City receives Grant that will be put towards two years of summer school

ATASCADERO — The Atascadero Unified School District (AUSD) and its Board of Trustees met on Tuesday night, May 18, for their regularly scheduled meeting. For the second consecutive week, the AUSD staff and Board Members were joined by a group of parents stating their concerns with their children wearing masks and the apparent rumors swirling about mandatory vaccinations for the 2021-2022 school year.

Earlier in the day, AUSD Superintendent Tom Butler released a statement to the parents within the school district addressing the rumors.

Butler stated in his statement, “It has been brought to my attention that a rumor is being circulated regarding the COVID-19 vaccine being required for our staff and students upon return to in-person school in the fall.

Getting through this together, Atascadero

As I have previously stated, there are no plans, now or in the future, to require AUSD employees nor students to be vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus.

To address rumors, please feel free to contact the AUSD Superintendent’s Office for the most up-to-date information at (805)462-4217.”

Four parents spoke during the public comments section of the meeting and asked that a clear plan in an upcoming meeting for the 2021-2022 school year be provided, including requirements for masks and vaccines.

During the Superintendent’s report, Butler addressed the parents stating, “I am proud of the Trustees and our school district staff and all of you. We have come out early with our commitment to full days, full in-person, and full class size next year. We took an early stance on not requiring vaccines. We have come out publicly multiple times, including this meeting, and that goes for our students as well as our employees.”

At this time, the San Luis Obispo County Department of Public Health still requires for teachers and students to wear masks while operating inside a classroom.

Butler also noted that some of the decisions in question come down from other agencies and that passionate community members should continue to reach out to all of them if they want to be heard and make an impact.

Following all the talk around vaccinations and masks, the Board took a five-minute break and reconvened, ready for a brief update on COVID-19 and the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). The District announced that the “Endless Summer” meal program would continue this summer and continue to provide meals to those in need.

The Board of Trustees later approved the week of May 17 through May 21 as Classified School Employee Week before moving on to Business Services and the Expected Learning Opportunities (ELO) Grant.

The Grant is projected to bring a one-time payment of close to $3 million the District must use, at a minimum, to provide meals and snacks, support for social and emotional well-being, and supplemental instruction to students who have faced adverse learning and social-emotional circumstances. Monies received from the ELO must be spent from Jul. 1, 2020, through Aug. 31, 2022. Assistant Superintendent Jackie Martin stated the District did not know about the Grant until recently.

“This is how we anticipate funding summer school for this upcoming summer and next summer. Two years of summer school is the plan,” Martin said in the meeting. “We are also looking at offering additional sections at the middle school and the high school for interventions and for credit recovery. It will not be part of the regular day but extensions outside of the regular day, either a period eight or a period zero. We are looking at offering after-school tutoring to help kids.”

With the funds, Atascadero plans to cover summer school this year and next, provide additional support for credit recovery, and provide after-school tutoring and invention for students who are struggling with lost learning, plus more. The District is already in the process of hiring six new intervention teachers and limited-term instructional assistants.

To view the AUSD Board of Trustees meeting, subscribe to the District’s Youtube channel. For more information and access to the agenda packet and backup material, go to Atasusd.org.