ATASCADERO — The Atascadero Unified School District (AUSD) Board of Trustees came together for their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday night, Jun. 1 for a very lengthy, informational session on budgets, both at the State level and school level as well as the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP).

The meeting opened with the customary pledge of allegiance and went right into thanking and honoring all of the AUSD staff that has retired in the last two years. Videos were played for the Trustees and the public from many different sites across the District, including the high school, middle school, and several elementary schools, appreciating all levels of employees from former Principal Bill Neely to food service workers Jeryl Wells and Jutta Wilson. Altogether, just under 40 employees were thanked.

Following the recognition of teachers now enjoying retirement, the meeting turned to appreciate a current teacher, April Haworth, who was recognized for the core value of excellence at Atascadero High School. Haworth serves as the high school’s special education department chair and is also the head coach for the Greyhound cheer team.

For the third consecutive board meeting, members of the public once again showed up to voice their concerns and make their demands surrounding potential masks and vaccine mandates for the upcoming school year. Once those in person were finished presenting, a few emails were also read into the record.

Getting through this together, Atascadero

During his Superintendent report, Tom Butler made a minor revision to the reopening plan by allowing the return of school field trips that had been previously banned during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“All of our regular mechanisms remain in play, which means approval by a site Principal, a certain number of chaperones, and safety requirements,” Butler explained. “This would be another way to help our students continue to come back to that more traditional schooling and be able to have some of the similar experiences that they have had in the past.”

Butler noted that the District does not know at this time if a complete reopening plan will be required next year but will continue to work on one to be ahead of the curve, should the time come where they need one. He continued stating that the District will be working on a large-scale revision to the plan in the near future, specifically after Jun. 15, when California is expected to drop all mask mandated and social distancing protocols.

“We are doing a comprehensive revision of this plan, so everything will be up to date, and everything that will be required will be ready for you in August if we want to meet early than late July,” Butler said.

After a little discussion, the Trustees seemed in agreement that a special meeting, or two, over the summer might be needed.

Next, the meeting was opened for two public hearings regarding LCAP and the 2019-2020 annual budget and reserves. No one from the public commented on either.

Assistant Superintendent Jackie Martin joined the Board of Trustees meeting and briefly explained Governor Gavin Newsom’s May revised budget proposal and its effect on AUSD. In her presentation, Martin noted that local educational leaders could look forward to increased revenues that will help them expand access to high-quality educational and support services to California’s 6 million students, including programs to accelerate and enrich academic learning.

Essentially, the State is providing more money for schools in the form of one-time grants to help with the fallout and lost learning from the year of abrupt distance learning forced due to COVID-19.

To watch this or any of the Atascadero School Board meetings, subscribe to the District’s youtube page.

The next scheduled board meeting is next week on Jun. 8 at 7 p.m.