools serve an estimated 750,000 students who live with at least one undocumented parent. That’s one in eight of the state’s students. Therefore, it is imperative that we, as public school leaders, help alleviate concerns among our parents and communities by reassuring them that census information may not be used in a punitive manner or shared with law enforcement agencies.

2020–21 CSBA Officers and Board of Directors
Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez - President
Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez

Azusa USD
Suzanne Kitchens - President-elect
Suzanne Kitchens

Pleasant Valley SD
Susan Heredia - Vice President
Susan Heredia
Vice President

Natomas USD
Emma Turner - Immediate Past President
Emma Turner
Immediate Past President

La Mesa-Spring Valley SD
Frank Magarino - Region 1
Frank Magarino
Region 1

Del Norte County USD
Sherry Crawford - Region 2
Sherry Crawford
Region 2

Siskiyou COE
Tony Ubalde - Region 3
Tony Ubalde
Region 3

Vallejo City USD
Paige Stauss - Region 4
Paige Stauss
Region 4

Roseville Joint
Union HSD
Alisa MacAvoy - Region 5
Alisa MacAvoy
Region 5

Redwood City SD
Darrel Woo - Region 6
Darrel Woo
Region 6

Sacramento City USD
Yolanda Peña Mendrek - Region 7
Yolanda Peña Mendrek
Region 7

Liberty Union HSD
Matthew Balzarini - Region 8
Matthew Balzarini
Region 8

Lammersville USD

GovernanceCorner Practical tips from our MIG faculty

The importance of superintendent evaluations
The strength of a governing board is based upon how strong the board’s relationship is with the superintendent. To have a strong relationship, it is imperative that the board and superintendent communicate so that they may build a relationship founded in trust.

When used effectively, a superintendent evaluation can be a communication tool between the board and superintendent. The evaluation is how the board and superintendent measure the district’s progress in accomplishing the goals that will help the district realize its vision. When boards can focus on the goals and vision, they are better able to move the needle on student achievement.

What the California Science Test scores say about access and opportunity
The first statewide results of the California Science Test (CAST) were released by the California Department of Education in February. The new assessment is tied to the California Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which districts have been in the process of implementing since their adoption in spring 2013. Students in grades 5, 7, 10, 11 and 12 take the CAST.
While NGSS implementation is a work in progress and will take time, what is clear from the scores is that achievement is low among all students and even lower among student groups that have been historically underserved. Overall, only 29.9 percent of all students met grade-level standards.
Outcomes by economic status and ethnicity
The results for economically disadvantaged students reflect similar gaps found in Smarter Balanced tests for math and English language arts, with only 18.8 percent of economically disadvantaged students meeting or exceeding science standards, compared to 46.3 percent of non-economically disadvantaged students.
Public schools and parents’ free speech rights
In deciding a lawsuit that involved a Washington State school district, the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit offered some reminders about the requirements for applying the First Amendment to the United States Constitution in a public school setting.
Looking up public schools and parents’ free speech rights

In L.F. v. Lake Washington School District #414, a parent of two daughters sued the district, claiming that the district’s imposition of a communication plan that restricted the parent’s interactions with school personnel violated the parent’s First Amendment rights.

At the trial court, the district contended that the parent had engaged in a pattern of “sending incessant emails to staff accusing them of wrongdoing, making presumptuous demands, leveling demeaning insults, … and in face-to-face interactions, acting in an aggressive, hostile, and intimidating manner.” Accordingly, the district developed a communication plan to address the unproductive communication pattern. Substantively, the communication plan limited the parent’s communications with the district about his children to bi-weekly, in-person meetings with two district administrators and advised the parent to refrain from emailing or communicating with other district employees. By its terms, the communication plan did not apply to an emergency and did not affect the parent’s right to appeal a decision affecting his daughters’ education, accessing school records or attending school activities.

Sweeping reforms affect charter school authorization and renewal processes
California has the highest number of charter schools in the nation, with more than 1,300 charters serving 10 percent of the state’s students. The dramatic growth in charter schools has affected school districts and county offices of education and the students they serve, presenting a challenge for governing boards to meet oversight responsibilities for the charter schools they authorize and to address the fiscal impact that the charters have on the entire school community.
Teaching in a classroom aerial view

Effective July 1, 2020, Assembly Bill 1505 will bring the most extensive changes to the Charter Schools Act since it was enacted in 1992, including significant revisions to the processes, timelines and criteria for authorizing and renewing charters. Many of these amendments address concerns that were raised by CSBA’s Charter School Task Force in its 2018 report, Uncharted Waters: Recommendations for Prioritizing Student Achievement and Effective Governance in California’s Charter Schools.

Timelines for public hearings for charter authorization and renewal have been extended. Within 60 days of the date that the petitioner submits the charter school petition to the district or COE office, a public hearing must be held to determine the level of support for the petition by teachers, other employees and parents/guardians. The board’s final decision to grant or deny the petition must be made at a public hearing within 90 days of the receipt of the petition.

CSBA’s new Online Learning Center offers valuable benefits to members
CSBA recently launched its expanded Online Learning Center, which allows CSBA members to continue their education at a time and place that is most convenient for them with modules covering everything from governance and policy to finance. Pricing details and information about how to sign up is available at

To help inform members about the new platform, California School News reached out to Naomi Eason, CSBA Assistant Executive Director, Member Services.

CSNews: First off, what should CSBA members know about the key features of the expanded Online Learning Center?

The new platform offers access to learning 24/7 from the comfort of your home. It features a breadth and depth of content developed specifically for California board members with an emphasis on best practices related to governance, the primary role of our members.

School leaders play a part in an accurate census count
Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau counts every person living in the United States. The census provides critical data that lawmakers, school leaders, business owners and many others use to provide daily services, products and support for you and your community.
Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to schools, hospitals, fire departments, roads and other resources based on census data. The results of the census also determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and they are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.
1M Children Icon
In the 2010 Census, nearly 1 million children were not counted, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
In mid-March, households across California and the country will begin receiving invitations to complete the 2020 U.S. Census. People will be able to respond for their residence in one of three ways: online, by phone or by mail. By April 1, national Census Day, every home will have received an invitation to participate.
county boards
Alameda COE Opportunity Academy offers students a second chance
Every day, Felicia Murphy looks at her cap and gown. “It’s surreal,” she says. “For the first time in my life I set a goal and completed it.”
Murphy is one of 90 students who graduated last fall from the Alameda County Office of Education Opportunity Academy (AOA) and are starting a new chapter in their lives, high school diploma in hand, after a nontraditional path to commencement.

The Opportunity Academy serves students who have previously separated from school or have been unsuccessful in school, desire a high school diploma and will benefit from support with employment readiness and obtaining employment. Opportunity Academy utilizes an independent studies format with blended-learning models, incorporating computer-based curriculum, small group instruction, independent and classroom-based study options.

UpcomingEvents info: 800-266-3382
Register for any of these events at

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

March 26–27 | West Sacramento
Masters in Governance Couses 1 & 2

March 27 | Santa Rosa
The Brown Act

March 28 | Santa Rosa
Masters in Governance Course 5

Thanks for reading our March 2020 newsletter!