Crucial school board election draws interest Race assumes unusual partisan feel

photo by Karen Laslo
A Rosedale parent protests outside a Board of Trustees meeting earlier this year.

by Natalie Hanson
posted Sept. 24

A crucial school board election is drawing unusual public interest in Chico, with pressure high on administrators and elected officials to address performance gaps, school safety and politically-driven battles over educational materials.

Voters will fill three seats on the Chico Unified School District (CUSD) Board of Education on Nov. 8. Board members have faced unprecedented demands during the pandemic, as the majority chose to follow the state’s guidance -– despite outcry from some parents and an unsuccessful recall attempt. In addition, the suspension of a Rosedale Elementary School vice principal and equity leader sparked scrutiny of the district’s equity practices. read more

Chico Unified enrollment rises CUSD recovering from pandemic and fire trauma

by Natalie Hanson
sidebar posted Sept. 24

Despite a turbulent period since the Camp Fire, further complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Chico Unified School District (CUSD) administrators say so far this fall, enrollment is rising and teacher staffing levels are recovering. That has given some running for the school board hope to be able to tackle multiple high-pressure concerns.

Jim Hanlon, human resources assistant superintendent, told ChicoSol last month that the district was facing some staffing issues. However, as the school year began he said in an interview that although enrollment dropped from 12,253 students in 2019 to 11,834 in 2021 -– its lowest point in five years -– it has increased to 12,176 this year. read more

Chico Unified faces staffing and fatigue issues Inflation will raise District costs, but state funding may reach a high

This CUSD general fund graph compares projected cash flow for the coming academic year (red-dotted line) with the two previous years.

by Natalie Hanson
posted Aug. 1

Chico Unified School District is struggling to solve the staffing and fatigue problems plaguing schools across the nation — even with its coffers well-funded for the coming academic year.

Chico Unified Teachers Association President Kevin Moretti said teachers have been aided by smaller class sizes, block schedules at the high schools and more aides “when we can find them.”

However, new funding may not necessarily solve all staffing problems. Like many school districts across the country, Chico Unified has seen an increase in retirements and resignations during the pandemic. The district has raised the wages for lower-paid positions that are at a premium, like classroom aides and bus drivers. read more

CUSD plans take shape to address achievement gaps Equity leadership funding in question

photo by Leslie Layton
Parents demonstrate for equity outside a Board of Education meeting after the suspension of Rosedale equity lead Joana Campos Castañeda.

by Natalie Hanson
posted Aug. 2

While Chico Unified’s school board finalizes a budget for the coming year, it also has approved a plan for using state funds to address academic achievement gaps.

Parents and educators, however, said as recently as school board meetings in late June that their requests for improving the district’s approach to equity for all students have gone unanswered.

The board approved an adjusted plan for the 2021-2022 academic year to address gaps in reading and writing among students of color, particularly English learners, at all grade levels, as part of the Local Control Accountability Plan process. (The LCAP involves the district’s plan for using state funding to identify areas of need and tackle learning obstacles.) The school board agreed to designate a so-called “equity lead” on every campus to handle diversity events and discussions. read more

Parents and professors: Reinstate vice principal, commit to equity Chico Unified grapples with equity issues in wake of Rosedale suspension

photo by Karen Laslo
Protesters outside a May 18 CUSD Board of Trustees meeting.

by Natalie Hanson
posted May 22

Following the suspension of a Rosedale Elementary assistant vice principal, families around Chico are calling on Chico Unified School District (CUSD) and the school board to not only reverse the decision, but to also take action on equity.

Joana Campos Castañeda, known as Joana Campos at Rosedale, was placed on leave last month and alleged she was told that her methods as an assigned equity lead were not appropriate for the school.

Since the decision, many parents and some Chico State educators have stepped forward to rally on Castañeda’s behalf and petition district leaders to commit to furthuring equity. A Chico State attorney has filed a complaint against the district on behalf of his Rosedale child, arguing that CUSD lacks “clearly defined procedures with respect to equity programs.” read more

La subdirectora y líder de equidad de Rosedale Elementary informa que la han suspendido Inquietud entre los padres de familia

foto por Leslie Layton
Subdirectora de la escuela Rosedale, Joana Campos Castañeda era tambien la líder de equidad.

por Natalie Hanson
publicado 2 de Mayo

Read this story in Enlish here.

Los padres de familia de Rosedale Elementary reclaman la necesidad de hacer un cambio después de que la subdirectora, quien también era la líder oficial de equidad/justicia, reportó que la han obligado a tomar una licencia administrativa.

Joana Campos Castañeda, la subdirectora, y este año también líder de equidad, declaró que la suspendieron de sus responsabilidades por “insubordinación” después de que ella expresó su dudas y preocupaciones sobre el enfoque de la escuela para lograr la inclusión. Aunque se la conoce como Ms. Campos, la administradora ahora usa Castañeda como su apellido. read more