COVID-19 vaccinations will not be required for the 2022-23 school year

ATASCADERO — Atascadero Unified School District (AUSD) met for their regularly scheduled board meeting on Tuesday, April 19, at 7 p.m. following the school board’s 6 p.m. closed session.

Tonya Pennington was recognized as a transportation hero. Pennington, a school bus driver for AUSD, was celebrated for her quick thinking when she was driving the Atascadero High baseball team home from a game in Morro Bay on April 2. While driving, she heard a loud pop and pulled the bus over on Highway 41, told the baseball coaches to evacuate the team, and then went to the engine compartment with a fire extinguisher, where she found the engine on fire. She delegated emergency calls, moved the students away from the bus, and even went back into the bus to retrieve the players’ gear.

“I am so proud of Tonya,” said Louise Mayhew, Assistant Director of Support Services over Food Services and Transportation. “She kept her cool; she used her school bus training to keep all the students and coaches safe while her bus was on fire. Her favorite bus.”


A handful of other faculty members were also celebrated for their hand in helping during the event.

Vy Pierce addressed the board during Oral Communications from the Public, thanking them for approving an overnight Disneyland trip for the AHS Instrumental Music Program. AHS will be taking 73 students to Disneyland. The students will get to work with professional musicians in a recording studio, play and record a selection from a Disney film, and then will be shown the film clip with their orchestration over it. The students raised over $22,000, so each family only had to pay $50 a student to go on the trip. 

“I want to take this opportunity to highlight what an amazing group of students we have and what an amazing music program we have in this district, from the middle school on through to the high school,” Pierce added. 

During his Superintendent’s Report, Tom Butler addressed the recent announcements from lawmakers in Sacramento regarding COVID-19 vaccines in public schools. The two proposed bills requiring students and K-12 employees to have vaccines were stopped and are no longer moving forward. 

“This means that all students can attend school this fall regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status and that all K-12 employees can continue to work regardless of their vaccination status,” said Butler. “The California Department of Public Health released a statement saying ‘the earliest a vaccine requirement could be in place would be July 1 of 2023.’”

The minutes and Consent Agenda were approved unanimously. The Consent Agenda included a $15,000 donation to the Atascadero High School Library from the Pakis Family Foundation.

Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Jackie Martin asked the board for its approval on the funding source for the High School Exterior A Building Plaster, Repair, and Paint Project. The building was constructed in the early 1990s.

“We are requesting approval to move forward using State Facility Matching dollars,” added Martin. 

The item was approved unanimously by the board. 

Resolution #16-21-22 Education Protection Account for 22-23 was brought forward and passed unanimously.

Resolution #17-22-23 Temporary Borrowing Between Funds Fiscal Year 22-23, Resolution #18-22-23 Year End Transfer Authorization, and a new position added to the salary schedule was also brought to the school board. All three items passed unanimously.

Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, E.J. Rossi, gave an information-only presentation on the LCAP Update. In general, the AUSD is meeting or is on its way to meeting all the goals it has set for its 2022 through 2024 LCAP goals. 

The Atascadero Unified School District’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 3, at 7 p.m.