Third public hearing held to discuss the fiduciary sector election system
PASO ROBLES – The Paso Robles, Joint Unified School District (PRJUSD) Board of Directors met for their regular meeting on Tuesday, June 22.
During what was a lively meeting from start to finish, during the general public, residents raised concerns ranging from translation issues from Spanish to English, teachers asking for student pronouns, critical race theory and the potential closure of the Georgia Brown Elementary School campus. .
Superintendent Curt Dubost clarified that no decision had been made to shut down Georgia Brown at previous meetings.
Jesus Cendejas, a former administrator at Cuesta College, called to address diversity, equity and inclusion.
âI want to start with a history lesson. In the 1930s in Frankfurt, Germany, a group of Jewish intellectuals came up with the school of critical thought in response to the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany. They were then banished and exiled from this country because they were Jews and had leftist views.
Critical Race Theory is something we need. But I don’t want to focus on that because the white supremacy that has been allowed to boil in this neighborhood is unacceptable, hears the translator. This is a blatant violation of civil rights and of the statute of non-discrimination adopted decades ago.
If this is your warning that this Council is failing in its commitment to its students and parents, Chris, Dorian, I know you can hear me. We are watching you. And action will be taken against this Council and its continued violation of civil rights procedure. “
Cendejas continued with statements criticizing the Council, then was arrested because his three minutes of public commentary was over.
President Arend then reminded the audience that comments regarding the talking point J.3. Discussion of 6144 Board Policy and Critical Race Theory (CRT) will have to call and comment when Council gets to this point.
Article J.3. description says:
The attached Board Policy and By-Law 6144 – âAcademic Freedom / Controversial Mattersâ describes the role and duty of the board in handling the discussion of controversial issues in district classrooms. Staff believe that the topic of Critical Race Theory (CRT) should be debated or discussed in a class only as a controversial issue not presented as fact. Care, in particular, must be taken in ANY discussion of the CRT to comply with AR 6144, which specifically states, â6. Discussion is not prejudicial to persons because of their race, sex, color, belief, national origin, ancestry, disability or profession â.
Staff sought guidance from the Board on the applicability of BP / AR 6144 to any discussion of CRT.
Council also expressed interest in discussing a resolution related to the CRT, a draft of which was presented as a starting point for this discussion should Council decide to ask staff to prepare such a resolution.
After public comment, the board moved on to the third public hearing for the Trustee Zone Scenarios which includes maps that will be used when the district moves to a “Trustee Zone Election System”. from the election of the 2022 governing board â.
Brad Pawlowski provided an update and an overview of the Trustee field scenarios.
The maps are currently based on 2010 census data as there has been a delay in receiving the 2020 census data. Once the 2020 data is available, the maps will be updated.
Pawlowski said, âAfter two public hearings to collect community feedback on the process of creating the fiduciary zone map, the district released two maps prepared by the demographer. After two additional public hearings in which Council received public comments on the draft maps, the district released scenarios two and four with several electoral sequence options for final considerations on the map. Scenarios one and three have been eliminated because they do not create fiduciary zones that increase Hispanic / Latino representation and influence.
Yessenia Echevarria said during the public comments: âAs you can see, there are no people of color sitting in the seats you are sitting in. Mapping is something that must be done and must have a Hispanic representation. I still don’t see the Hispanic representation.
Echevarria continued to say that she had offered her services to Pawlowski but had heard nothing from him.
No one who spoke during the public comments explained why the scripts do not represent the Hispanic community or who would run in the next election.
The PRJUSD Board of Directors is elected by the residents of Paso Robles.
Trustee Dorian Baker asked if there could be another public hearing on the Trustee’s scenarios. Now that the meetings are fully open in person, there is more public interest in the trustee cards.
There have now been three public hearings since the maps were developed and two public hearings before that.
The public was invited to create and submit their own maps. However, staff did not receive any cards or contributions from the public.
Item I.2. Adoption of resolution No. 21-26 presenting a proposal to the San Luis Obispo County Committee on the organization of the school district for the adoption of municipal council elections has been moved to follow the public hearing.
Administrators proposed to move scenario four, directing A to the San Luis Obispo County Committee on School District Organization for review, which passed with a 5-2 vote, with Baker and Jim Reed voting no.
The last point of discussion on the agenda was J.3. Discussion of Board Policy 6144 and Critical Race Theory (CRT).
Superintendent Dubost started the discussion by saying, âFirst of all, let me clarify that this is not an action point tonight. This is a topic of discussion only. We’re asking the board to indicate what they want us to put or not on the next July 13 agenda.
Last week, the district received more than 70 letters from parents asking about the district’s position on the CRT.
There were over 50 public comments for the meeting, both in person, by phone and by email. District policy is 20 minutes of public comment per article.
To allow everyone to have their say, Council would interrupt public comments at 10:50 p.m. and extend its meeting until 11:00 p.m.
Superintendent Dubost said he has received requests from the public to prioritize public comments from Paso Robles residents over comments from residents outside of Paso Robles residents.
Comments were made by the public in favor and not in favor of the CRT and lasted for over an hour.
Chairman Trustee Chris Arend drafted Resolution 21-27 PRJUSD prohibiting the teaching of critical race theory.
President Arend said: âI find it extremely important that we take a position on this position due to the extremely confrontational nature of the CRT. This does not mean to whitewash history. We made sure in our ethnic studies class not to whitewash history. There is no reason to do so. This is history as it is, and we will teach the facts.
He continued, âI put language in the resolution that we should teach about this. Not teaching CRT, but educating students what it is, but we’re not going to indoctrinate them into CRT if I can say something about it.
Administrator Nathan Williams responded by saying, “I respectfully think the resolution is wrong. If we pass a resolution to ban CRT in our schools, we are deliberately impeding academic freedom.”
The Council decides not to put this item on the next agenda.
In the future, Council may organize a study session on the district’s position on the CRT and the possibility of creating a resolution.
The next regular board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday July 13th.