During the Carpinteria Unified School District’s regular June 8 meeting, Superintendent Diana Rigby went over the district’s local control accountability plan, which tackles student achievement, parent involvement, school climate and other factors, aiming to improve student retention and achievement. 

“Our focus is on the most vulnerable student population, which is the economically disadvantaged, English learners and foster children,” Rigby said.

Rigby noted that across the district, total enrollment fell from 2,205 during the 2017-2018 school year to 2,092 during the 2020-2021 school year; the percentage of English language learners fell from 33.7% in 2017-18 to 28% in 2020-21; the percentage of socioeconomically disadvantaged students rose from 63.9% in 2017-18 to 71.7% in 2020-21; and the percentage of students with disabilities rose from 10.6% in 2017-18 to 14% in 2020-21.

The number of Hispanic students also rose slightly from 73.6% in 2017-18 to 74.9% in 2020-21, while the number of white students fell slightly from 22.4% in 2017-18 to 22.1% in 2020-21. 

“I do want to make a note that this year, I think the significant increase (in the percentage of socioeconomically disadvantaged students) was really related to self-reporting. It was not an application basis, so the percentage is not determined based on application, it was based on parents determining they were economically disadvantaged,” Rigby said. 

For the 2019 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) ELA standards, 54% of fifth grade students met or exceeded CAASPP ELA standards, compared to 47% of eighth grade students and 56% of 11th grade students. 

Approximately 46% of fifth grade students also met or exceeded CAASPP math standards, compared to 41% of eighth grade students and 41% of 11th grade students. 

“That is not acceptable. The ultimate goal is that we need at least 85% performing at or above grade level, but each year we’re going to set a goal (of 60%) that is more reasonable,” Rigby said. 

Rigby added that 13.5% of students are considered long-term English learners, meaning they do not achieve English proficiency by the time they graduate high school. 

For student engagement in 2020, the data showed a 95.9% average daily attendance rate, with 12.7% chronic absenteeism and a 2.7% suspension rate. There were no expulsions. The graduation rate was also 93.3%. 

Rigby said the district plans to help struggling students in several ways, including reducing elementary student to teacher ratio to 20:1; monitoring weekly student progress; and revisiting instruction in reading and math to increase student achievement, among other programs and interventions. 


District budget 

Maureen Fitzgerald, assistant superintendent, said the district is projecting a 5.23% rate in property taxes, compared to the May revision projection of 5.07%.

Currently, CUSD teacher salaries range from $47,777 at the lowest end to $93,485 at the highest, Fitzgerald said. 

For the 2021-2022 school year, Fitzgerald said that 80% of the district’s revenue – or $28,059,366 – will come from state aid and property taxes, compared to 3% in local revenue, 12% in state revenue and 5% in federal revenue.

For expenditures, 83% of the district’s expenditures – or $29,167,489 – will go to salaries and benefits, compared to 12% services and operating, 3% books and supplies and 2% on bus leases.


Tentative agreement with teachers union

The board approved a tentative agreement with Carpinteria Association of United School Employees (CAUSE), which includes a 2% salary increase for CAUSE members. This amounts to $343,979 annually.

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