TEMPLETON — The Templeton Unified School District (TUSD) held their regularly scheduled board meeting on Thursday, May 13 at 6:15 p.m. for open session. The only report on closed session was that the Board would be returning after the meeting to closed session to continue discussion on agenda item 5.3: Public Employee Performance Evaluation.

6.1 Presentation of Templeton Unified School District and California School Employees Association (CSEA) Local Chapter #554 Bargaining Proposals for Negotiations the Period Commencing Jul. 1 was opened, but no public comment was made.

During public comment, the Board read a written comment from a parent, requesting that the Board step in to direct the schools who are enforcing mask-wearing during outdoor recess to end this practice. The parent reiterated the data that children don’t spread the virus at high rates, and outdoors is not typically a mask-mandated area. 

The Student Board Report presented on the sports that are currently active: 7th and 8th-grade boys volleyball clinic continues until May 28, track practice is open to any grade level, and last week in the intramural competitions, the teachers won in a student-teacher pickleball competition.

Next, Nelson Yamagata spoke a few words on the introduction of Leslie Bogart, who has the “unenviable task” of replacing Cheryl Parks, the Administrative Coordinator who has served Templeton for 25 years and will be retiring in June.

The Board then moved on to item 8.3, the discussion around future Board Meetings. Superintendent Aaron Asplund spoke on this item, explaining the need to have the appropriate space available for attendees while the spacing guidelines are still in place in the county.

Asplund stated the need to continue zoom even if in-person meetings take place, “as much as I don’t want to see any more hybrid anything in our future.” The difficulty arises in having the technology to hold the zoom meeting in a new location as the current small room has one microphone for the board members to eliminate feedback that would occur from several computer microphones operating at one time. His final comment was that while everyone wants to move to in-person, until guidelines regarding spacing changes, there are too many obstacles. 

Mandi Swan spoke to the request from some parents to continue the Zoom meetings as it allows parents to join in and be involved while still managing their evening parenting duties.

Yamagata spoke next, stating the need to wait until the state government comes out with guidelines on how to see who has been vaccinated and not within a live meeting. He stated that “good news came out [Thursday], and is based on the idea that vaccines work and are safe…these are the steps we need to move forward.”

The meeting opened to public comment, which began with Jennifer Grinager, a parent of a Templeton Elementary School child. She began by highlighting that both Paso Robles and Atascadero already have resumed in-person meetings. They accommodate spacing issues by only allowing a few people in the room at a time. She finished by saying, “neither Paso nor Atascadero are considering bringing up a vaccine passport, which is what Nelson Yamagata just brought up,” and reiterated the discussion the County Board of Supervisors held on the topic just a week prior. 

Yamagata replied, clarifying, “I never brought up vaccine passports. I know that’s a touchy subject. The CDC has recently relaxed a lot of the restrictions that were in place from before, but there is a stipulation on that. There are certain groups of people who they feel are safe to do this… if we’re going to open up more, being vaccinated is a part of that.” Yamagata stated that he is against vaccine passports and reiterated his advice to wait for and follow CDC guidelines. “At this stage, we need to be trying to work together. Those issues are divisive, and I don’t think it’s important right now.”

Asplund asked if this is something that can be brought back next time, which was followed by a short discussion and possible motion, but due to the microphone background noise, it was not intelligible. Atascadero News/Paso Robles Press has reached out to Cheryl Parks of TUSD to get clarification on what the final decision was. 

The response was, “The Board is okay with allowing a small number of people to attend the meeting in person. We will bring a plan back on May 27 for how we can make that happen. Our room is small, so if we limit the number of people in person to, let’s say 10 and 15 people show up, who gets in? We will have a protocol for handling that and laying out the room to accommodate more people. We will have to work out the logistics for handling Zoom meetings in whatever new space we move to.”

Next, the superintendent report looked at the roughly 3 million dollars in funds available to the school and the preliminary plans on how to use them. The federal funding is from the third round of COVID relief and can be used in the next two years, so it’s being earmarked for year two, while the state funding has the stipulation of being used in this next year. The goals of the funds are to assist with in-person learning, catching students up both academically and socially, and emotionally from the pandemic. Additionally, the Board wants to keep things consistent and sustainable so that when the funds run out, these programs implemented can continue. 

Next, the Superintendent spoke to graduations and promotions, which are going to be held in-person with limited guests, and also streamed live so everyone can attend.

Templeton Middle School will be having their 8th-grade promotion on Jun. 10 at 3 p.m. at Volunteer Stadium (Templeton High School).

Templeton High School will hold their graduation on Jun. 10 at 7 p.m. at Volunteer Stadium with up to eight guests per student. There will be no reception after the graduation, and TUSD requests that photos be taken before arriving in order to maintain distance at the ceremony.

Alternative education is still working out their plan for the ceremony, which could be drive-through or in-person, but a recent poll of parents showed 52 percent desire to have it in-person. It is set to be Jun. 7 at 6 p.m.

All events will uphold current health guidelines.

The consent agenda was passed with item 11.2 Approval of Personnel Action Report being pulled just to discuss those who are moving on to their next step in their lives and career and thank them for their service to TUSD. 

Item 12.1 heard the Annual Templeton High School Presentation, which highlighted the past year and all the changes from distance learning to in-person and hosting the first live performance in the area with Young Frankenstein. 12.2 regarded adult education and the shift from 200 credits to 180, which includes an increase in mathematics credit from 20 to 30 but has a decrease in elective credits and is still above state minimum requirements for graduates.

Item 12.3 was in regards to the criminal justice class, which was approved unanimously. 

Next, the Board presented item 13.1 Adoption of Resolution #R21-14, Final Reduction in Force for

Certificated Employees for the 2021/22 School Year. Many of those who were going to have to be let go were able to be moved to different positions within the school, or take over positions of those who used this time as an opportunity to retire or move to a new location.

The next meeting is set for May 27, at 6:15 p.m., and the link to the meeting can be found on the TUSD website a few hours before the meeting.