Over 1,000 PRJUSD students participated in Statewide Sit-Out

PASO ROBLES — It was announced at the Oct. 26 Paso Robles Joint Unified School District meeting that board trustee member Jim Reed has resigned from the Board.

Board President, Chris Arend, explained Reed and his wife had a “grandchild epiphany” and are moving to be closer to his son and grandchild. The San Luis Obispo County Office of Education issued instructions to the Board with the next steps to fulfilling a board vacancy.

Procedures to find Reed’s replacement will be done entirely in open sessions, with public attendance welcomed.

Before public comment, Superintendent Curt Dubost addressed the public. He understands there are some emotional things to discuss but said, “Let me clarify that this is a business meeting of the Board held in public. It is not technically a public meeting, so please show due deference to the people at the microphone and comport everyone in a respectful manner this evening.”

Starting at this week’s meeting, some changes have been made to the translation services for the board meeting.

On Feb. 23, the District added a live translation of the meetings from English to Spanish on Zoom to help increase the participation of Spanish speaking family and community members. Then on the Jul. 13 meeting, an attorney from Lozano Smith explained their legal requirements for a district like Paso Robles.

While the attorney told the Board translation is not a legal requirement for board meetings, it is encouraged to reach as many community members as possible. However, the District has had difficulty getting a consistent group of Spanish translators to cover all bases during meetings. The Board requires three translators during each meeting.

Since live translation began, the IT department for the Board meetings has counted zero to two participants using the Spanish translation services. As a result, the Board will now be using the free Spanish closed captioning service offered by YouTube, which is available the next morning.

A certified Spanish translator will still be available at the Board meetings for in-person translation and callers. If circumstances change, the Board will bring back the previous Spanish translation services.

During public comment, the Board heard from many who are in support of a full cost of living adjustment of 5.07 percent. In addition, many District teachers spoke and explained they have to work multiple jobs to live and teach in Paso Robles.

On Monday, Oct. 18, 1,781 students participated in the Statewide sit-out where those who oppose the vaccine mandate for students and teachers pulled their children from school. This equaled a loss of $55,000 for the District.

See photo of absence totals for the Statewide sit-out.

Screen Shot 2021 10 27 at 8.26.23 AM
PRJUSD Trustee Jim Reed Resigned From the School Board

Read here for more information on the sit-out.

Item I.3. Approve Change Order #13 for George H. Flamson Middle School Classroom Addition was tabled for the next school board meeting. Change order 13 is for the lower west side slope protection. This scope of work was not clearly resolved in the design package. The cost is to realize the DSA approved design solution. The total cost of the change order is $238,730.84 from Measure M Funds.

Superintendent Dubost is up for a new two-year employment contract. Dr. Dubost received both satisfactory and above satisfactory ratings from the Board on his annual evaluation.

Concern was raised by a public speaker on the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) increase in Dubost’s contract.

The contract states: COLA increases must be approved by the Board each year in open session at a regularly called Board meeting. The COLA increase is in addition to the advancement on the Superintendent’s salary schedule. The Board has full discretion to award any COLA increase to the Superintendents salary listed in 3A.

Dubost stated he would not take or seek a COLA greater than any other employee in the District.

The Board approved Dubost’s new two-year contract with an adjustment: No COLA increase will be considered until the conclusion of negotiations with the employee unions, and any COLA for 2021-2022 will not be higher than the lowest COLA percentage paid to any employee.

The motion passed 5-1 with Dorian Baker voting no due to not liking some contract wording.

Later, the Board heard a presentation on the Aquatics Complex reconfiguration.

“The District has allocated $5.7 million to design and construct an aquatics complex. The current design exceeds the project budget, so a revised plan and configuration is recommended. Staff will present this option and solicit feedback from the Board of Trustees with action to be determined at a later date.”

The aquatics complex is currently paused due to financial challenges within the District. Some of the changes made included fewer restrooms and changing rooms and one 38 meter pool.

The District directed staff to continue looking at configuration options, including input from the public.

The reconfiguration was only an information item, and no action was taken. The full reconfiguration plan and more information on the aquatics complex is available in the meetings agenda here.

The next school board meeting is scheduled for Nov. 9 at 6:00 p.m.