Trustees addressed on district’s cybersecurity

ATASCADERO — The Atascadero Unified School District (AUSD) met for their regularly scheduled trustee meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 3, at 7 p.m.

Principal Sarah Betz addressed the board with a school presentation on Santa Rosa Academic Academy. She stated that the school year is off to a great start at the school. 

“Mr. Neff and I just happened to be at Santa Rosa earlier this week, and wow, the campus was spotless,” Superintendant Tom Butler told Betz at the start of his Superintendent’s Report. “Kids were taking great care with their campus but were super focused in their classrooms. Everything you were talking about about your culture, your focus on MTSS, supporting good citizenship, it’s all coming to fruition. So, great job for you and your staff. I really thought it was fantastic.”  


During the trustee board report, multiple trustees congratulated past AHS teacher and trustee board member Donn Clickard on his role as King at the upcoming Colony Days Parade.

Both the minutes and the consent agenda passed unanimously. 

Director of Technology Jeff McKaughan gave the board a Cybersecurity Update. He stated that Cybersecurity is the process of protecting the district’s networks, data, and information from unauthorized access and criminal activity and keeping our data’s integrity and confidentiality. This was an informational item.

“Why am I talking about it and bringing it up? Because it hit close to home,” McKaughan said. “SLOCO, our County Office of Education, was hit with something in June of 2023. It really affected all the districts across the county. Law enforcement was involved, and I know that we’ve recognized our Business Services Department for the amount of work they put in.” 

Current tools the AUSD has to fight cybersecurity attacks are content filters, in-point protection, professional development and technology leader team, and a Google workspace. They also have a security operations center with a team of security analysts looking at what’s happening. Just to name a few of the measures in place. Also, students in eighth grade and younger cannot email anyone outside of the district’s network. 

Butler gave an information-only AUSD Demographics Update to the board. 

Assistant Superintendant of Business Services Jackie Martin gave an enrollment update, though official enrollment was counted on Wednesday, Oct. 4, the day after the meeting. As of last week, AUSD had 4,350 students in attendance. 

“Last year, October 2022, our enrollment was 4,297. So we are up right now,” Martin said. “We’re 53 students over last year. It’s kind of a shocker because we’re up 111 over what I budgeted. So this is excellent news.” 

The most significant areas of growth in enrollment over what was expected were kindergarten and third-grade classes.

Martin also brought three Performance Audits before the trustee board, and all three of them passed unanimously. 

Martin then went onto item 13.5, Project Priority Listing for State School Matching Facility Funding.

“The purpose of priority listing is to allow us to start working on projects and know what is the board’s priority,” Martin said. “What are we going to bring to the board next as a possible project? That way, we don’t have to do it every time we’re looking at a project. We can move along and efficiently bring you items that make sense, that you’ve already discussed, you’ve already prioritized.”

The board went into a discussion, with some of the board members, including Matt Pennon, asking that the Fine Arts Academy be included in the school list for repairs.

At the top of the priority list were deferred maintenance, the AHS multipurpose room, AHS site safety, security, front entry improvement, playground replacement, and district-wide shade structures.

The item passed in 6-1 vote, with Pennon voting no.

The board also approved a resolution presented by Assistant Superintendant of Human Resources Dan Neff. The item was a proclamation declaring the week of Oct. 8 through 14, Week of the School Administrator. 

The next regularly scheduled AUSD school board meeting will be on Tuesday, Oct. 17, at 7 p.m.