The Ethnic Studies elective course was approved by the Board to continue in the 2022-2023 school year

PASO ROBLES— The Paso Robles Joint Unified School District held their first school board meeting of the year on Tuesday, Jan. 11. 

The Board received a COVID-19 update and information on the school’s procedures and protocols. Positive cases are rising at the schools following the winter break. However, it was noted by staff that cases have risen due to more students testing for COVID. For the month of January, 217 PRJUSD students and staff have tested positive. Vaccinated students who test positive for COVID are not quarantined. 

For updates on positive cases and everything COVID related at PRJUSD schools, visit: pasoschools.org/reopen

Getting through this together, Paso Robles

Later, a public hearing was held for public comment on the By-Trustee Area Mapping. The District completed the transition from an at-large to a by-trustee area election using 2010 Census Data. In a by-trustee area election system, each trustee is required to reside within a defined trustee area.

The District hired professional demographers, Cooperative Strategies, to conduct a study of the 2020 Census data to determine whether the current trustee areas are population balanced. After evaluating the data, Cooperative Strategies determined that the District will need to make adjustments to the current boundaries. As a result, two proposed map adjustments were presented to the Board and community Tuesday night. 

The Board will hold another public hearing during the Jan. 25 meeting where Cooperative Strategies will again present its study of the 2020 census data and four potential map options.

Next on discussion was item I-6 Elementary Attendance Boundaries Update: The Board of Trustees will be provided with an update of the attendance boundaries process and historical information leading up to this date. Based on the input from the three committees (7/11 Committee, Grade Span Configuration Committee, and Boundary Committee), and the year-long process of evaluated various options, staff is recommending relocation of the dual immersion program and redrawing the elementary school boundaries that will keep all elementary schools open. Staff is seeking direction from the Board of Trustees to continue with recommendation.

Staff presented three options to the Board for discussion. Each option is outlined with benefits and challenges in a PowerPoint. Options are as follows:

Option 1:

•Close the Georgia Brown ES facility, redraw the area to Speck

•Move the immersion program to Pifer, redraw the existing Pifer boundary among the other schools.

Option 2: 

•Move the immersion program from Georgia Brown to Speck.

•Redraw the existing Speck attendance boundary to Georgia Brown.

•Minor changes east of US-101 to align feeder patterns

Option 3:

•Move the immersion program from Georgia Brown to Flamson and create a K-8 program.

•Speck would remain a neighborhood school, and boundaries would be redrawn. 

The Board directed staff to bring more information and further discussion for Option 2 and look at the cost of rebuilding the Georgia Brown campus—possibly to accommodate fewer students than its now 600 capacity.

The Board will discuss these options during a separate study meeting, date to be determined. 

Tom Harrington then presented the ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) Safety Training system. Adopted in 2017, ALICE Safety Training addresses an active shooter on campus scenario. In 2017, all PRJUSD staff and students received training in ALICE tactics. This year, by the end of February, all staff and students will again receive ALICE Safety Training.  

The ALICE system was used on Jan. 7 when the Paso Robles High School was sheltered in place after a student mistakenly identified an umbrella as a long barrel gun. More information on the shelter in place can be found here: pasoroblespress.com/news/paso-robles-high-school-shelters-in-place/

The Board then approve the Ethnic Studies class to continue as an elective course for 11th and 12th grade at PRHS. Recent CA legislation was approved which will require all students to complete a semester-long course in ethnic studies to earn a high school diploma. The mandate will require high schools to begin offering the course in the 2025-2026 school year.  

The next regularly scheduled school board meeting is Tuesday, Jan. 25, at 6 p.m.