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May 2021 Vol. 27, 5
Expanded learning grants must support learning recovery
ELO Grant Plans are due June 1
Of the $6.6 billion provided to local educational agencies in Assembly Bill 86, $4.6 billion is allocated in the form of Expanded Learning Opportunities Grants. ELO grants can only be used for designated purposes to implement a learning recovery program that provides supplemental instruction, support for social and emotional well-being, and, to the maximum extent permissible under federal guidelines, meals and snacks to, at a minimum, students in identified groups.

The California Department of Education on March 26 released a template for the Expanded Learning Opportunities Grant Plan that LEAs must complete and adopt at a public meeting on or before June 1, 2021, as a condition for receiving the grant. The template can be found on the CDE’s website and at Approved plans must be submitted to the county office of education, the CDE or the LEA’s chartering authority within five days of adoption, as applicable. The plan will explain how the LEA will use funds to implement its learning recovery program.

young male student works at desk
The administration halved its minimum recommended spacing standard for K-12 schools from 6 feet separating each student’s seat to 3 feet between seats and declared that all schools are eligible to open if located in counties with positive case rates below 25 per 100,000 population.
Broadband and labor bills move through Legislature
With early action budget deals in the rearview mirror, the 2021–22 legislative session is now in full swing
More than 2,600 bills have been introduced, and as of this writing, CSBA is monitoring 550 measures that would impact K-12 education in California. Broadband access, early education, ethnic studies and labor relations have emerged as important themes as the Legislature works through legislation in ongoing policy committee hearings.
Broadband access
Legislators have introduced a number of bills seeking to ensure that every Californian has access to the high-quality broadband necessary for learning and life in the 21st century. In March, CSBA President-elect Dr. Susan Heredia joined Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) and others to announce Assembly Bill 34, known as the Broadband for All Bond Act of 2022, which would place a $10 billion general obligation bond on the November 2022 ballot to expand public broadband infrastructure to address the digital divide and provide access to high-speed, affordable and reliable internet — targeting school districts and other institutions in unserved and underserved rural, urban, suburban and tribal communities.
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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 |

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
Schools need a well-stocked toolbox to serve students this fall
This most unusual school year has yet to end, but much of the focus on K-12 education has turned toward the summer session and the upcoming school year. The concern over how to execute a proper re-entry to full-time, in-person instruction is understandable. The adjustment facing students, families and staff is the biggest in memory — and school boards have the monumental task of guiding this transition under the watchful eyes of an anxious public.

Because the stakes are so high, it’s critical that school districts have the tools and flexibility required to meet student needs and family preferences this summer, this fall and for years to come. We are facing an inflection point for public schools and we must treat this crisis as an opportunity to re-evaluate and reinvigorate the ways in which we serve students. If we do not face this challenge head-on, public trust in our school system will erode, as will our enrollments.

State relaxes distancing requirement to 3 feet
Schools must post COVID safety plan on their websites at least five days prior to reopening
Teacher measuring distance between desks
On Saturday, March 20, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration halved its minimum recommended spacing standard for K-12 schools from 6 feet separating each student’s seat to 3 feet between seats. The updated guidance also declared that all schools are eligible to open if located in counties with positive case rates below 25 per 100,000 population. Regardless of their tier, schools must post their COVID safety plans online at least five days before reopening. As of this writing, no counties remain in the purple tier, which would require schools to submit their plans to their local health officer and the State Safe Schools team at the same time the plan is posted online.
Updated board policy supports student achievement
CSBA’s GAMUT services can help districts ensure their policies are up to date
Lady on laptop
Board policy serves as the foundation for the operation of school districts and county offices of education. It encapsulates the board’s vision, philosophy and goals, incorporates state and federal laws and regulations, and establishes best practices. Board policy is also a governance tool that is critical for executing local control. Establishing structure through policy is one of the board’s central roles for building and maintaining relationships that are essential to successfully serving students. In conjunction with administrative regulations, board policy guides the superintendent in fulfilling the board’s vision when carrying out day-to-day operations. By implementing board policy, districts and COEs actualize the direction set by the board while maintaining confidence that legal obligations are met.
CSBA webinar discusses summer learning resources and strategies
Whether expanding on existing summer learning opportunities to meet newfound student needs or launching new programs to jumpstart learning recovery, there are funding and resources available to assist local educational agencies in meeting their individual goals.

Experts discussed how districts can best leverage state and federal funding to support students and examples of how some LEAs are planning for summer during the April 27 webinar, “School’s in for Summer: Strategies for Successful Summer Programs and Beyond.” The webinar was the first in a two-part series hosted by CSBA addressing strategies, investments and best practices that can guide schools as they prepare for summer school and expanded learning initiatives.

