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School Board to Vote On Revoking Superintendent’s COVID-19 Emergency Authority

Conditions have ‘reduced in severity sufficient to return to normal governance operations’ according to report

Published on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 | 3:17 pm

Pasadena Unified School District’s Board of Education will move Thursday to revoke the PUSD Superintendent’s authority to take emergency action in connection with the COVID-19 emergency and in response to California Governor Gavin Newsom’s declaring a state of emergency in March.

The authority was given to the Superintendent through Resolution 2551, which the Board approved on March 12.

Effectively, the resolution authorized PUSD Superintendent Brian McDonald and/or his designee to take any action necessary to ensure the continuation of public education, and the health and safety of the students and staff at the district sites. Actions may include relocating students and staff, continued daily student transportation, provision of alternative educational program options, and directing staff to serve as disaster service workers and make alterations, repairs or improvements to school property.

Resolution 2551 did not provide any specific duration of time that the authority would be in effect.

In a report for the Board of Education for Thursday’s meeting, PUSD said emergency conditions have “reduced in severity sufficient to return to normal governance operations.”

Remaining decisions to be made with regards to the impact of the pandemic “are significant but are best made through the standard process of board deliberations and staff recommendations,” the report said.

Also on Thursday’s meeting, the Board of Education is set to approve the adoption of K-5 Social Studies instructional materials.

PUSD is recommending that the Board approve the adoption of TCI: Social Studies Alive!, one of two History/Social Studies programs that were presented to the school district and that teachers across K-5 grade levels piloted and evaluated during the Spring 2020 semester.

PUSD staff said during the piloting and evaluation, TCI: Social Studies Alive! rated higher than the other program, Pearson: My World, on all five criteria identified in the History/Social Studies adoption toolkit. Criteria, in accordance with California Department of Education guidelines, included standards alignment, program organization, assessment, universal access, and instructional planning and teacher support.

Teachers also found TCI: Social Studies Alive! to be more culturally relevant and inclusive, a consideration that was included for PUSD locally.

Adoption of the TCI: Social Studies Alive! program will cost PUSD up to $738,061.30 for eight years of materials. The PUSD report said the installments will be paid over a period of four years, with the first, second and third installments at $200,000. The fourth and final installment will be for $138,061.30.

The Board will continue discussions Thursday on the process and guidelines of budget reductions, in accordance with Governor Newsom’s May education budget revision.

A preliminary report from PUSD’s Chief Business Officer, Dr. Leslie Barnes, showed the May revision assumes that the state will lose $42.2 billion in revenues compared to January estimates for 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 combined. The revenue losses are compounded by additional COVID-19 state expenditures, estimated to result to a total shortfall of $54 billion for the state.

For PUSD, the impact to the education budget could be over $15 billion, the report showed. Dr. Barnes is expected to report Thursday on the specific impact this revision could have on various PUSD programs.

PUSD Board meetings are currently conducted through video-conferencing. Since the open portion of the meeting begins at 3 p.m., anyone wishing to make a public comment on both agendized and non-agendized items are advised to send their comments prior to start time to, to be read by the Board Vice President.

Comments must identify the topic and be limited to 450 words to keep within the three-minute time limit.

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