Board recognized Paloma Creek High School for being a Model Continuation High School

ATASCADERO — Atascadero Unified School District (AUSD) met for their regularly scheduled board meeting on Tuesday, March 15 at 7 p.m. following their 6 p.m. Closed Session.

Paloma Creek High School was recognized for being a Model Continuation High School. Principal, Dr. Libby Madding gave a presentation on all of the school’s achievements this year that earned the school incredible recognition.

“We are so proud; it’s such a wonderful reflection on all the students, the staff, the parents, and the entire school community. A lot to be proud of here, and a lot of hard work goes into making that school so successful to the students that we serve. Dr. Madding, congratulations,” stated Superintendent, Tom Butler. 

Getting through this together, Atascadero

Principal Dr. Madding went on to say, “This quote here, I think sums up, in a very simple way, our belief system at Paloma Creek. And that is that; every student can learn, just not on the same day and not in the same way. Our teachers, our students, know that this is a strong core value of ours,” Madding said. 

Madding showed students at Paloma Creek thriving in their alternative learning environment. The students even developed and led the first-ever Alternative Education Basketball Tournament. They also built a garden shed from start to finish which they gave to Atascadero Middle School. Paloma Creek also took home the trophy for the County-Wide international walk to school day, taking the title from reigning champion, Arroyo Grande High. Just to name a few of their accolades this year. 

The whole Trustee Board had nothing but high praise for Paloma Creek, and everything Principal Madding is doing on campus.

Oral Communications from the Public included six members of the community coming forward. Some made grievances against board member trustees Ray Buban and Terri Switzer for comments made at the March 1 Board meeting. Other members of the community stated their support for the Board. 

“It came to my attention at the last Board meeting; President Terri Switzer and Mr. Buban made some comments. These comments were equating the Holocaust to mask mandates and to vaccine requirements. And to equate the experience of African-Americans and slavery to the same thing. That completely wrong,” John Skinner said.

Rebekah Koznek showed up in support of The First Amendment and the Right to Free Speech. “Whether I agree with what Mr. Buban and what Mrs. Switzer said, that doesn’t matter, but that is your choice and your right to free speech.”

During Oral Communication from the Public, the Trustee Board was also served with papers by April Tarantino.

“Tonight, I will be serving each of you with a letter of intent to file a claim against your school insurance policy that is held by a risk management company in lieu of your individual liability bonds that are required by State law for every person that is elected or appointed to government or public office.” Tarantino continued, “In your policy, each occurrence is one claim filed against your policy. For each occurrence carries a predetermined deductible that you must pay prior to the insurance company covering the rest for damages. That means you could lose your house, your cars, your job, your retirement, etcetera if you do not pay attention. You are in violation of multiple state, federal, and international laws, and based on this most recent case in Illinois, you could be facing time in Federal Prison for your actions if you do not cease and desist. I do not want to see any of this happen to any of you; all I want to do, all I want is what’s best for my child and for all of you. So, you’ve been served, March 15, 2022.”

The details of the filing were not made public at this time.

The Board stood in solidarity with all of their Trustee members after public comment. 

“I think just the fact that we have people from our community emailing us, writing us letters, coming down to the podium and asking for the removal, the resignation, the retraction of their [Switzer and Buban’s] statements is proof alone that we’re at a point in society that’s really scary. Our God-given right as Trustees doesn’t stop when we walk in the door; we do have our own personal opinions, we will express them,” said trustee Mary Kay Mills. “We are voted on and elected by members of this community, and all of us have been reelected many times, so I challenge any of you that continue to think that we’re doing a horrid job, put your money where your mouth is and get on the ballot come November.” 

Approval of the minutes and the consent agenda passed unanimously.

Superintendent Butler presented revisions to the district’s AUSD Plan for the Opening of Schools in Response to COVID-19 and the Injury & Illness Prevention Program. Changes include mask-choice, exposure notifications instead of contact tracing, and no longer having to stay six feet apart. The documents are in constant flux, and changes might need to be made again in the future. The revisions were approved by the Board. 

Don Vert, Chairman of the Bond Oversight Committee, presented the Audit Report Findings to the Board. “Do take a look at the report; you should be very proud of it,” stated Vert.

Director of Support Services, Brant Lloyd, presented two items to the Board. The first is a Deferred Maintenance Project at Creston Elementary in which a large HVAC unit on the Multi-Purpose room needs a replacement. Lloyd recommended that the project be awarded to J.R. Barto for the bid of $49,687. The motion passed unanimously.

The second item was the Atascadero High School Building B Demolition/Quad/Fire Alarm Project. This item is an ongoing project with three phases, but Fire Alarms were what was discussed. The school has been asked to replace all existing fire alarms on campus for $626,076. The motion passed unanimously.

Assistant Superintendent of Business Services, Jackie Martin, gave a Second Interm Budget Report for 21-22. It passed unanimously.

E.J. Rossi, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, presented on the A-G Completion Improvement Grant Plan, which was initially brought to the Board at the Mar. 1 meeting. It was brought back in front of the Board for approval. Approval for the plan passed unanimously.

The Atascadero Unified School District’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be held on Tuesday, Apr. 5, 2022, at 7 p.m.