Ventura County School Boards Association Newsletter
APRIL 2019
Passing the Torch
Happy spring fellow board members! This is my last article for the Ventura County School Boards Association newsletter as president. It has been a wonderful three year tenure, but alas, it is time for new blood to lead the way. I know my successor will do a fine job for us. 

But who will that successor be? Please come to our dinner meeting on Monday, April 29 to find out! Our nominating committee will present a slate of candidates for the VCSBA positions of President; Vice-President, Programs; Vice-President, Legislation; Treasurer and Secretary. Please note that a candidate can also run from the floor. After a vote is taken, the VCSBA will have new officers for the 2019-20 school year. Now that’s exciting!

Here's something else exciting – the featured topic of our upcoming dinner meeting: "Social and Emotional Learning." We all know we must address the whole child, but schools cannot do it alone and we must partner with our community. Our panel of experts on this important topic will consist of:

  • Claudia Frandsen, Director, Leadership Support, Ventura County Office of Education

  • Erik Sternad, Executive Director, Interface, Ventura County

  • David Castellano, Director, Student Support Services, Hueneme School District

Be ready to participate at this meeting. You will be given the opportunity to interact with your fellow board members, superintendent and presenters to generate information pertinent to your district. Brainstorming with one another will bring the topic close to home in order to create solutions to benefit our students.

Looking forward to seeing you on April 29, 2019!

Christina Urias, VCSBA President
Santa Paula Unified School District
Changes in the Charter School Landscape
Ventura County has a number of charter schools of various types and sizes that have operated here for a number of years. These public schools had always been intended to be alternative models subject to less regulatory burden than other schools and school districts. However, change being one of our major constants, there are now new regulations which will apply to charter schools.

In early March of this year Governor Gavin Newsom signed senate bill (SB 126) into law. This legislation arrived on the Governor’s desk after quickly passing through both the senate and the assembly with little opposition. SB 126 increases accountability for charter schools by making them subject to the same transparency laws that apply to all public agencies. Specifically, the bill provides that charter schools will now be subject to the California Public Records Act, the Ralph M. Brown (open meetings) Act, the Political Reform Act and conflict of interest laws per government code section 1090. It should be noted that, because there is no urgency clause, the bill will take affect January 1, 2020. 
Recalling that while Jerry Brown was Governor he vetoed similar charter transparency bills, Governor Newsom is changing course and signaling his support for additional accountability for charter schools. In fact, his administration took an active role in the negotiations for SB 126, which resulted in it being fast tracked for approval. 

This may not be the only bill that will affect charter schools and make significant changes to the Charter Schools Act. Currently, there are at least five other bills which have been introduced and are winding their way through the legislative process.

  • AB 967 would extend Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) requirements that currently apply to school districts.

  • AB 1505 would only allow submittal of a petition to establish a charter school to the school district in which the charter school would be located, and would give school districts the sole authority in approving charter petitions and renewals, thereby repealing the authorizing power of County Offices of Education and the State Board of Education. This bill would also give school districts more latitude in denying charter petitions and allow renewals to be granted for less than the current statutory five year period.

  • AB 1506 would place a cap on the number of charter schools in California, currently estimated at approximately 1,300. This legislation would only allow new charter schools to open after others have closed.

  • AB 1507 would eliminate the ability of a charter school to locate outside of the geographic boundaries of its charting authority.

  • AB 1508 would permit school districts to consider financial, academic and facilities impacts when considering whether to approve a charter petition.

As is the case with much legislation, it is still very early in the process for these bills and many will likely be amended — if they haven't been already — as they work their way through both houses of the legislature. It does, however, point to many changes on the horizon for charter schools and the authorizing entities that provide oversight of them.

Stan Mantooth
Ventura County Superintendent of Schools
Legislative Action Day in Sacramento
Seven school board members from Ventura County joined a record number of trustees from all over California to advocate for our students at the legislature in Sacramento. 

Senators Hannah-Beth Jackson and Henry Stern (via his education policy advisor) and Assemblywomen Jacqui Irwin and Monique Limon all engaged the group in a robust dialogue around key budget issues, CSBA’s Full and Fair Funding initiative and several pieces of legislation currently in play.
The group asked for support for two key pieces in Governor Newsom’s budget for education:
  • A 3.46 % COLA for LCFF. (a $2.8 Billion increase over 2018-19)

  • A $3 Billion total investment in CalSTRS employer contributions

The trustees also expressed support for the increase in Proposition 51 funding, but asking that the entire complement of bond funds be released.

Once again, the group banged the drum for Full & Fair Funding, giving countless examples of how students are affected by the current funding level. They sought support for Assembly Bill 39, which sets higher targets for LCFF base grants. The impact of Special Education, Health Care benefits and Pension obligations were spotlighted as all coming directly out of the classroom and significantly preventing school boards from providing everything their students need.

Other bills were discussed, including Assembly Bill 428 increasing special education funding, AB 1303 enhancing Career Technical Education for K-12; also AB 751 allowing other tests like SAT or ACT to be substituted for the Smarter Balanced Summative Test in Grade 11.

The group representing Ventura County included Debra Cortes and Denis O’Leary (Oxnard Elementary School District), Jackie Moran and Matthew Almaraz (Ventura USD) and Michael Teasdale and Mark Lisagor (Ventura COE).

Dr. Mark Lisagor
Trustee, Ventura County Board of Education
VCSBA Executive Board Elections 2019-20
The 2019-2020 nominations committee comprised of Sabrena Rodriguez (Ventura Unified School District), Debra Cordes (Oxnard School District) and Bill Gorback (Conejo Valley Unified School District) has completed its work. The collective nominations based on board tenure, experience and commitment are as follows:

  • PRESIDENT: Veronica Robles-Solis (Oxnard)

  • 1ST VP, PROGRAMS: Eleanor Torres (Rio)

  • 2nd VP, LEGISLATION: Dr. Charles Weis (Hueneme) 

  • TREASURER: Efrain Cazares (Ocean View)

  • SECRETARY: Denise Helfstein (Oak Park Unified)

Nominations will continue to be open until the vote on the new Executive Board is taken at the April 29th VCSBA Dinner meeting.

Please contact any member of the Nominating Committee if you are interested in serving:

Sabrena Rodriguez , Ventura Unified School District 

Debra Cordes , Oxnard School District

Bill Gorback , Conejo Valley Unified School District 
April 29 Dinner Meeting

 VCSBA dinner meetings are a wonderful opportunity for you to grow as board members. We encourage you to attend with your superintendents, assistant superintendents and any other interested parties. Please join us so we can continue educating ourselves and do the best job possible of informing our communities about the important issues affecting education.
Social and Emotional Learning
April 29, 2019 • 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm

VCOE Conference & Educational Services Center
5100 Adolfo Road, Camarillo

2018-19 VCSBA Officers
Christina Urias
Santa Paula Unified School District

Veronica Robles-Solis
Vice-President, Programs
Oxnard School District

Dr. Charles Weis
Vice-President, Legislation
Hueneme School District

Denise Helfstein
Oak Park Unified School District

Eleanor Torres
Rio School District