The board unanimously approved the school district to apply for rural exemption from Educational Code section 46148

ATASCADERO—Atascadero Unified School District (AUSD) met for their regularly scheduled board meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 18. The 7 p.m. Open Session meeting proceeded their 6 p.m. Closed Session.

The meeting opened with a motion to move the Dec. 14, 2021 minutes’ approval to the next AUSD board meeting due to not having enough board members in attendance who were not absent in the last meeting. The motion passed unanimously. 

The board then recognized four donations. The Keller Family donated $500 to Santa Rosa Academic Academy. The Blackbaud Giving Fund and PG&E donated $124.98 to Santa Rosa Academic Academy. PG&E matching funds and Charles Taylor donated $240 to Atascadero Fine Arts Academy. Finally, PG&E matching funds and Don Pomi donated $240.00 to San Gabriel Elementary.


The Superintendent’s Report started with Superintendent Tom Butler giving a COVID-19 update. From the middle of Nov. to the middle of Dec., the case average was four to five students a week, with about one staff member testing positive. The last four weeks have seen an uptick in cases. Nov. 20 thru 26 saw 11 students test positive and four staff members. Winter break, Dec. 27 thru Jan. 2, saw 32 students test positive, alongside 12 staff members. Jan. 3 thru Jan. 9 saw 115 students test positive and 30 staff members. Jan. 10 thru Jan. 16 saw 51 students test positive, along with 21 staff members. It’s possible that last week’s numbers could change as more reports come in.

Superintendent Butler then went on to bring up changes to the COVID-19 guidance for Atascadero schools as per the California Department of Public Health. As of now, if a child student tests positive, in five days, after the positive test and is symptom-free, they can take another test. If that test comes back negative, they can return to school on day six. If the student chooses to come back to school, they will need to be masked in and out of doors for days six thru 10. “It’s good for our families to know that if your student tests positive, you don’t have to test at day five; you can fulfill the 10-day quarantine timeframe and then return to school on day 11 without having to test. If you’re symptom-free,” Superintendent Butler added.

The Consent Agenda included overnight travel requests for FFA and AHS’s wrestling teams, as well as the School Accountability Report Card. The agenda passed unanimously.

The board then addressed Item 12.1, in which the board unanimously approved that the school district will take steps to apply for a rural exemption from Educational Code section 46148 that dictates that schools have a later start time of 8:30 a.m. for high school-aged students. The rural exemption would mean that the high schools could return to their original start times.

Then the Assistant Superintendent of Business Services, Jackie Martin, addressed the board with Items 13.1 thru 13.5, which all passed unanimously. 13.6 was informational only and discussed universal Pre-Kindergarten (PK) for all four-year-olds.

As of now, Transitional Kindergarten is offered to four-year-olds whose fifth birthday occurs between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2. Switching to Pre-Kindergarten indicates (not only a name change) but that by the 25-26 fiscal year, three-year-olds who turn four by Sept. 1 will be eligible for Pre-Kindergarten. The 22-23 fiscal year would offer PK to children who turn five between Sept. 2 and Feb. 2.

“So the goal is to eventually have all four-year-olds attend Pre-Kindergarten, and then, if they turn five by Sept. 1, they go right into Kindergarten after that,” said Martin. “It’s really a four-year rollout; that’s what’s being proposed right now.”

Item 13.7, the Annual Finacial Report for the fiscal year ending on June 2021, passed unanimously.

The Atascadero Unified School Districts’ next regularly scheduled meeting will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m.