CASBO is partnering with education management associations to encourage you to contact your legislator to share the successes and challenges of opening schools and providing in-person instruction this year. We recognize that every local education agency (LEA) faces different circumstances as we continue to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 and the varying needs for independent study and in-person instruction.

As the Legislature deliberates its final actions before the end of the legislative session, on September 10, we want to ensure they understand the landscape of serving students during these uncertain times and provide support and programmatic relief that will ensure school sites can remain open for instruction during the new COVID-19 Delta surge.

To that end, we have prepared some talking points that you may use to provide this important feedback to your legislator.

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Recommended Talking Points

 – Start with your successes.

“For months, we have been preparing for a fully in-person education this fall. For families not ready to return to the classroom, we have made every effort to offer a robust independent study program, which is the non-seat-based option provided in this year’s Budget Act (Assembly Bill 130).”

Include examples of your staff’s commitment to your students.

– Explain the shocking impact of the Delta variant (and wildfires) on independent study capacity.

“The Delta variant has spread among our families. We are seeing a surge in demand for independent study — both as a full-time option and due to the dramatic quarantines we are experiencing.

Include examples of independent study demand spiking. What is not working about independent study this year? Focus on students’ continuity of learning.

 – Identify the root cause: a shortage of teachers, substitutes and other staff.

“This school year is beginning with 20,000 fewer teachers compared to one year ago, according to CalSTRS. We want to offer more expanded learning opportunities, before and after school programs, and independent study options for families, but we are struggling just to keep our classrooms staffed with substitutes, given quarantines and the need to add new independent study classes.”

Include a discussion of your specific staffing and substitute shortages.

 – Inform them that you need their help.

“As the Legislature considers K-12 education legislation in the final weeks of the legislative session, I want you to know two things: (1) We are doing everything we can to serve students, and (2) we are not asking for an ADA hold-harmless or a return to distance learning. We need the state’s help to:

      • Extend CBEST waivers,
      • Increase post-retirement earning limits for retired teachers (one year only; verified need),
      • Allow independent study to be taught by California certificated teachers who are NOT employees of the LEA,
        Clarify CDPH rules (quarantines; outdoor and extracurricular activities; sports) to maximize in-person learning, and
      • Provide public health staffing for contact tracing and testing.”

Thank you for your time and assistance in helping us advocate on your behalf on this important topic. If you have any questions, please contact Sara Bachez, CASBO Chief Governmental Relations Officer, at