Trustees approve transportation plan and further express need for more bus drivers

PASO ROBLES — Some Paso Robles Joint Unified School District (PRJUSD) teachers are piloting a new artificial intelligence (AI) app for potential use throughout the district. During the board meeting on Tuesday night, March 26, trustees were presented with information on the program.

With the increase of AI technologies seeping into education, teachers in the district are already having to navigate student use, thus requiring the district to implement plans for training, education, and monitoring of the tools for both teachers and students. 

Staff have come across, an AI platform that has customized AI for educational purposes. Per the staff’s presentation, they said, “During the pilot program, we will provide education and training regarding the responsible use of AI in education. In addition, we will evaluate the use of AI by both staff and students and make plans for the next school year.”

By July 1, the district will make a decision on whether or not they will use the program for the 2024-25 school year.

With MagicSchool, teachers have the ability to admit students into the MagicSchool classroom that also gives students limited time to access the tools and complete the task. 

Teachers will be able to see the list of students using the MagicSchool classroom, see each student’s status, see the history of the student’s interaction with the tools assigned, and pause or lock either individuals or the entire classroom out of the classroom at any time. 

According to staff, the following are the teacher’s responsibilities when working with the program:

  • To clarify whether students are prohibited from using AI on an assignment
  • To guide and monitor student use of AI
  • To teach students how to use and cite AI usage in work properly
  • Do not share confidential information or personally identifiable information with the AI system

For the students, they have the following: 

  • To use AI in the classroom or on class assignments only with the teacher’s instructions and use expectations
  • To cite their AI work within finished products
  • To not rely on AI tools as a fact-checker
  • To not use any AI system to access, create, or display harmful or inappropriate matter
  • To not share confidential information or personally identifiable information with the AI system

Later in the meeting, trustees approved the annual transportation plan. With the district still in a need for bus drivers, the proposed budget and plan is based on the district’s ability to provide.

In June 2022, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state Legislature voted to pass AB181, the education omnibus budget trailer bill, and AB182, a bill related to the Learning Recovery Emergency Fund, resulting in a historic $300 billion state budget, with education receiving a record $110 billion for 2022-23. Notably, $637 million ongoing funding was allocated for Home-to-School transportation.

The district currently has only nine bus drivers, one of whom will be retiring after 23 years of service and will be replaced by one driver who currently drives in the district’s commercial side.

The approved PRJUSD transportation plan combines existing board policies (BP) and administrative regulations (AR) governing student transportation support services and touches base on the following:

  • Transportation services offered to pupils
  • The prioritization of planned transportation services for pupils in transitional kindergarten, kindergarten, and any of grades 1 through 6 inclusive, and pupils who are low income.
  • Transportation services accessible to pupils with disabilities, and homeless children and youth.
  • How unduplicated pupils would be able to access available home-to-school transportation at no-cost to the pupils.
  • The required consultation with classified staff, teachers, school administrators, regional local transit authorities, local air pollution control districts and air quality management districts, parents, pupils and other stakeholders.

Superintendent Curt Dubost addressed trustees: “You have given unanimous direction that our highest priority needs to be the in house bus route … even with the best of intentions we may not have enough bus drivers because we could have a retirement at any time and be short.”

Dubost explained that until the middle of this summer when the district has a better idea of how many bus drivers they will have for the new school year, they will have a bus route to propose.

The next Paso Robles Joint Unified School District meeting is scheduled for April 23 at 6 p.m.