Dear Superintendent Vital -
I am in receipt of Susan Holiday, Assistant Superintendent, Education Services response to my Level 3 Uniform Complaint dated February 8, 2016.
First- since all of these correspondences are time sensitive, I want to document that I received Ms. Holiday’s response on February 25, 2016. Her response to me has no date, so let the record reflect a date of February 25, 2016.
I hope that you can provide some clarification on the following:
1) Miss Holiday state’s:
“Your complaint has been, and continues to be, reviewed under the District’s general complaint procedure in Board Policy 1312.1. Your appeal rights are delineated under this policy, and any appeal right described in the District’s Uniform Complaint Procedure does not apply."
Ms. Holiday’s response to my Uniform Complaint is the FIRST Notice I have received stating that my rights to appeal have been altered due to a change in the District’s Uniform Complaint Policy/Board Policy 1312 on December 9, 2015. In researching the CDE web site regarding complaints it does appear that both the State of California and CUSD are in the process of modifying the complaint process as evidenced by changes in the Uniform Complaint Process on CDE’s web site, and CUSD’s change to Board Policy 1312 on December 9, 2015.
The following is the timeline I have been following to date:
November 18, 2015 I addressed the Board regarding Fundraising For Core Educational Programs
http://cusd.capousd.org/cusdweb/boardaudio/11-18-15/CUSDBoardMeeting11.18.15.mp3 at 42 minutes 8 seconds
December 7, 2015 I made a formal request to have Fundraising for Core Educational Programs placed on the December 9, 2015 Board Agenda.
December 9, 2015 The District granted my request to have Fundraising for Core Educational Programs placed on the January 27, 2016 Board Agenda.
December 9 2015 I addressed the Board regarding Fundraising for Core Educational Programs
http://cusd.capousd.org/cusdweb/boardaudio/12-9-15/12-9-15%20final.mp3 at 1 hour 10 minutes 28 seconds
December 9, 2015 Board Agenda Item #23. Second Reading - Board Policies 1312.1, Complaint Procedures; 1312.2 Complaints Concerning Instructional Materials; 1312.3, Uniform Complaint Procedures: (Discussion/Action) Page 255, Exhibit 23 http://cusd.capousd.org/cusdweb/boardaudio/12-9-15/12-9-15%20final.mp3 at the following times:
2nd Reading Board Policy- December 9, 2015 Agenda Item #23, page 255
4 hours 34 minutes 51 seconds: CUSD needs to complete these policies to make deadline for Federal Program Monitoring Audit Scheduled in February
The record reflects that due to lateness of the meeting a motion was needed to continue the meeting past midnight.
The record reflects that Trustee Alpay left the meeting.
The record reflects discussion about needing 4 yes votes to pass policy.
4 hours 43 minutes 45 seconds: Discussion how to proceed due to late hour and absence of Trustee Alpay.
4 hours 53 minutes 21 seconds With no Discussion- the Board Adopts a revised Board Policies 1312.1, Complaint Procedures; 1312.2 Complaints Concerning Instructional Materials; 1312.3, Uniform Complaint Procedures:
There was no discussion and 2 Trustees were not present- it was late- the Board was tired and everyone was rushing to get through policy.
While the Board voted to adopt the amended policy on December 9, 2015. It is unclear on what date the new policy was actually changed on the District web site.
1st Reading Board Policy - November 18, 2015 Agenda Item #18 page 131 http://cusd.capousd.org/cusdweb/boardaudio/11-18-15/CUSDBoardMeeting11.18.15.mp3
3 hours 45 minutes 49 seconds - the item needs to be brought back for a second reading.
January 6, 2016 I filed a Uniform Complaint Level I with the District using the Districts original Uniform Complaint Form http://peopleforstudentrights.com/index.php/complaint/uniform-complaint-district-funding-for-art-and-music
January 14, 2016 The District Responded to my Uniform Complaint Level I with no mention that the Uniform Complaint I submitted no longer applied to this matter and that I was to proceed under the amended Board Policy 1312.1.
January 20, 2016 I filed an Appeal to Level 2
January 26, 2016 The District The District Responded to my Uniform Complaint Level II with no mention that the Uniform Complaint I submitted no longer applied to this matter and that I was to proceed under the amended Board Policy 1312.1.
