CUSD to declare itself a ‘Safe Haven School District’

Castaic Union School District Building. Dan Watson/The Signal

The Castaic school district is planning to declare itself a “Safe Haven School District” for all students, regardless of their immigration status.

Governing Board members of the Castaic Union School District (CUSD) are slated to approve a resolution at their Thursday meeting.

The resolution states that the district is and will continue to be a safe and stable learning environment for all students, who have a constitutional right to free and equitable public education.

“Under the law, all students have the right to attend public school and enjoy equitable educational and programmatic services, regardless of the immigration status of the students or the students’ family members,” the agenda item read.

In its proposed resolution, the district cites Plylver v. Doe, a United States Supreme Court case that states that children of undocumented immigrants “can affect neither their parents’ conduct nor their own stats.”

The court case also notes that education plays a fundamental role in society and provides basic tools for students to potentially lead “economically productive lives to the benefit of us all.”

Once the resolution is passed, district personnel will review their record-keeping policies and practices to ensure that no data related to immigration of place of birth is being collected “unless expressly required by law.”

The resolution also states that any immigration officials that request to contact a student or have access to student information shall be referred to the Superintendent’s Office to comply with the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

“By adopting his resolution, we are reassuring our community that our schools will remain safe places for learning and teaching for all students,” the agenda item read.

By-Trustee Area Election System

Board members are also set to adopt a resolution to approve the final trustee area plans for the district’s transition from an at-large voting district to a by-trustee voting district.

The district first began its transition process May 21, 2015 to comply with California Voting Rights Act.  To develop the trustee area plans, the district hired the National Demographics Corporation to present boundary plans for district, board and community consideration.

For the past year, the district conducted public hearings and forums to receive community input on the proposed trustee area boundary plans.

If the resolution and area plans are approved by the Los Angeles County Committee on School District Organization, the district will begin holding by-trustee elections beginning with the 2017 Governing Board election.

Preschool Tuition Increase

The governing board is also expected to approve a preschool tuition increase for registration and annual fees.

The agenda item states that the district’s preschool programs are “significantly under the average cost compared to neighboring districts and private preschool facilities” based on research the district conducted.

According to the agenda item, the increase in tuition is made to keep up with the cost of staffing with the state’s increase in minimum wage.

“In order to maintain a high quality and fiscally solvent program, we need to increase our rates,” the agenda item read.

Annual tuition increases in the upcoming years include a 7 percent increase from the previous year in 2017-18, a 3 percent increase from the previous year in 2018-19 and a 3 percent increase from the previous year in 2019-20.

Registration fees are expected to increase from their current price of $50 to $75 in 2017-18 and $80 in 2019-20.

Additional Agenda Items:

  • Hold a retirement celebration and presentation for Victor Torres for his work on the board since his election in 2009
  • Hear a Principal’s report from Erin Augusta of Northlake Hills Elementary School
  • Approve proposal from Edlio to update the district’s website and mobile app.  The web hosting and design will cost the district $9,110 in one time and annual fees the first year and $5,760 in annual fees the next four years, which will be paid for from General funds
  • Conduct first reading and adoption of new board policy and administrative regulation on suicide prevention.  The policy includes details regarding the planning, implementation and evaluation of district strategies to promote a positive school climate in addition to student mental and emotional development, staff training, intervention policies and crisis intervention procedures.

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