California School News logo
October 2021 Vol. 27, 10
CSBA webinar offers tips on governing during chaotic times
Board members, CSBA leadership, attorneys and communications experts shared how to manage unruly board meetings
Book of Anti-Discrimination Law
“It’s clear that it is harder to be a school trustee now than it ever has been before,” CSBA CEO & Executive Director Vernon M. Billy said during the association’s Sept. 13 webinar, “Governing in a Time of Chaos: Board Meetings in the Age of COVID and CRT.”

In recent months, board members across California have been subject to verbal and physical assaults, death threats, been forced to abandon meetings because of disruptions and have had to hire security in some instances. These tensions are due in large part to anger over state-imposed COVID-19 mitigation strategies like wearing masks and debates on ethnic studies and critical race theory.

children sit with their hand raised at their desks


As the pandemic drags on throughout the country, guidance for local educational agencies has been balancing two major goals: keeping students safe and keeping them in school.
Register for the Coast2Coast federal advocacy trip
Take your advocacy to the next level this spring in Washington, D.C.
Coast2Coast federal advocacy trip banner
Join CSBA and the Association of California School Administrators’ Coast2Coast 2022 federal advocacy trip to Washington, D.C. from April 25–27 to shine a light on the issues affecting the state’s 6 million students. California governance team members — school and county board members and superintendents — are urged to attend this three-day inaugural event held in our nation’s capital.

The event will begin with a day of education policy issues specific to California, an “insider’s” briefing on the latest politics affecting federal education policy, and a networking opportunity with prominent D.C. figures and fellow educators. The training is followed by two days of meetings on Capitol Hill to advocate directly with California congressional representatives, White House officials, key federal agency leaders and other top policymakers.

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Chief Information Officer:
Troy Flint |

Managing Editor:
Kimberly Sellery |

Marketing Director:

Andy Rolleri |

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: Dr. Susan Heredia

School staffing shortages put damper on historic infusion of funds

After decades of inadequate funding, it took an unprecedented global pandemic that shut down most schools in California for more than a year to finally receive an infusion of funds that can help us provide the resources for every student to succeed. The state’s local educational agencies are receiving billions of dollars of relief funding from the state and federal governments to aid students in learning acceleration and to provide high-dosage tutoring, extended learning time in before- and after-school programs, social-emotional support and trauma-informed practices — all worthy and necessary goals in order to help students heal and get back on track. There is one major problem, however: LEAs across the state are facing staffing shortages that make this work difficult, if not impossible, to implement.

A March 2021 report from the Learning Policy Institute, California Teachers and COVID-19: How the Pandemic Is Impacting the Teacher Workforce, found that most districts are experiencing teacher shortages, especially for math, science, special education and bilingual education. The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, or CalSTRS, reported a 26-percent increase in the number of teacher retirements in the second half of 2020, compared with the same period in 2019. And in the 2020–21 school year, 13,558 of California’s teachers retired, 1,000 more than the previous year.

Back-to-school lessons on COVID-19 covered at CSBA webinar
State updates recommendations for extracurriculars and quarantine
an instructor uses and iPad and sits with students
Dr. Naomi Bardach, team lead for California Safe Schools for All, gave an update on the status of COVID-19 in the state as well as lessons learned this back-to-school season during the CSBA webinar, “Governing in a Time of Chaos: Board Meetings in the age of COVID and CRT.”

As the pandemic drags on and the delta variant continues its rapid spread throughout the country — the variant accounts for 90 percent of California infections and 99 percent in the U.S. — guidance for local educational agencies has been balancing two major goals: keeping students safe and keeping them in school.

