SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

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By Hilda Maldonado, Superintendent of Santa Barbara Unified School District

Dear Families and Staff,

I would like to express my appreciation to our families for entrusting us with your students. To our staff, I would like to acknowledge the work that you are carrying out to deliver distance learning to our students. 

The profound and ever-changing conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic have created many challenges, including a heightened need to maintain clear and consistent communication with our staff and families. I wanted to take this opportunity to communicate with you directly about a few important items. Please look for regular communications from me on Mondays.

Elementary Waiver
Santa Barbara Unified will not be applying for the elementary school waiver at this time. We surveyed our community partners as well as our elementary staff and families and learned that there was not overwhelming support for reopening elementary schools under the waiver. Furthermore, the majority of our elementary staff members did not support the waiver.

Small Cohorts
Recently, SB County Public Health issued guidance on allowing small cohorts of students to be served in-person on school campuses (Small Cohort Guidance). This allowance stems from the recognition that there are groups of students who are struggling to learn within the distance learning model. We have our health & safety protocols in place and will begin serving small groups of students on campus within the next couple of weeks, beginning with those identified as having the greatest need. Teachers and other certificated positions may need to report to the school site to serve these small cohorts. You will hear more information about this in the near future. 

COVID-19 Testing
As we move to serve small student cohorts on campus, we will also be  putting into place regular testing of staff members. Known as surveillance testing, this will be a requirement for all staff who will be working in-person with students, or who will be around other staff members who work with students. 

Return to In-Person School
At last Tuesday’s board meeting we presented the information below to the board trustees. We will be refining our return-to-school plans based on this, and more information will be shared in upcoming communications. Currently there is no return date being discussed as we remain in “purple-Phase 1” of the governor’s 5-phase model. [see below]

Transportation 
Staff will be sorting out details on how to implement a transportation plan that ensures health and safety guidelines are followed. This is an area where we will reach out to families for transportation needs. 

High School Athletics
If all health & safety requirements have been met, high school athletics for the following Fall sports will begin the week of September 21, 2020: Football, Cross Country, Volleyball, Water Polo & Sideline Cheer. Athletic activity will be modified in accordance with the guidance provided by SB County Public Health and CIF, with a focus on skills training and conditioning. Coaches will need to be tested prior to starting. Athletic Directors and principals at each site will communicate sports-specific details. 

Food Services Reminders/Updates

  • Meals are FREE for all Santa Barbara Unified students, ages 18 and under
  • No student ID is required
  • Students do not have to be present. A parent/guardian may pick up the meal on the student's behalf
  • Meals can be picked up from any distribution site, no matter your home campus
  • NEW! We are now offering an a.m. pick up option: 7 a.m.-10:30 am Tuesday-Friday in the parking lot behind La Cuesta Continuation High School [corner of East Ortega and Garden streets]! Please head to sbunified.org for regular updates and details.
  • See FLIER for all details on meal distribution. 
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haskelslocal Sep 16, 2020 09:38 AM
SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

I got an idea. Let's hire a consultant at $100k. They will be from out of town and referred by a political party. Using them to advise will detach any responsibility from those who are getting paid to do their job. Then, when the consult comes back, they can make 100s of recommendations already being done, and 100s of others that only they can solve. Then, we can set up a perpetual contract with them as we shake money from the magic money tree to pay for it all. Oh that and force people to pay via property taxes. Hooray! Bring on the consultants!

PitMix Sep 18, 2020 10:54 AM
SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

Still cynical. Did anyone ever say- what this world needs is a bunch more cynics? Or does the world need more people who want to pitch in and help? We are very far from where the first Cynics started:
Cynicism is a school of philosophy from the Socratic period of ancient Greece, which holds that the purpose of life is to live a life of Virtue in agreement with Nature (which calls for only the bare necessities required for existence).

SBLetsGetAlong Sep 16, 2020 08:43 AM
SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

Ask directly which students are back, learning disabled, district employees children, lower socioeconomic children.
It’s not just learning disabled which everyone would understand. It’s many more.
While the rest of us have to quit our jobs, work part time because per the district middle income families don’t work as hard as lower socioeconomic families.
The district keeps saying “they are hard working” ignoring when I ask if they think others are not hard working
DISCRIMINATION!!! With the “color” of bias, racism.