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically affected the lives of students and exacerbated existing inequalities, said CSBA Director of Research and Education Policy Development Mary Briggs.

Combating anti-Asian hate through board action
Supporting and engaging with AAPI families helps to support students
Asian student with his head resting on his arms

Historically, Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage month has been met with lesson plans highlighting the accomplishments of AAPI individuals, preparing dishes from different AAPI cultures or reading books and viewing art showcasing the experience or talents of different people of AAPI descent, past and present.

This year — against a grim backdrop that includes a nearly 150 percent spike in hate crimes against those of AAPI descent in the past year found by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino — there is a stronger sense of urgency to avoid sugarcoating history, and to address the trauma that both students and their families are facing.

CSBA webinar highlights need for universal broadband access
Senator Lena Gonzalez and Assemblymember Al Maratsuchi joined CSBA to talk about their broadband legislation

School board trustees, state legislators, federal advocates, business leaders and more discussed the critical importance of universal broadband access to the state’s K-12 schools and its economic future during an April 20 CSBA webinar, “Broadband for California: Connecting to Our Promise.”

CSBA CEO & Executive Director Vernon M. Billy said it is unconscionable that that all children still do not have adequate and consistent internet service. Inequitable access to technology is hindering the education of some students, particularly those in low-income or rural areas, and effectively bars families from taking proper advantage of everything from accessing telehealth, online banking and government services.

“The internet is essential for full participation in our modern society,” Billy said. “We’ve had decades to solve this problem but we’ve waited until a time of crisis. We can’t wait any longer — the time for universal broadband access is now.”

Governance corner
Practical tips from our MIG faculty
Focusing on equity during distance learning and reopening schools
Little did we know that a year after schools closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, we would still be supporting distance learning for students alongside developing plans for reopening campuses. School boards have grappled with many similar challenges, regardless of location or enrollment, including how to ensure systems of support are in place to serve each and every student, especially our at-promise student groups.

Students of color, those from low-income backgrounds, English learners, students with disabilities, homeless youth and students in foster care were less likely to have rigorous, engaging and positive educational experiences before the pandemic. There is a high probability that school closures will have deepened these existing inequities in our education system. As boards discuss continued distance learning and reopening schools, they can consider the following questions:

  1. How are we ensuring all students maintain access to the devices they need to fully participate in distance learning? What are the considerations for students who want to continue with distance learning now that schools are reopening?
  2. How are we ensuring access to reliable, high-speed internet for all students whose families choose to continue distance learning?

U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether schools may discipline students for off-campus speech

The prevalence of social media has blurred the lines between on and off campus, and complicated regulating student speech
A speech bubble paper cut-out on an orange background behind barbed wire
The United States Supreme Court has been petitioned in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. to decide whether its landmark 1969 decision, Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, applies to student speech that occurs off campus. The question has become more critical in an era of social media, as off-campus student speech can more easily reach the school environment.

Nominations open for CCBE Officers and Outstanding Legislator Award

Being a California County Boards of Education officer is not only an opportunity to be a strong voice and integral part of CCBE, but it provides county board members the ability to help shape education in California for many years to come.

Nominations are now being accepted for CCBE 2022 President-elect, Vice President and Treasurer. Candidates do not need to be current or previous members of CSBA’s Delegate Assembly or CCBE Board of Directors. Nominations must be received by CCBE no later than Friday, July 31 at 5 p.m.


Outstanding Legislator Award

Do you know a state or federal lawmaker who has gone above and beyond in support of public school students and county offices of education? CCBE encourages county boards to nominate a member of the California State Legislature, the California Congressional delegation or another federal or state elected or appointed official for CCBE’s 2021 Outstanding Legislator Awards program. The award is bestowed upon a state or federal lawmaker who has been actively involved in legislation or legislative activities supporting the work of county offices of education and their programs. Your nomination should include why your nominee is being recognized and share the story explaining how the work they are doing supports COEs and their student populations. The nomination should also photos or supporting articles and/or documentation and information about the problem and solution of the legislation they are supporting.

Register early for the CCBE Annual Conference

Registration for the 2021 CCBE Annual Conference opens May 20. The conference planning committee has high hopes that health conditions and proper mitigation strategies will allow for an in-person event Sept. 10–12 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Monterey, Calif. If not, the conference will be virtual.

The planning committee is working to provide a conference that will inspire attendees to enhance their knowledge about the county board member leadership role, make decisions through an equity lens to effectively respond to the diverse needs of students, build leadership skills to become effective agents of change through a high-functioning team, and learn innovative tools and policies that are necessary to support 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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Thanks for reading our May 2021 newsletter!