Which bills did not survive the 2021–22 legislative session?
The 2021–22 legislative session ended on Sept. 10; Gov. Newsom has until Oct. 10 to sign or veto bills
California State Capitol Museum
Despite the many challenges of governing during a pandemic, the final hours of the first year of the 2021–22 legislative session were unusually quiet. While a number of key K-12 bills made it to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk, some of the year’s most prominent education proposals were already accomplished through the budget process, and COVID-era limits on the number of bills legislators could carry whittled down the list even further. Education bills tabled for 2021 include legislation on late start implementation, facilities funding and charter authorization — but these are likely to resurface when the Legislature returns in January 2022.
Call for nominations for 2022 Delegate Assembly elections
Delegate Assembly nominations and biographical sketches due Friday, Jan. 7, 2022
11/1/21 marked on calendar
Call for nominations for CSBA’s Delegate Assembly will open Nov. 1, 2021. CSBA member boards may nominate board members to run for election up until Jan. 7, 2022. Nominees are required to submit a completed, signed and dated biographical sketch form by Jan. 7; an optional one-page, one-sided resume may be submitted as well. The election period for boards to vote runs from Feb. 1 to March 15. Elected delegates serve two-year terms beginning April 1, 2022 through March 31, 2024.
Governance corner
Practical tips from our MIG faculty
Handling public comment at board meetings

An important component of a school board meeting is public comment. We want to hear from our stakeholders. The pandemic and its connected issues have resulted in increased attendance and an increase in public requests to speak at school board meetings. One best practice for governance teams during public comment is to set a specific time limit for each speaker and for each agenda item.

For example, CSBA sample Board Bylaw 9323 states that “in general, individual speakers are allowed three minutes to address the board on each agenda or non-agenda item, and the board will limit the total time for public input on each item to 20 minutes. However, in exceptional circumstances when necessary to ensure full opportunity for public input, the board president may, with board consent, adjust the amount of time allowed for public input and/or the time allotted for each speaker. Any such adjustment shall be done equitably to allow for a diversity of viewpoints. The president may also ask members of the public with the same viewpoint to select a few individuals to address the board on behalf of that viewpoint.

In order to ensure that non-English speakers receive the same opportunity to directly address the board, any member of the public who utilizes a translator shall be provided at least twice the allotted time to address the board. This is true unless simultaneous translation equipment is used to allow the board to hear the translated public testimony simultaneously.” (Government Code 54954.3)

2022 CSBA officer candidates
CSBA’s Nominating Committee met on Sept. 18, 2021, to interview the candidate for President-elect, Susan Markarian, Pacific Union Elementary School District. Following the interview and the committee’s deliberation, the committee nominated Susan Markarian as candidate for President-elect.

Qualified individuals interested in being nominated from the floor of the Delegate Assembly for either President-elect or Vice President must submit a complete Declaration of Candidacy packet along with their written intention to run on or before Monday, Nov. 1, 2021. Intentions to run from the floor and the packet must be submitted to CSBA President Susan Heredia at and the Nominating Committee Chair Daniel Babshoff at

State Board Report: SBE tackles complex issues as COVID complications linger
Changes to LCAP template raised questions among the board; shorter Smarter Balanced assessments approved
At its Sept. 9 meeting, several members of the State Board of Education expressed concerns regarding draft Local Control and Accountability Plan template and instructions changes. The changes incorporated requirements in Senate Bill 98 and Assembly Bill 130 — legislation passed in response to the pandemic — and board members said the document has strayed too far from its original intent.

“When I think about what the LCAP was intended to do — to be a strategic document to guide instructional planning and provide services to our most needy students — I’m afraid that it has turned into a complex accounting document that only CPAs [certified public accountants] can understand and only CPAs can fill out,” said board member Sue Burr. “How can we return to what the original intent was while still keeping the needed accountability?”

U.S. Supreme Court to rule on case regarding censure of elected board members
Does the First Amendment restrict the authority of an elected body to censure a member?
Little Justice Statue
The United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case, Houston Community College System v. Wilson, to determine whether the First Amendment restricts the authority of a school board or other elected body to censure speech by one of its members. Argument before the Supreme Court is set for Nov. 2, 2021.

School and county boards of education, like other elected bodies, can make political statements as a collective entity, and can take actions to dissociate themselves from the statements of an individual member, at times using the legislative mechanism of censure to do so. Many boards in California have a policy explicitly allowing the board to censure individual members under certain circumstances, and the often-used Robert’s Rules of Order authorizes the practice.