SBLetsGetAlong Sep 16, 2020 08:39 AM
SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

“ Recently, SB County Public Health issued guidance on allowing small cohorts of students to be served in-person on school campuses (Small Cohort Guidance).”
The number of kids per SBPHD is 14. Every elementary class can be broken down to this size cohort.
So why is the district choosing to make the middle class hard working children & parents suffer?
What is the justification for the unequal education?

a-1600373669 Sep 17, 2020 01:14 PM
SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

The original bargain for public employees was lower pay upfront but a safe but modest pension after retirement. Which was also a good incentive to put in an honest days work on behalf of the people who were hiring government employees and handing them extraordinary powers over our daily lives providing their monopoly of government services. That changed dramatically after public workers were allowed to unionize in the 1960's. Now public employment offers very high pay and even higher pensions, based upon that higher pay. This sudden leap after 2000, was base upon the promise pension fund investments would alway make 8% returns. Didn't happen. So this is the reason the teachers unions and other public employee unions like SEIU are so interested in electing very friendly people to sit on the other side of the bargaining table and why they work so hard to elect union, and pension friendly school board and city/county/state legislators - elections are truly pocket-book issues for them. But the only source of more funding for their admitted self-interests are tax dollars. They produce nothing and have proven to have invested and over promised their pension funds very badly. Here is the solution: either put all public employees on social security like everyone else and they can save from their own higher salaries into their own IRA's., Or they convert to defined-contribution pension plans like the 401K plans other people can get too. But right now too many decades of union dominance of elected officials has handed us the worst possible combination - very high compensation packages while working and extremely high defined benefit pensions for the rest of their non-working lives. With the major problem they never got the 8% pension fund returns. So now tax payers for decades into the future will have to dig into their own pocket books to back fill and fund public workers what they now demand, while also funding the very high compensation packages for present public workers. Keeping in mind the only source for this public largesse to government employees comes from our tax dollars. That is what is not fair. Round one of the public union attacks is to dig into Prop 13 protections, and keep "taxing the rich" just to keep their union members flush at the expense of everyone else. You miss the key points of the argument, PitMix. What you are proposing is what is not fair - tax us at higher and higher rates every year, so you don't miss out on a dime. You are going to have to give a little to get a little from now on. Prop 15 will fail. And Millennials and GenX'er will rebel because they were never parties to this very unhealthy government employee union cash grab.

PitMix Sep 17, 2020 11:47 AM
SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

9:32, commercial properties should pay the same taxes as I do, not the ones my great grandmother pays. Teacher pensions are not crazy expensive like public safety pensions so I don't mind that they get to stay in the middle class when they retire. What about that seems terrible to you?

a-1600360347 Sep 17, 2020 09:32 AM
SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

You are halfway there PitMix, since Prop 15 asks to double "school" taxes by attacking commercial and rental property tax rates. Prop 15 was put on the ballot by the teachers unions and is one of the most deceptively worded ballot propositions to date. Keeping in mind any new "school taxes " will immediately be devoured to backfill the teacher pension funds and will never be used to improve actual student outcomes. Prop 15 is one more teacher union cash grab for themselves and no one else. Burned once, twice shy.

PitMix Sep 17, 2020 09:14 AM
SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

Like the other poster said, your name is ironic, right? The flaws in your arguments are these: Would have to hire double the teachers. Would have to build double the classrooms. Would have to pay double the taxes. Let me know when you get all of these into place and then we can follow your suggestions. Do your suggestions really seem logical to you?

Lorax Sep 15, 2020 09:03 PM
SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

Wow, this is so out of control. We sure got a lemon for our new superintendent. Clearly in the pocket of teacher's Union. Should be no surprise, look who picked her, the failed leadership of the district. Shame on the Board of Trustees, thank goodness we have an election soon to vote the incumbents out! So teachers are now considered " essential workers" and they bring their children to school . Unbelievable they have set the return date as Sept 21 for football, cross country, volleyball, water polo, and sideline cheer school sports and yet no school in person instruction? What is this circus! Students who are economically disadvantaged, Emergent English Learners as well special needs are also all allowed back on campus , but no not any other students!? What a bunch of crap. there is no science here there is only discrimination. i can see why the district is loosing families.
make your vote count! Save our schools. here's an invite for
Santa Barbara Unified School District Candidate's forum
Thursday September 17th from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Zoom hosted by CNS
Coalition for Neighborhood Schools
Moderator: Dr. Lanny Ebenstein, former Trustee SBUSD

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84037335074

If you have questions or would like to join email list, please email them to [email protected]

PitMix Sep 17, 2020 09:11 AM
SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

470722, get a grip. SB will elect the fine people we always have. And you will be gnashing your teeth about it here on Social Media, for all of the good that it does. Looking forward to your comments on Nov 4.

