Castaic Board to review four new policies

Castaic Union School District Building. Dan Watson/The Signal

Castaic schools are looking to more clearly define social media policy, political practices and more in accordance with its regular review of education code and best practices identified by a statewide school board group at a governing board meeting this week.

The Castaic Union School District Governing Board is looking to review and adopt four new policies related to district-sponsored social media, political processes, school-connected organizations and professional standards Thursday.

The adjustments primarily follow recommendations from the California School Boards Association (CSBA) and follow new California laws that took effect this year.

Social media

The first new policy relates to district-sponsored social media, like Facebook and Twitter, and describes the purpose, strategies and guidelines for posting on these platforms.

These district-sponsored social media sites are meant to promote community involvement and collaboration, further the district’s vision and mission, support learning and professional development, and enhance communication among the community, according to the new policy.

Other school sites, like Parent Teacher Organizations (PTOs) and booster clubs, are not considered official district social media, according to the policy.

Parent-teacher groups

This note relates to another new policy about school-connected organizations like PTOs and non-student organizations that support the programs or offerings of schools in the Castaic district.

“The policy on School-Connected Organizations is a policy that we did not have in place but we see a need for it,” Board President Laura Pearson said. “On most policies we follow CSBA or fit them best to our district, because their attorneys review and write the policies for laws or legal recommendations.”

The policy clarifies the relationship between the Castaic district and school-connected organizations and adds information that explains that these organizations are separate legal entities subject to their own bylaws and rules.

It also reflects legal requirements that fundraisers from these organizations must be approved by the district’s superintendent or designee, and donations to these organizations are voluntary, according to the policy.

These organizations, which support schools and extracurricular programs, must request to operate to the board by submitting a completed application and renewing this request annually.

Political activity

Another new board policy, political processes, relates to the political activities conducted by members of the district’s Governing Board or members of the staff acting on behalf of the Castaic district.

“After reviewing our policies Superintendent Doyle realized that, although the Board follows certain rules and practices, that we did not have a policy in place,” Pearson said. “With the election in 2018 coming up we have created a policy for Political Processes.”

According to the policy, the board is allowed to advocate for fiscal and public policy that supports the district’s schools and children.

When ballot measures or candidates are up for a public vote, the district and board may not use public funds or services to support or defeat a ballot measure or candidate.  But, they can discuss the potential effects of a person or measure during a school board meeting, share fair information about each topic and adopt a resolution to support a ballot measure.

In terms of ongoing legislation, the board can develop an advocacy plan to determine its priorities and positions on specific legislation.  The district can also host political forums as long as it is made available to all sides.

Professional standards

The board is also looking to delete and replace a board policy about professional standards since the current policy is outdated.

CSBA updated this policy to reflect a new California law, Assembly Bill 500. The law requires school districts with codes of conduct that address interactions with students to post that policy on each school website and to share it with parents and guardians.

The board is also expected to review and adopt two revised policies: Communications with the Public and Advertising and Promotion.

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On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

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