CDE releases first set of growth model data
Based on historical assessments; a release incorporating new test scores will not happen until 2024
Teacher teaching to students on a whiteboard while wearing a mask
The California Department of Education on Sept. 22 released the initial set of historical student growth data on student achievement for English language arts and math on its Growth Model webpage.

The new model aggregates and reports data by local educational agency and student group, including racial and ethnic categories and other student characteristics. A score of 100 means that, on average, students are meeting their expected growth. A score below 100 means that, on average, students scored lower than their expected growth and vice versa.

Fresno County program increases access to youth mental health services
All 4 Youth is a partnership between the Fresno County Office of Education and the local behavioral health department
A student talking to a counselor

Mental health issues among children, teens and young adults — specifically, depression, anxiety, substance abuse disorders and an alarming trend toward suicide — represent a growing problem across the country and, in recent years, have increased significantly. Creating access for youth to appropriate mental health services is particularly challenging in areas such as Fresno County, due to its large size and the make-up of its communities. Fresno County is over 6,000 square miles and is home to a high percentage of farming and agricultural communities in rural and remote regions with limited resources. Many families in these areas, as well as metro areas, face challenges related to poverty, trauma, food insecurity and lack of access to health care. All these factors contribute to mental health challenges.

Bullying prevention starts with relationships
October’s National Bullying Prevention Month is an opportunity to educate and raise awareness of bullying

Between the lack of face-to-face socialization children have had with peers over the last year and a half and the trauma experienced by many as a result of the pandemic, education officials have been preparing to handle challenging student behaviors through expanded social-emotional curriculum, relationship-building and open communication.

As it happens, those strategies are likely to aid in the prevention of bullying, according to Judy French, National Bullying Prevention Center coordinator at the center’s Los Angeles office. Because bullying is a learned social behavior, social-emotional learning provides an opportunity to set kids on a different path and build stronger relationships with school staff.

“Once you understand that bullying is a learned behavior, that there are things we can do to create healthier communities, why not do them?” French asked. “We’re starting to see that the social-emotional learning helps facilitate healthier relationships, helps facilitate communication. Those are linchpins for solving problems like bullying. And that’s what I think is the biggest difference over the last few years, not that bullying can get more complex and sophisticated, but that we have a better idea of how to prevent it, not just intervene.”

CCBE’s 2021 hybrid conference explores new computer science education initiative and more

A record-setting 177 county education leaders registered for CCBE’s 2021 Annual Conference from Sept. 10–12 at the Hyatt Regency Monterey. About 50 registrants attended virtually in the organization’s first hybrid conference. Conference committee chair and CCBE President-elect Joe Ross of the San Mateo County Office of Education credited CCBE and CSBA staff for “making the event run so smoothly.”

The conference kicked-off with the “Pure Politics” keynote panel with Capitol Advisors representatives Kevin Gordon, Jack O’Connell and Barrett Snider. Four days prior to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recall election, O’Connell shared his opinion on what the outcome, one way or the other, could mean for public schools.

While discussing the future of education funding in an era of statewide declining enrollment, Snider said local educational agencies are “going to need to change the hearts and minds of the public” if they are going to convert to a different allocation formula, such as funding based on enrollment.

UpcomingEvents info: 800-266-3382
Attention: All listed events will take place virtually. For more information about events, visit
Virtual Events
Oct. 15-16
MIG Course 4: Human Resources/Collective Bargaining
Oct. 18 & 20
MIG Course 4: Human Resources/Collective Bargaining
Oct. 21 & 23
MIG COE Course 4: Charter Schools
Oct. 27
Student Board Member Fall Training Session
Oct. 29-30
IG Course 5: Community Relations & Advocacy/Governance Integration
Nov. 4
The Brown Act
Nov. 4 & 6
MIG COE Course 5: Community Relations & Advocacy/ Governance Integration
Nov. 5
MIG Course 5
Dec. 9-10
2021 Annual Education Conference and Trade Show
In-person events
Dec. 2-4
2021 Annual Education Conference and Trade Show
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Thanks for reading our October 2021 newsletter!