420722 Sep 16, 2020 06:08 PM
SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

Calling someone out for wanting a conservative school board yet here you are Pit hypocritically supporting Hilda Maldonado who is using her platform and liberal ideology as means of protest. I suspect much will change and quickly after the election.

PitMix Sep 16, 2020 07:16 AM
SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

Oh, I get it. You support Elrawd for School Board to get your conservative agenda back into the schools. So you have to attack the current Board and administration no matter what they are doing, otherwise what is the point of changing the current board? Too bad the school board became the entry point for local politics. It hasn't been the same since.

Sbrysa Sep 15, 2020 08:37 PM
SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

I think so many of us have lost faith in our public school system now. They’ve shown us we really don’t need them as we can homeschool ourselves or choose private school if you can afford it and still get a better education than zoom school. They did themselves a disservice for deeming themselves nonessential bc now some of us say hey maybe you’re right. If the state can tell businesses to work outside no matter how inconvenient and illogical it is they could have done a school outside. We have great weather and cancel school on the rainy days.

PitMix Sep 16, 2020 07:20 AM
SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

So you expect 800 middle school students at SBJH to attend school outside, 60 in the morning, 85 at lunch. Shade provided. Bathrooms. Water. Food. Desks. A local restaurant moves some tables onto the sidewalk next to their business, where they may have already had this arrangement, and brings food. Yeah, that's the same thing. Sheesh.

dukemunson Sep 15, 2020 07:54 PM
SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

“ the majority of our elementary staff members did not support the waiver.” A Succinct and honest answer. Insane and completely selfish, but at least honest. These people have lost touch with reality. They are being paid to teach, and are in fact sending their own kids to school... by are refusing to open themselves. Resign Hilda... you’ve abdicated your duty and failed our kids.

420722 Sep 16, 2020 06:02 PM
SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

Nice try. I saw the SBUSD email before school started in August saying that teachers will have priority access to indoor class settings for their own children with tutors AND I’ve seen it in person. The hypocrisy and lying around here is unnerving.

dukemunson Sep 16, 2020 12:11 PM
SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

At the last Goleta School District meeting they laid out a full presentation on the classrooms and teachers that are teaching the kids of school administrators and teachers. I assumed this extended to SBUSD...my mistake, I guess it's just GUSD that's being completely hypocritical on this front.

CitizenOfSB Sep 16, 2020 11:51 AM
SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

SBUSD teacher here. We were explicitly told that we are not allowed to bring our children with us to campus during the school day when we are teaching online (the district allows us to teach from our classrooms if we want to). Also, most SBUSD teachers who are parents of school-age children send their kids to SBUSD schools, so I'm not sure where you are getting the idea that teachers are sending their own kids to school.

dukemunson Sep 16, 2020 09:39 AM
SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

The school board won’t listen to logic, science or reason so...I don’t know... not pitchforks and torches (high fire zone) but maybe Something more like continued sustained accountability to do their job.

haskelslocal Sep 16, 2020 09:32 AM
SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

You're funny. Your excessive commentary would make for great fodder as a comedy writer. Have you ever thought of applying to a late night show writing team? They need crazy ideas to bounce around for storytelling. You'd be fantastic for this.

dukemunson Sep 16, 2020 09:04 AM
SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

The kids are out and about...private organizations are stepping up to do the job of teachers in inferior spaces and less resources. I'm appreciative of your wifes dedication, not sure I can 100% believe the hours and will snidely add in that those hours are spread over a total of 180 school days in a calendar year, but OK...the thing is, that line of thinking that schools will be "superspreader events" is the problem. It's indicative of fear instead of science...fear instead of reality. Private schools are open because they are beholden to the parents/teachers...public schools aren't open because the administrators and teachers are beholden to no one beyond themselves...and those direct deposit payments come biweekly no matter what.

sbdude Sep 16, 2020 08:26 AM
SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

My SO is an elementary teacher and in a normal year puts in 60 hour weeks. This year it's more like 70+ hours, week in and week out. She is an award-winning teacher with 10+ years' experience and seriously considering leaving the profession, as it's killing her. She terribly wants to go back to the classroom as she loves her kids but realizes that if they go back, it would be only a matter of weeks before a school-based superspreader event happens.

dukemunson Sep 15, 2020 08:10 PM
SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

Teachers have the option of having their kids at school because they have to “work”... on site school is available and free to them so they can work... What about everyone else? That sounds/seems selfish to me... and 14 hours... seriously? Exaggerate much or just on Edhat???

