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May 2022 Vol. 28, 5

CSBA makes school transportation funding a top priority in sponsorship of AB 2933
New legislation would reimburse 100 percent of transportation expenses

Despite having the most students of any state and a booming budget, California ranks last in providing transportation to its public school students. While the home-to-school transportation program’s benefits of improved student safety, increased school attendance, and decreased traffic congestion and carbon footprint are well documented, the share of California public school students being bused to school has dropped drastically over the last 40 years from one in four to one in eight.

Addressing this failure is a top priority for CSBA in 2022. The association is sponsoring new legislation to reverse the long-term erosion of funding for vital home-to-school transportation services.

attendees of the Coast2Coast event in Washington, D.C.
School trustees and superintendents from across California traveled to Washington, D.C. as part of Coast2Coast, the inaugural CSBA-ACSA federal advocacy trip.
CSBA adopts new strategic priorities

Priorities will be implemented in 2023

At its March 2022 meeting, the CSBA Board of Directors approved four new strategic priorities.

  • Priority 1: Provide member boards quality education research, robust policy tools and support to equip them to create the equitable conditions for every student to succeed.
  • Priority 2: Develop pertinent and interactive training that creates knowledgeable, engaged and effective local board members.
  • Priority 3: Increase the number of governing board members CSBA mobilizes to leverage our collective voice and to advocate for public education at the local, state and federal levels.
  • Priority 4: Pursue excellence in association leadership as the Board of Directors strives to achieve the guiding principles found in CSBA’s Vision, Mission and Equity statements.

“As CSBA Directors, one of our primary responsibilities is to establish priorities that are aligned with the association’s values and designed to advance its mission,” said CSBA President Dr. Susan Heredia. “Our new strategic priorities reinforce CSBA’s commitment to innovative research, unparalleled education policy and governance training services; aggressive legislative and legal advocacy; and strong, consistent leadership for California’s TK-12 public schools.”

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Chief Information Officer:
Troy Flint |

Editorial Director:
Kimberly Sellery |

Marketing Director:

Andy Rolleri |

Staff Writers and Contributors:
Alisha Kirby |
Heather Kemp |
Teresa Machado |
Kristin Lindgren |
Emily Baker |

Graphic Design & Branding Director:
Kerry Macklin |

Senior Graphic Designer:
Amanda Moen |

Dr. Susan Heredia | Natomas USD

Susan Markarian | Pacific Union ESD

Vice President:
Albert Gonzalez | Santa Clara USD

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: Dr. Susan Heredia
The bus stops here: Why the state needs to fund home-to-school transportation
Not every well-meaning response to a problem is the right solution. Good policy not only solves the problem in theory — it also works in practice. That’s why Assembly Bill 2933 (O’Donnell, D-Long Beach) is the only way to address home-to-school transportation without depriving California students of critical programs and services.
two kids wearing backpacks and a woman walk by a bus toward houses in a neighborhood

Unlike other states, California doesn’t provide busing for all students. Most school districts and county offices of education offer busing strictly for students in special education programs and, even for these students, existing state funding is far less than what is required to pay for a busing program. Overall, only about one in 10 California students takes a bus to school. On average, California reimburses schools for less than 30 percent of home-to-school transportation costs, with dozens of districts receiving less than 10 cents on the dollar.

Inaugural Coast2Coast Federal Advocacy Trip brings California’s issues to Washington, D.C.
State education leaders get unprecedented access to D.C. legislators and policymakers
CSBA CEO & Executive Director Vernon M. Billy and incoming ACSA Executive Director Edgar Zazueta with members of the Greenfield Union School District governance team
CSBA CEO & Executive Director Vernon M. Billy and incoming ACSA Executive Director Edgar Zazueta with members of the Greenfield Union School District governance team.

A vision years in the making came to fruition when school trustees and superintendents from across California traveled to Washington, D.C. as part of Coast2Coast, the inaugural CSBA-Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) federal advocacy trip. The three-day event offered education leaders a chance to communicate directly with their representatives in the nation’s capital and also learn from some of the country’s top policymakers and political experts.

California delays student vaccine mandate
CDPH updates vaccine requirements and quarantine guidance for K-12 schools
bottles of Coronavirus vaccine

Senate Health Committee Chair Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) announced on April 14 that he had pulled a bill that would have mandated vaccines for all children to attend school or child care while granting no personal belief exemption. Pan said the focus right now needs to be on making sure families can access the vaccine for their children.

A few hours later, the California Department of Public Health announced it would not begin the process of adding the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of mandated childhood vaccines because it has not been approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration. CDPH had intended to require it for the upcoming 2022–23 school year, but now that won’t happen until at least July 1, 2023. The department said in a statement that once the COVID vaccines for children receive full approval, it would consider the recommendations of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccine advisory committee, the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Family Physicians before issuing a school vaccine requirement.

Supporting mental health in the AAPI community
AAPI students face unique barriers to mental health support
a woman of AAPI decent speaks in a group meeting
Tackling stigma and the model minority myth is the first step to addressing the mental health needs of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students, according to a panel of school officials and health specialists who presented during a recent webinar hosted by the Asian Pacific Islander School Board Members Association. National AAPI Heritage Month provides an extra opportunity to focus on the unique needs of AAPI students.

Nina Yuen Loc, director of behavioral health in Los Angeles’ Chinatown Service Center, recounted two stories illustrating how family support can be crucial to those seeking help. The first involved a 17-year-old girl who requested her mom allow her to seek therapy. After her mom dismissed the idea, the girl went to the school counselor, who matched her with the Chinatown Service Center, as they would best understand an AAPI family’s perspective on mental health. Through the assessment process it was discovered that this girl had active suicidal thoughts and a plan. The therapist was concerned for the girl’s safety.

