Elementary students will make the transition on Nov. 3

PASO ROBLES — Paso Robles Joint Unified School District trustees received updates on the current budget cycle and preparations for its hybrid plans.

For the first time in months, the PRJUSD School Board met in person for its Tuesday, Oct. 27, meeting. The meeting was still streamed live via YouTube for the public.

The jam-packed agenda opened with Diversity Panel Representative Niya Williams and Principal of Alternative Education Dan Sharon presenting information on the proposed #EmpowerKindness project to promote unity, eliminate hate speech, and improve campus climate and culture.

Williams and Sharon, both on the Paso Robles Diversity Panel, talked of how this “endeavor will empower students to participate in a welcoming and safe return to our PRJUSD campuses.”

A student pledge card was created and will be passed out to students when they return to campus. The card is meant to be placed in a visible space, like a binder, as an anti-bullying reminder.

The card features the mascot from every school in the District with #EmpowerKindess and includes the following poem, “No matter my mascot or where I’m taught, I know kindness is welcome, and hate speech is not.”

The back of the card reads, “PRJUSD will not tolerate bullying, hate speech, or derogatory language on any of its campuses.”

The District has been preparing to bring students back with a hybrid model for their elementary students and is on track to begin next week. PRJUSD Deputy Superintendent Jennifer Gaviola updated trustees on the reopening plan.

On Nov. 3, transitional kindergarten and kindergarten students will return for some face-to-face instruction. First- and second-grade students will return on Nov. 17, and third- through fifth-graders will return on Nov. 30. Middle and high school students will begin hybrid learning in early January.

Twenty-two percent of elementary students will remain in distance learning, Gaviola said. The majority of these students are staying in distance learning due to scheduling issues and not because they do not want to come to in-person learning, she added.

Elementary students will be divided into two cohorts, A and B, and will be on campus for in-person learning Tuesday through Friday, either in the morning or the afternoon. Siblings and special program students are being scheduled in the same cohort.

Mondays will be a distance learning day for all students. 

The daily in-person schedule looks like the following:

  • Group A — 8-10:45 a.m.
  • Teacher Lunch 10:45-11:25 a.m.
  • Custodial Cleaning — 10:45-11:30 a.m.
  • Group B — 12-2:45 p.m.

PRJUSD Chief Business Officer Brad Pawlowski presented a budget update to the board for the 2020-2021 school year. 

Due to a decline in attendance and California’s current economic state, Pawlowski forecasts a tight budget in future years.

Compared to last year’s first month of enrollment, the District is down 211 students, which equates to a total loss of $2 million, Pawlowski said.

For the 2021-2022 school year and beyond, the best-case scenario for the district would be flat funding. The worst-case scenario would be a cut of $2 to $6 billion to Proposition 98, which estimates a loss of $300 to $800 per ADA. 

If there is a cut to Proposition 98, then it would accumulate to a loss of $1,875,300 – $5,000,000 per ADA.

For more information on PRJUSD’s reopening plan, visit www.PasoSchools.org/reopen.

Getting through this together, Paso Robles