District receives letter from Cayucos parents regarding “Let Them Breathe” resolution 

PASO ROBLES — The Paso Robles, Joint Unified School District (PRJUSD) Board of Trustees met in person for their Aug. 24 board meeting.

The board received a letter from Cayucos parents regarding Cayucos Elementary School District passing of the “Let Them Breathe” Resolution. In addition, the letter was sent to all San Luis Obispo County districts that passed a similar resolution, which PRJUSD did during the last meeting on Aug. 10.

The letter stated that Cayucos stakeholders were not given proper notice of their meeting and many were opposed to the resolution. 

The end of the letter, signed by stakeholders, read:

“We wish to express to the other school districts in SLO county that the “Let Them Breathe” resolution passed by the Cayucos Elementary School Board during the August 4th Special Board Meeting was done so by the Board without an understanding of if a majority of parents and other stakeholders supported the resolution. Based on the attendance and public comments made at the most recent school board meeting on Aug. 11, 2021, it appears that the “Let Them Breathe” resolution does NOT represent the stakeholder’s beliefs and wishes at Cayucos Elementary School.

Quite frankly, the passage of this resolution is an embarrassment to our school.”

In response, Superintendent Curt Dubost said, “We have received notice from the county office that both of our tentative agreements with our labor partners have been approved.”

Item G.12. Approve New Job Description: Van Driver/Special Education Paraeducator (Severely Handicapped) was removed from the consent agenda and tabled for the next school board meeting. 

Items G.7. and G.8. were requested to be removed for separate discussion by trustee Tim Gearhart.

After a brief discussion, G.7. Approve Renewal of Services Agreement with Ed Theory and G.8. Approve MOU Between PRJUSD and the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences for Internship Support of a Speech Pathologist were both approved with a 6-0 vote (Nathan Williams was absent from meeting).

The trustees unanimously approved two donations to the PRJUSD elementary libraries. 

1. $50 from donor Barb Greene in honor of Deb Nelson (Retired Pat Butler teacher) and Deb’s mother, Patricia Roberson, who shared a great love of the Pat Butler library and reading. 

2. $2,832 from donor Terry Parry of Do Good Grants to purchase a diverse book collection that reflects the student population at Title 1 elementary school libraries: Georgia Brown, Bauer Speck, Pat Butler, Virginia Peterson, and Winifred Pifer.  

With a 6-0 vote, trustees then approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between PRJUSD and PRPE for 2021-22 full in-person returns to school. 

The MOU establishes changes to instructional models and practices due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic saying, “Unit members agree to comply with all Health Directives issued by the District.”

This includes but is not limited to:

  • Answering a vaccination survey and providing proof of vaccination. 
  • If the employee is unvaccinated, they will provide weekly COVID-19 testing results to the District, at minimum, subject to increase based on state requirements. 
  • If an employee is exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the work based setting the District will provide a rapid COVID-19 test. (Per State Order Aug. 11, 2021)

Employees have to option to either use rapid COVID tests provided by the school’s health staff or use a public health/another medical provider. 

The MOU also states all staff will wear face coverings in an indoor setting while on a school site and includes quarantine and contact tracing protocols.

Trustees then approved to continue increased pay rates for in-person guest teachers (substitute teachers) for the 2021-22 school year.

Prior to the increase in 2020, the District paid substitute teachers a short-term rate of $121.00 per day and $136.00 per day for long-term rates. 

The District has increased the daily rate by $40.00 per day for both long ($176) and short-term ($161) in-person sub positions.

The increase of rates was made after the District had difficulties finding guest teachers for in-person instruction when schools went back to partial in-person learning. After making the increase of rates, the District hired an additional 15 substitute teachers. 

The total cost is up to $25,000 provided by CARES funding.

Lastly, the school board heard a report on the reopening of school.

A public commenter expressed his concern for his child’s safety getting to campus and said he brought the concerns to Superintendent Dubost. However, he did not specify why he felt it was unsafe getting his child to campus.

Dubost reported that the District was relieved to learn attendance was not as down as they expected. Staff predicted attendance of 6,655 students coming to campus at least one day, and the District ended up seeing an attendance rate of 6,690. Additionally, Dubost reported that kindergarten rates were increased.

The worse attendance was at the Georgia Brown campus, and concerns were raised to congestion and issues getting students to the campus due to construction work happening next to the campus but did say that it has improved since the first day of school.

“All things considered, given the complexity of coming back and all the issues, I am proud of the opening we have had and the effort that has gone into it with the exception of the Georgia Brown congestion,” said Dubost.

The next school board meeting is scheduled for Sept. 14 at 6 p.m.