January 27, 2016 Citizen Presentation to the Board “Fundraising for Core Educational Programs” Agenda Item #5 page 7 Exhibit 5A-1 and 5A-2 Slide Presentation to the Board Exhibit 5A1: http://www.slideshare.net/DawnUrbanek/fundraising-for-core-educational-programs Staff Recommendation to Trustees Exhibit 5A-2 at page http://capousd.ca.schoolloop.com/file/1218998819331/1262503101751/5233370917763515617.pdf
The District’s response contained a direct reference to the fact that under Local Control, the CDE no longer “required” school districts to follow State Content Standards and Curriculum Frameworks. Under Local Control, subject content and instruction time were left to the discretion of the classroom teacher, the school site Principal, and District Staff.
CUSD’s stated position is that California school districts are no longer required to provide every student with the “minimum” curriculum defined by Education Code Section 51210 and 51220. My complaint was denied on the basis that embedding art and music into an individual classrooms daily curriculum satisfied minimum standards for instruction in art and music. The District went on to say that those schools that could fundraise for primary music, taught by a district employee that held a special teaching credential in music did not create wealth based inequities among students, because that was “enrichment” beyond the minimum curriculum as defined by the State’s new Local Control Funding Formula. The District also stated that those schools that could fundraise for programs like Meet the Masters or Art Masters did not create wealth based inequities among students in the district because that was “enrichment” beyond the minimum curriculum required. The same is applied to those schools that can fundraise for science, instructional aids, academic counselors, librarians, class size reduction, instructional materials and supplies and building maintenance.
Staff went on to state:
“The Parent Teacher Association provides access to visual and performing arts programs above and beyond the minimum requirement. The District is very appreciative of the additional programs that enrich our students and wish to maintain these opportunities so generously donated by parents."
At the January 27, 2016 meeting I used my time to discuss Staff’s Exhibit 5A-2 instead of going through the slide presentation regarding Fundraising for Core Educational Programs that I had originally intended to present.http://cusd.capousd.org/cusdweb/boardaudio/1-27-16/CUSDBoardMeeting.January.27.2016.mp3
The item presentation and discussion can be hear on the Board Audio at 2 hours 26 minutes 16 seconds - 2 hours 46 minutes 50 seconds
2 hours 38 minutes 5 seconds - Fundraising for music teachers compensation increases - $25,000 compensation increase in one year paid for with fundraising dollars which created some schools to drop the program.
2 hours 41 minutes 18 seconds - Concern that PTA’s would not be able to fundraise for art and music anymore.
2 hours 43 minutes 06 seconds - Differential services must be looked into.
2 hours 44 minutes 12 seconds - The law still requires Credentialed Teachers to teach art and music - classroom teachers and parents do not hold a specialized teaching credential in art or music.
2 hours 45 minutes 23 seconds - We have a legal path to get adequate funding from the State to provide every student with all core educational programs.
Conclusion - Fundraising is creating wealth based inequities in the quality of education that students are receiving within the District; but, the continued lack of adequate funding from the State provides the District with little recourse.
February 10, 2016 I filed an Appeal to Level 3 http://peopleforstudentrights.com/index.php/complaint/uniform-complaint-district-funding-for-art-and-music/uniform-complaint-appeal-to-level-iii
February 25, 2016 The District Responded to my Level 3 Complaint.
February 27, 2016 I am filing a Complaint with the Superintendent and seeking clarification on how to proceed under the State and the Districts change in policy regarding Citizen Complaints.
The main complaint put forth is that the due to a continued lack of adequate funding from the State of California, the Capistrano Unified School District is no longer able to provide every student in the district with the State’s adopted course of study as outlined in Education Code Sections 51210 and 51220. The Districts reliance on fundraising and donations to provide the minimum course of study required by law is creating wealth based inequities in the District that deny students of their fundamental right to achieve a quality education as defined by the State’s content standards and curriculum frameworks thereby denying students of their fundamental right to a FREE and EQUAL public education, in violation of equal protection laws of both the California Constitution and the US Constitution.
