The Santa Barbara Unified School District will continue with its current COVID-19 precautions, pending public health guidance, Dr. Frann Wageneck, assistant superintendent of student services, said in Tuesday’s school board meeting.
Board meetings will remain virtual-only for the public, though the district and its board meet in person.
Schools will still screen students for COVID-19 and take precautions, even when the tiered reopening system ends next week. The district will continue offering vaccine clinics at school sites.
“We are waiting to hear what the state is going to give us in terms of guidance for the next phase, but we do anticipate that there will be masking in certain situations,” Dr. Wageneck said.
Three parents commented on the future of masking in the schools, attributing students’ anxiety to masks.
The meeting included a short public hearing on the district’s Local Control and Accountability Plan, a three-year plan that directs the spending of a small portion of the district’s fund.
Steven Venz, director of school performance and student outcomes, explained a few details before public comments.
“I just want to make sure that we’re clear that 52% of our student population is designated as low-income. That’s over half our student population. That means LCAP is designed to really focus and work for that student population because it’s designated as one of the unduplicated students,” he said.
He also addressed the META plan, the overarching multilingual education program. META is expanding next school year to slowly turn McKinley Elementary School into a dual-language immersion campus.
“META is a plan designed for emerging multilingual students, and it’s for all of our students within the school district. You hear about a specific strategy that we’re using, which is the DLI program at McKinley. That’s just one component (of META).”
Roseanne Crawford, who has frequently commented on META in past meetings, asked for more details about the funding of the dual-language program and how success will be measured.
Monie de Wit, another frequent commenter, was part of the parent advisory committee for the LCAP. She felt like her comments were not listened to during the meetings.
She hoped for more support for the disabled student population.
Ms. de Wit was the only commenter in the public hearing on the 2021-2022 budget. She asked for a school site breakdown of spending.
The board will vote on the budget and LCAP during its next meeting on June 22.
In the action agenda, the board approved a contract with Cooperative Strategies, LLC, to create trustee areas for the 2022 school board election. The board had approved the change to trustee areas in 2018, but a contractor had not yet been hired.
Meg Jetté, assistant superintendent of business services, said she looked at five contractors. She chose Cooperative Strategies for its commitment to engage the public as well as its focus on school districts.
To view the meeting, go to youtu.be/0aUnkWbSKsk.