No motions were made to remove and censure Christopher Arend as President and Superintendent Curt Dubost

PASO ROBLES — The Paso Robles Joint Unified School District (PRJUSD) met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 22, in which board members approved Resolution 22-13, a mask choice resolution allowing students the option to wear a mask or not, regardless of vaccination status. The district is the first in SLO County to approve such a resolution. 

Agenda items I6 Consideration of Modification of Mask Mandate for Students and I7 Exoneration of Student Protesters were moved and rearranged to be items I2 and I3. 

Next, the Board unanimously approved I2 Approve Tentative Agreement with Paso Robles Joint Unified School District and CSEA, Chapter 254: Salary Increase and Fringe Benefits. 

The agreement settled negotiations for the 2021-22 school year with the California School Employees Association (CSEA), Chapter 254, for salary and fringe benefits. The agreement increases all salaries by 4 percent and adds to the District’s contribution of fringe benefits by $514 annually. Additionally, there is a one-time $1,000 scheduled payment to the unit members. The approval of this item is pending San Luis Obispo County Office of Education (SLOCOE) approval and ratification of labor partners.

The Board also unanimously approved I3 Approve Memorandum of Understanding with Paso Robles Joint Unified School District and Paso Robles Public Educators: Salary Increase and Health Benefits.

This agreement increases the salary schedule by 4 percent ongoing. The agreement also increases the District’s health benefit contribution by $514 annually. The agreement adds a column for speech and language pathologists. Lastly, the agreement increases the specific noted stipends. The approval of this item is pending SLOCOE approval and ratification of labor partners.

Next, the Board discussed I4 Authorization to Dispose of Surplus Property – 25-Yard Swimming Pool.

During the Feb. 8 meeting, the Board approved a resolution allowing staff to dispose of surplus property valued below $2,500. Anything over that is to be brought to the Board on an individual basis.

The Aquatics Complex configuration has gone from the original 25-yard pool to a 138-meter pool, making the 25-yard pool in storage no longer needed. Staff’s plan is to list the pool on GovDeals, a government surplus auction website. If any bids meet the minimum price, staff will move forward with the sale. Otherwise, any bids below the minimum would be brought back to the Board for approval.

The original cost of the pool was $277,839, which will be the minimum bidding price. 

A motion was made to approve the sale of the pool, with the final purchase price coming back to the Board for approval. The motion was approved with a 5-2 vote, with trustees Nathan Williams and Lance Gannon voting no.

A member of the public, Allan Stevo, requested the following item be added to the agenda: I.8. Removal and Censure of Christopher Arend as President of the Board and Superintendent Dubost. 

The agenda item was prompted by Stevo following the Feb. 8 meeting in which Stevo had submitted an agenda item for that meeting regarding mask choice, but the item was not added to the agenda.

“Whereas board members have a necessity to follow the Board’s bylaws, a matter which was not followed when Superintendent Dubost and President Arend decided to make decisions in coordination with each other and remove the agenda committee from consideration prior to the Feb. 8 meeting,” the item said.

“Whereas the San Luis Obispo Grand Jury has called on the PRJUSD to reduce cronyism or the appearance of cronyism, a level of cronyism that certainly appeared to occur or did in fact occur prior to the Feb. 8 Board meeting when Superintendent Dubost and President Arend took these matters upon themselves to decide, thereby silencing the agenda committee and the other six elected representatives of the public sitting on the Board.”

Trustee Chris Bausch motioned to table the item and send it to legal counsel as there were problems with how the agenda item request was made. He requested the item return to the Board with proper instruction from legal counsel. 

“We thought this would be a great teachable moment to educate the public on how best to make an agenda item,” he said. “And I believe legal counsel also suggested that it might be a time to look at some of our bylaws on how the public and the Board makes agenda item requests.”

Superintendent Curt Dubost responded, “I believe that the concerns about the agenda-setting process are legitimate, and I think we need to look at that process, but that’s covered appropriately under another agenda item [J7], and for this to be brought back as is as tabled, I would find highly offensive — it was a slap in the face, to begin with.”

The motion to table the item failed with a 2-5 vote, Bausch and Trustee Dorian Baker voting yes. No further motions were made on Item I8, resulting in the item to ‘die.’

Due to limited time, informational items J2 through J6 were tabled for the next meeting, and J7 Proposed Review of Agenda Request Submission will be sent to the bylaws committee for further review.

The next regularly scheduled school board meeting is scheduled for Mar. 8 at 6 p.m.