Canalino Kindergartners

Kindergartners from Angela White’s and Andrea Edmonson’s classes munch on chicken burgers at Canalino School in 2017.

The board of the Carpinteria Unified School District (CUSD) met for a brief mid-summer meeting Tuesday, July 23. Superintendent Diana Rigby reported to the board on the finalization of the state budget and its impacts on local funding, progress in hiring to fill outstanding positions, an increase in student meal costs, and the modernization projects taking place at Aliso, Canalino and Carpinteria High schools.

The state budget, signed on June 27, will have only “negative or minor effects” on CUSD spending, said Rigby. There are no one-time funding dollars, a change that was anticipated by district staff for the 2019-20 school year. A minor reduction in CalSTRS and CalPERS employer contribution rates to staff pension funding will have a small positive effect on district spending. Perhaps the most significant change, reflecting Governor Gavin Newsom’s focus on early childhood education, is the Special Education Preschool Grant, directing additional dollars for all 3, 4, and 5-year-old students with Individual Education Plans. On the other hand, the loss of the Low Performing School Block Grant means CUSD will take a hit of roughly $94,000, funds which had been used for teacher professional development and online learning tools.

The loss of the Low Performing School grant will be offset by saved administrative costs involved in relocating the Rincon/Foothill High School campus to CHS. The responsibilities of Rincon principal Barnaby Gloger, who has relocated to Portland, Oregon, will be assumed by CHS principal Gerardo Cornejo and Rigby. The 19 students of Rincon/Foothill will move to portables on the CHS campus.

The meeting’s only moment of discord came with the board’s vote on increasing the price of student breakfast and lunch by $0.25. Trustee Rogelio Delgado dissented from the board’s adoption of the price increase, which will affect all elementary, middle and high school students as well as staff. Primary school breakfasts and lunches will now cost $1.75 and $3, respectively, while secondary meals will go for $2 and $3.50. Staff lunch costs will get the greatest increase, rising from $4 to $5.

According to Rigby, Measure U modernization projects at Aliso, Canalino and CHS are proceeding on schedule, and are now 55 percent complete. The renovation projects—which include new flooring, ceilings, heating systems, fans, window shades, lighting, communication systems, technology, paint and furniture for worn-out classrooms—are scheduled to be completed by Aug. 19. Rigby invited the board to survey the progress along with the Citizens Bond Oversight Committee. Rigby also welcomed Gabe Covarrubias as the new Assistant Principal of Carpinteria Middle School. Covarrubias, formerly on staff at the RJ Frank Academy of Marine Science and Engineering in Oxnard, has a special tie to Carpinteria, having worked as a meter reader for Southern California Edison here early in his career. Hiring continues for several positions, including Canalino and Summerland elementary teachers, special education instructional assistants and a maintenance supervisor. 

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