The Complaint, goes on to State that there is a conflict in the law (LCFF) and the California Department of Educations interpretation of the law (Local Control), which can only be resolved at the State level. Therefore Ms. Holiday is incorrect in stating that this Complaint should be handled through CUSD Board Policy 1312.1 rather than the Uniform Complaint Process. Under the CDE’s new complaint process - complaints regarding the LCFF are to be handled through the Uniform Complaint Process. My rights to appeal are to be delineated by the Uniform Complaint Process.
2. In Ms. Holidays denial of my claim she goes on to state:
“In your Level 2 Appeal, you expanded your complaint from the Level I Complaint filed on January 6, 2016. Your complaint now encompasses concerns regarding not only the District, but also the State of California and the California Department of Education. As remedies you request the District contact the California Legislature, organize the 2016-17 District budget in a certain manner, retain an outside auditor to review all donations to the District since 2013, and reimburse you for the cost of your child’s private school.”
… “the District meets Board Policy and the legal requirement of providing access to the minimum required curriculum for Visual and Performing Arts.”
First- the complaint was not expanded. Incorporated into the Uniform Complaint Level 1 filed with the District on January 6, 2016 were the following documents:
Slide Presentation for the January 27, 2016 Board of Trustees Meeting which is now part of the District’s Board Agenda as Exhibit 5A-1at page 7 of 535 : http://capousd.ca.schoolloop.com/file/1218998819331/1262503101751/5233370917763515617.pdf
The slide presentation documents that CUSD is in violation of:
The United States Constitution
The California Constitution
7 Education Code Sections
1 Code of Regulations
2 CUSD Trustee Bylaws
and 16 CUSD Board of Trustee Policies
Federal Complaint Count 16 Fundraising for Visual and Performing Arts can be found at the following link: http://peopleforstudentrights.com/index.php/complaint/count-16
LCAP Goal 3 Annual Review can be found at the following link: http://peopleforstudentrights.com/index.php/lcap/lcap-goal-3
All documentation posted on the web site: http://peopleforstudentrights.com/index.php
Contained on the website is the draft of a complaint to be filed in Federal Court challenging the constitutionality of the State of California’s new education funding law (AB-97 Local Control Funding Formula) which is also contained in the slide presentation now incorporated into the January 27, 2016 Board Agenda Item #5 and was part of the original Uniform Complaint filed on January 6, 2016.
The denial of my complaint based on the Ms. Holidays representation that CUSD provides every student with access to the minimum curriculum required by law is nothing more than her opinion and is in fact in direct opposition to what Trustees stated at the January 27, 2016 BOT meeting. Trustees admitted that there were wealth based inequities created by the districts reliance on fundraising to pay for core educational programs, but the District saw no way to remedy this situation because of the State of California’s continued lack of adequate funding to schools. Trustees are elected by the people to represent the interests of taxpayers and students in all matters before the Board. They have a duty to advocate for adequate funding and an obligation to communicate to parents that the lack of adequate funding from the State is the reason the district can no longer provide even a minimum core curriculum for students.
3. The CDE’s interpretation of what Local Control means is in direct conflict with State Laws regarding minimum courses of study, State Content Standards and Curriculum Frameworks and results in a violation of equal protection laws.
“Every school in California is required to provide instruction in the subjects named above (English, Math, Social Sciences,Science, Visual and Performing Arts, Health, Physical Education), although physical education is the only subject that has statutorily required minutes of instruction. The schedule of the instructional day and week is determined by the teacher and the local school and district administration.”
Please take note of the fact that the CDE has removed the Trustee (the peoples elected representative) from having any voice in curriculum and content standards at the local level.
“While implementation of specific academic content standards is a local decision and not specifically mandated by EC, California strongly recommends their local use. Statewide assessments which are mandated by EC are based upon California’s adopted academic content standards.”
What this means for parents is that there is no accountability for Districts to fund a minimum curriculum for students. Further, parents have no way to know how well an individual district is doing in providing even a basic education for students until students pass or fail a state mandated assessment. This is from a Department of Education that is continually changing graduation requirements, assessments and even went so far as to hide 15 years of test data from the public so that parents would not have the ability to see if academic performance was improving or declining.