sbjoe Sep 15, 2020 08:06 PM
SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

How are they being selfish? My teacher wife has never worked harder in her life to put together online lessons. 14 hour days are common. No one wants this situation, but its better than any alternatives.

a-1600306806 Sep 16, 2020 06:40 PM
SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

Zoom is nothing more than the old discredited sage on the stage, which can be a very safe in-classroom model. Teacher up front - 3.5 meters away, students in rows of desks 3.5 meters away and/or with plexiglass shields. Done. Back to school.

dukemunson Sep 18, 2020 11:32 AM
SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

You do realize that the CDC is literally telling schools to open, right? Or did you just refer me to the CDC without ever actually visiting the website yourself? Good humor though as article after article on the CDC’s website tells how important for schools to open!

dukemunson Sep 18, 2020 11:29 AM
SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

It is strange times indeed when suggesting (ok maybe I’m more like “demanding”, though without much success or audience) that schools open to teach and keep the kids safe who, without school, are out and about anyways. It’s 2020... up is down, left is right! Thinking teachers and schools can do a better job teaching than the boys club or the Ed st George church is strange! What a Year!

pstarSR Sep 18, 2020 11:15 AM
SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

the science I am quoting comes from doctors not the internet.

but again please spout of misleading info stating that science says kids/ teachers can go back and are SAFE. when they are not( safe ). Inorder to protect the "vunerable" you social distance and wear a mask..... otherwise you are not protecting anyone...... So please stop saying what you are spouting off as "science" it is not. if you need to see what "science" is, please refer to the CDC for more info.

dukemunson Sep 17, 2020 11:34 AM
SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

What science are you quoting? We can apply for a waiver, take Lompoc (the Lompoc prison) and Santa Maria out of the equation for schools It’s obvious. Everyone agrees distance learning is not for the best. So your answer is leave it to the boys club, churches and community centers to supervise and educate our kids and keep the schools closed? What doctor or science could possibly justify that? A hodgepodge of unregulated, underfunded and I’ll equipped situations is better than our schools doing what they are designed for? Start with 2 or 3 days per week and build from there. In your defense you probably haven’t actually listened to the school board meetings. They acknowledge that they can open... but, in a quote that would make Orwell smile/jealous he didn’t come up with it, won’t open “because it would be disruptive to the teachers/administrators).

a-1600367372 Sep 17, 2020 11:29 AM
SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

Science says kids need to be back in school. You cannot refute this. Not sure what you are calling "science" because that word today carries such a partisan taint. Data shows it is safe for all concerned for students to be back in school: for the parents, the teachers and especially the students. Data now tells us who to protect that remain uniquely vulnerable. But they are the exception now; not the rule. Society at all levels can function again. We are better prepared for what the data has taught us this past half year.

pstarSR Sep 17, 2020 11:21 AM
SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

Duke, siding with "science" our kids are not going back to school. no one is abandoning kids, they are doing everything they can to continue learning. I.e distance learning.
Im sorry you dont like it, but its for the best. until you become a doctor, and make a vaccine, you yourself are the "crazy" fringe spouting off that things that are not true and fit your own narrative. pot calling the kettle black much?

dukemunson Sep 17, 2020 10:27 AM
SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

Ahh Pitmix, the prolific poster who never actually "posts" anything...it's blind fluff. "Great job school board" (for doing nothing). "You are a neocon" (for disagreeing with anything he/she/it says). You are a great example of the problem with this country. We have a two party system in which the fringe of both sides spout insane rhetoric...and unfortunately while being ( a very vocal) minority...they push the narrative. They say "the Virus is a hoax and mask are dumb". They say "to hide out and close everything for seemingly ever". They cant and wont see nuance or middle ground in anything. You are either with them fighting the "neo cons" or "antifa left" or you are against them and ARE a neo-con or antifi supporter. It's sad that our country to this divisiveness...but I honestly don't think it's indicative of the country at large...it's just indicative of a crazy fringe on either side with very loud microphones.

dukemunson Sep 15, 2020 07:58 PM
SB Unified Superintendent Provides Update on School Waivers

Everyone agrees our kids need a safe place to learn. Our schools are not doing it so we are scrambling to find places. The church next to franklin school... the boys club... a few churches. Applauding the school diarist is applauding people who have punted on their responsibilities... shame on the school district... they aren’t following science... they are abandoning our kids (while still cashing checks and sending their kids to school)

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