The CUSD governing board met on June 20. The primary reason for the meeting was to approve the finalized 2019-2020 district budget and Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). Additionally, the board voted on awarding contracts for Special Education Transportation RFP Bids and approving the agreement between the CUSD and the California School Employees Association (CSEA). Finally, the trustees also voted on pay increases for both the Assistant Superintendent, Donnie Salamanca, and the Superintendent, Karl Mueller.

Each of the items was approved by unanimous vote. Both the LCAP and budget had been previewed by the board prior to this meeting.

The LCAP is a three-year plan for the district that is updated annually. Its purpose is to outline key goals and how the district intends to achieve those goals. For instance, the CUSD goals include learning goals, community communication, and maintaining a safe and supportive school environment. The plan outlines actions taken, services provided and expenditures made.

The budget was little revised from the one proposed at the June 6 meeting. That one was based on expectations of the governor’s budget. Salamanca indicated that there was a single material change to this budget which was the impact of the expected CSEA salary increase to be voted on later in the meeting.

The single item that generated the most discussion was the award of contracts for special education transportation. For the last 12 years, the district has relied upon Care-A-Van to provide special education transportation. The district opened up a bid process where it considered other vendors for the next contract year, including vendors that are essentially “ride-share” companies. The most obvious differences between the leading contender (Zoom) and the incumbent vendor are contract drivers in the first case versus employee drivers and a much higher bid from the incumbent. A number of speakers came forward to protest the possible award to Zoom (or other such vendors) on a number of grounds, including questions about the consistency of drivers, their lack of training for transporting special needs children, and overall safety for students. The board heard objections and concerns from a number of parents, one of whom told a tragic story of her special-needs daughter having “unspeakable things” done to her on her way home with a relief school bus-driver many years ago. In the end, the vote seemed to hang largely on the major savings the district could have with the new vendors and the comfort that trustees seemed to take in the good reviews (coming from reference checks) of the vendors thus far with other school districts (albeit not necessarily with special needs children).

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