CSBA examines UTK implementation considerations
New policy brief and webinar provide insights
a teacher and students in a kindergarten class using their fingers to count
With local educational agencies preparing to create or expand transitional kindergarten offerings in the coming years, CSBA has developed a variety of resources to support these efforts.

A new research and policy brief, “Advancing Universal Transitional Kindergarten — Questions for School Board Members,” a corresponding quick facts sheet, and a pair of case studies focused on expanding prekindergarten access in San Diego County and the growth of early learning in Palermo Union School District are all available as references for insight and inspiration on looming changes statewide.

Governance corner
Practical tips from our MIG faculty
How do boards address staff wellness opportunities?
teacher smiles in front of a class of students raising their hands

Of CSBA’s hundreds of member school districts and thousands of individual school board trustees, many have considered the issue of staff wellness over the past couple of years.

Accordingly, governance teams have turned more attention to providing opportunities for valued staff members to monitor and maintain a healthy state of wellness. Importantly, having employees demonstrate commitment to good mental and physical health practices in turn has measurable positive impacts on students’ health and resulting academic achievement.

New series of reports detail the need to address ACEs, barriers and best practices
$14.3 million in ACEs Aware grants have been awarded to 100 organizations across California
A December 2020 report, Roadmap for Resilience: The California Surgeon General’s Report on Adverse Childhood Experiences, Toxic Stress, and Health, detailed how Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress can impact learning and school success. Toxic stress can impede learning and affect relationships and other aspects of functioning in school by impairing the areas of the brain responsible for learning, memory, threat detection, emotional regulation, impulse control and executive functioning.

More than 20 ACEs Aware grantees were awarded funding to develop practice papers highlighting promising strategies and lessons learned, as well as new research around ACE screening and trauma-informed systems of care. The practice papers cover a broad range of topics, some of which apply to local educational agencies and the organizations they partner with.

Equity-oriented restorative justice resource library available
Restorative justice practices cut down on exclusionary discipline
adults sit in chairs in a circle engaging in discussion
UCLA’s Center for the Transformation of Schools (the Center) in early April hosted the webinar, “Equity-Oriented Restorative Justice Tools for Schools,” which aimed to show how restorative justice practices can change the relationship students have with their school community while addressing racial disparities in disciplinary practices. Resources, including a library of restorative justice tools for local educational agencies, were also shared.

Restorative justice practices can help educators increase equity and are most impactful when implemented as part of schoolwide efforts to align with the California Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) Framework, explained Timea Farkas, interim research director of California MTSS at the Center.

New teacher credentials increase for the 10th year
ECE Specialist Credential preparation moves forward
two adults have a discussion over a laptop in a classroom
In its first in-person meeting since March 2020, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing approved sending to Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature the report, “Teacher Supply in California, 2020–21,” and conducted a review of four key foundational components for establishing a PK-3 Early Childhood Education (ECE) Specialist Credential for California early childhood teachers.
Candidates earning credentials in 2020–21

Determining teacher supply in California is essential for policymakers as they analyze how current statutes and policies impact teacher recruitment, teaching incentives and teacher preparation. “Teacher Supply in California, 2020–21: A Report to the Legislature” provides data collected by the CTC and addresses several questions regarding the supply of new teachers available for classrooms. The report covers the number of teachers who received credentials, certificates, permits and waivers to teach in California public schools.

A tale of two lawsuits
How different judges saw school district vaccine mandates
a gavel and block with law books in the background
Two lawsuits against vaccine mandates instituted by California’s two largest school districts, Los Angeles Unified School District and San Diego USD, resulted in opposite outcomes at the county superior court level. While both districts still intend to implement the vaccine mandates, the different outcomes in the lower courts demonstrate that the law around vaccine mandates implemented by school districts in California may still be unsettled.
Children’s Health Defense v. Los Angeles Unified School District
On Sept. 9, 2021, the board of education for Los Angeles USD adopted a resolution that required all students 12 years of age and older to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to attend in-person instruction. Unvaccinated students would attend school through independent study. The resolution exempted students with “qualified and approved exemptions and conditional admissions.”
TikTok backlash highlights need to address digital literacy among students, families and policymakers
Consulting firm hired by Meta to spread misinformation
youthful hands holding a smartphone
Last fall, local educational agencies throughout the country were inundated with news of rising youth misbehavior and mental health challenges linked to the social media app TikTok, which has become increasingly popular among children and teens.

Stories of stolen and destroyed soap dispensers, mirrors, sinks and toilets; a “door knocking challenge” in which kids would loudly kick or knock on a door in time with the two drumbeats in a popular Kesha song; youth firing soluble gel beads from airsoft guns at pedestrians and vehicles; investigations launched by a group of bipartisan attorneys general into TikTok and the effect it has on the physical and mental health of the nation’s children and more were shared widely by parents, school and district leaders, police and legislators.

The great “sweep” impacting county offices of education
COEs missing out on key funds
a small model house sits on a table with paper in the foreground while a person works on a laptop out of focus in the background
California school districts and county offices of education are no stranger to the complicated relationship between property taxes and school funding. As property tax rolls continue to swell throughout the state, that relationship has gotten much more complicated, particularly since the implementation of the Trial Court Offset in 2013–14.

Most of the 58 county offices of education are funded similarly to school districts using the Local Control Funding Formula, supported first with local property tax revenue, with the remainder covered by the state’s Proposition 98 General Fund. Certain COEs collect enough property tax revenue in a given year to cover their entire LCFF allotment and often provide funds beyond the LCFF allotment. School districts in these circumstances are allowed to retain and spend these “excess property taxes” for general fund use; these excess property tax school districts are more commonly referred to as “basic aid” school districts. Such is not the case for COEs.

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