ATASCADERO — The Atascadero Unified School District (AUSD) Board of Trustees met on Tuesday, Feb. 2, for a meeting that contained both the naming of a new facility and information regarding Atascadero Unified School District’s budget. The meeting also covered the initial bargaining proposals between AUSD and the Atascadero District Teachers Association (ADTA).

Superintendent Tom Butler used his report to explain some recent developments in the District’s ability to return to in-person instruction per the new guidelines laid out by the State and San Luis Obispo County Department of Health. SLO County is currently in the purple tier; however, if the county makes it into the red tier and is certified, schools can open for in-person instruction after five days. Previously, it was two weeks after being certified before a school district could open.

The next item on the agenda for Tuesday night was the new Black Box Theater’s naming, which was recently finished along with several other construction projects on the Atascadero High School (AHS) campus.

The citizens’ advisory committee and the Board of Trustees were in unanimous agreement to name the theater after Mr. Stu Stoddard, who served the District for 29 years before retiring in 2018. The theater’s name will be “Stu’s Studio: The Stoddard Center for the Arts.”

Getting through this together, Atascadero

After a round of kind words and old stories from the Board, Stoddard was given the floor and took the viewers on a delightful, well-articulated journey down the path of the high school facilities on the hill.

“I am admittedly humbled to share the identity with such a structure or to be tied to the education that will most assuredly continue within its walls,” Stoddard said. “Knowledge is in every country the surest basis for public happiness, that was George Washington.”

Following Stoddard’s prepared words, Assistant Superintendent Jackie Martin joined the Zoom to give information on the District’s budget based on the Governors January 2021 State Budget Proposal. The theme of the Governor’s budget is recovery and helping open schools as the Country makes its way into year two of living under lockdown.

Martian explained that as of now, the District is good but is still worrisome of 2022-2023 as the money is based on average daily attendance (ADA), and the District’s enrollment has continued to drop. The District has been funded by the 2019-20 ADA for the past two years and is worried about a substantial decrease in 2022 if the funding is based on that year, but noted this is not a situation unique to Atascadero and that the State is aware of the problem.

In closing, the Board of Trustees and ADTA exchanged their initial bargaining proposals for 2020-2021, which will begin the negotiations’ formal process and be addressed further in future Board meetings.

To watch this or any School Board of Trustees meetings, subscribe to the District’s page on Youtube.com.