School board approves keeping AUSD meeting recordings on YouTube for 90 days

ATASCADERO—The Atascadero Unified School District (AUSD) Board of Trustees met for its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, May 7, at 7 p.m. At the meeting, seven parents from within the district addressed the board during Oral Communications from the Public on concerns with class sizes within AUSD, which has been an ongoing discussion.

The group was given a total of 20 minutes to talk on the issue of class size. One mother, Tara Walker, who has also been in education for 14 years and has been a counselor at Cayucos Elementary for the last two years, compared the differences between AUSD and Cayucos. 

“It’s mind-blowing, the type of disparities there are,” she stated. “For example, at Cayucos, there are 23 students and a teacher’s aide from 8:30 to 1:30.” 


She went on to say that her child is in a classroom with 32 students, and as far as she can tell, there is no teacher’s aide for a class of that size. 

Parents also stated how their children don’t always feel challenged, don’t get individualized attention, and that some students are sometimes intimidated to speak up in such large AUSD classrooms. AUSD currently has a 32 students to one teacher ratio. Though class sizes have been limited to a 26 students to one teacher in kindergarten in the district.

At the start of his Superintendent’s Report, Tom Butler replied to the parent’s comments on class size.

“Right now, I can share some numbers, and this is just to give you information because I thought your presentation was excellent,” stated Butler. 

Butler reported on the number of students back in January of this year and re-shared those numbers with the trustee board and the community. Current student-to-teacher numbers are as follows:

  • Transitional Kindergarten = 19.3
  • Kindergarten = 24.2
  • First through Third Grade = 28.1

“However, you’re right. There are classes with 32 in some of those bands. There are classes that are higher, and there are classes that are also lower,” Butler said. “I think your effort is to be applauded. I like the teamwork approach.”

Butler continued that the parents and the district will have to work together to make it happen. He also stated that AUSD receives less funding than schools like Cayucos and is actually one of the lowest-funded districts in the county. He suggested that the concerned community reach out to state representatives about the topic and the funding needed to resolve it. 

Tyler Bennett, a parent of students at Atascadero High School (AHS), also spoke to the board with questions about the opening of the AHS pool. He started by expressing gratitude to the board for approving the new pool before expressing some frustrations brought on by the pool’s soft opening on Wednesday, May 8, but not knowing after that when students will be able to use the pool for practices.

“Any person that you ask about the pool, no one knows when it’s going to open, but yet we’ve had water in that pool for several weeks now,” stated Bennett.

Butler stated that the district still needs to bring the coaching staff in to show them moving parts and make sure they understand the pool. Once that is done, AHS will be ready to start scheduling practices for both high school and middle school aquatics. Though the exact time when practices will start taking place was not defined.

The topic of how long the district should keep AUSD Board of Trustees meeting recordings up on its YouTube channel was back again this week. The trustees were presented with the option of keeping the videos live for 90 days instead of the current 30.

After deliberation it was decided that the videos will be kept live for 90 days before being deleted over the next six months. After six months, the item will be reevaluated after data is collected as to if keeping the videos live longer has an impact on how many people are able to view them.

“I would like to make a motion to approve 12.4 as recommended by our administration for 90 days with a six-month review,” stated trustee Corinne Kuhnle. 

The motion passed unanimously.

The next regularly scheduled AUSD Board of Trustees meeting will take place Tuesday, May 21, at 7 p.m.