PYLUSD Board Votes to Leave the California School Board Association

PlacentiaYorba Linda Unified will leave the California School Boards Association, a statewide coalition that provides school districts with training, advocacy and policy analysis assistance, a school board majority decided Tuesday, Aug. 8.

PYLUSD will be the only district in Orange County that is not a member of the CSBA. According to the CSBA’s website, more than 96% of California school districts are members.

Superintendent Alex Cherniss, who joined the district in May, said the decision to break from the state association has been in the works for a while, adding he is positive its a good move for the district.

“Unfortunately, 99.9% of districts do not question the cost and value of CSBA, and simply rubber stamp this membership. That is just wrong,” Cherniss said. “As superintendent, I have already asked staff to evaluate the cost, purpose and effectiveness of all organizational memberships, professional development opportunities, conferences, etc.”

PYLUSD was paying $30,000 per year to be in the association, and that is just “too much for a district,” he said.

Membership in the CSBA offers school districts and their boards a “voice in public education throughout California,” the association says on its website. The CSBA will often advocate for funding for schools and provides various trainings and conferences for teachers, administrators and board members.

“The board must determine what level of ‘voice’ represents their views and again, is it worth the cost,” said Cherniss. “Is their voice heard? Does the organization respond to their inquiries? Is the annual conference, which is paid on top of membership fees for another $15,000 to 25,000, worth their time?”

Board members Leandra Blades, Todd Frazier and Shawn Youngblood supported leaving the CSBA, with Blades calling it a “lobbyist” organization.

“CSBA has lobbied against what parents want,” she said. “From what I have read, our membership fees will go against a certain political party and disparage a political party. We should be making sure everything is for the kids and keeping politics out of it.”

Additionally, the CSBA has various education policies – such as regarding social justice, funding and discipline – it develops for member districts to use.

Blades said she feels the various policies the CSBA writes for the districts are “unnecessary” because administrators within the PYLUSD are “smart people and fully capable of writing our own policy.”

But Trustee Marilyn Anderson argued, though staff could spend time on developing the variety of policies the district gets from the CSBA, they should be “focusing their time on other more important things in the district and not getting distracted by random policy making.”

CSBA’s chief communications officer, Troy Flint, declined Wednesday to comment on the school board’s decision.

In another agenda item Tuesday, the PYLUSD board members denied California Republic Leadership Academy’s request to start a charter school in the district.

“There were just too many financial red flags, as well as the curriculum had many concerns,” Anderson said.

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

California Officials Raided Preschool, Interviewed 2-Year-Olds Over Mask Policies

 California state regulators conducted an investigation at a San Diego preschool and privately interviewed children as young as 2 without their parents’ consent about their masking practices.

Officials with the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) visited all three locations of Aspen Leaf Preschool in January after receiving a complaint that the school was not enforcing the state’s mask mandate, according to the CDSS’ response to a complaint by the preschool’s owner, Howard Wu.

According to the CDSS letter, which Wu shared with Fox News Digital, officials with the agency’s Community Care Licensing Division entered the three preschool locations on Jan. 19, separated the children from their teachers and interviewed them privately about their masking practices.

In his complaint to the agency, Wu described the investigation as a “simultaneous, multi-school raid” that resulted in “unnecessary and inappropriate child interviews.”

SUGGESTED: Elementary student wearing N95 mask outdoors passed out in extreme heat, parents say

“Every family we heard from after the inspections were furious about the interviews,” Wu told Fox News Digital. “We were open the whole pandemic about not masking children and the reasons why. The policy was on our website. Put simply, the mask guidance says children can NOT mask when eating and sleeping. In full day child care that’s 3 hours, so masking at other times offers no health benefit. All the families (except 1 in January) supported the policy.”

Wu also argues that the CDSS does not have the authority to enforce a mask mandate instituted by another agency, in this case the California Department of Public Health.

“We believe in good faith that the agency doesn’t have jurisdiction to enforce another agency’s mask guidance,” he said. “They could have issued us a citation in 5 minutes and let us take our challenge up through the proper channels. The simultaneous multi-school raids and the child interviews just felt like a power play.”

In its response to Wu, the CDSS said it holds the authority to “enter and inspect a licensed child care facility at any time, with or without advance notice, to secure compliance with, or prevent a violation” of state laws, as well as “interview children without prior consent and, when necessary, conduct the interviews in private.”

“Based on their personal observations and interviews of the facility directors, staff and children, CCLD staff determined that the licensee failed to ensure that staff and children used face coverings as required by the State Public Health Officer Order of June 11, 2021, thus violating the children’s personal right to safe and healthful accommodations,” the letter said.

The agency has issued Aspen Leaf a Type A citation, the most severe violation type, Voice of San Diego reported

In response to the citation, which Aspen Leaf said it is appealing, the school has updated its COVID-19 policy to require masks on all children over 2 until the state’s mandate ends on March 11.

In his official complaint, Wu included multiple complaints by parents who were outraged over the CPSS investigation.

“I do not feel this interview served my child’s safety or well-being,” wrote one parent, “and I believe it may have given a harmful impression about her obligations to speak with strange adults in private without known caretakers present.” 

“I understand that while the licensing agency is authorized to conduct private interviews with the children – this authority was put in place and intended for use when there is a situation of possible abuse, which is ENTIRELY absent from this situation,” wrote another parent. “Therefore, this agency has blatantly overstepped their authority.”

“Frustrated. Angry. Aghast. Confused,” another parent wrote. “These are only a few of the words that describe what we felt as parents of a 3.5 year old who was questioned by government officials at his preschool regarding mask-wear indoors.”

Wu said he believes his preschool was unfairly targeted because he challenged the CDSS’ authority.

“After it all happened I actually pulled every licensing report issued in California during the pandemic to get the data to show we were treated more harshly than any other center,” he told Fox News Digital.

Click here to read the full article here at Fox11

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