4. In Ms. Holiday’s denial of my Complaint she goes on to state that if I do not agree with her determination, I may submit a request in writing to be heard at a regularly scheduled board meeting of the Board of Trustees. "Under District Board Policy 1312.1, the decision of the Board, whether is hears the appeal or after hearing the appeal, is final.”
Community Relations BP 1312.1(a)
The Board of Trustees accepts responsibility for providing a means by which the public can hold employees accountable for their actions. The Board desires that complaints be resolved expeditiously without disrupting the educational process.
The Superintendent or designee shall develop regulations which permit the public to submit complaints against district employees in an appropriate way. These regulations shall protect the rights of involved parties. The Board may serve as an appeals body if the complaint is not resolved.
The Capistrano Unified School District does not have the right to deny any child of their fundamental right to a FREE and EQUAL quality education as guaranteed them by the State Constitution and State and Federal Law. And, the Capistrano Unified School District certainly does not have the right to limit my remedies to achieve a quality education for students to District Staffs opinion of the law. This matter has already been brought before the Board of Trustees who have admitted that a lack of adequate funding from the State of California and CUSD’s reliance on fundraising and donations to pay for core educational programs has resulted in wealth based inequities within the District that violate equal protection laws of both this State and the US Constitution.
In conclusion, I will again ask for the following relief:
1. Request that Superintendent contact the California State Legislature in an effort to resolve the following question:
Did the State Legislature pass AB-97 – School Finance with the intent to make District compliance with California Content Standards and Curriculum Frameworks optional rather than mandatory?
District Staff represented to Trustees that under AB-97 Local Control, implementation of specific academic content is a local decision and not specifically mandated by Ed Code. This statement is in direct conflict with the following laws which require State’s to offer every student and equal opportunity to achieve a quality education by mandating that Districts provide every student with a minimum course of study that is defined by state mandated content standards and curriculum framework:
United States Constitution Section 1 Equal Protection Law
State Constitution Article 9 Section 5 Free School Guarantee
State Constitution Article 1 Section 7 and Article 4 Section 16 Equal Protection
Education Code Section 51210 - Course of Study Grades 1-6 - The District is required to fund two visual and performing arts classes at every school site.
Education Code Section 51220 - Course of Study Grades 7-12
Education Code Section 51225.3 Academic Subjects Required for Graduation
Education Code Section 60605.1 State Board Adoption of Visual and Performing Arts Curriculum
Education Code Section 8810 - Arts Education must be included in school curriculum
Education Code Section 8820 - Inclusion of the Arts in a school curriculum
Education Code Section 8950 - Summer School for the Arts
Education Code Section 51225.3 (E) - Required Courses of Study for Graduation - One course in visual or performing arts, foreign language, or, commencing with the 2012-13 school year, career technical education.
Education Code Section 60605.1 - Visual and Performing Arts Curriculum, content standards
Education Code Section 51511 - Religious matters properly included in courses of study
Code of Regulation Title 5 Section 350 - School Fees not permitted
Bylaws and Board Policies of the Capistrano Unified School District Board of Trustees:
Board Policy 0100(a) - Philosophy:
Board Policy 0200(a) – Philosophy-Goals-Objectives and Comprehensive Plans
Board Policy 0410 "Philosophy - Goals - Objectives and Comprehensive Plans - Nondiscrimination in District Programs and Activities"
Board Policy 0420.1 Philosophy-Goals-Objectives and Comprehensive Plans BP 0420.1(a) SCHOOL-BASED PROGRAM GUIDELINES
Board Policy 1000 "Community Relations - Concepts and Roles"
Board Policy 1020 “Community Relations – Youth Services”
Board Policy 1100 "Community Relations - Communication with the Public"
Board Policy 1112(a) "Community Relations – Medial Relations"
Board Policy 1160 "Community Relations - Political Process"
Board Policy 1230 Community Relations School Connected Organizations
Board Policy 1260 Community Relations – Educational Foundation
Board Policy 1321 "Community Relations - Solicitation of Funds From and By Students."
Board Policy 3000(a) Business and Non-instructional Operations
Board Policy 3200.1 - Business and Non-instructional Operations – Funding Alternatives
Board Policy 3260 (a) Business and Non-instructional Operations – Student Fees
Board Policy 3290 "Business and Non-Instructional Operation - Gifts, Grants and Bequests"
Board Policy 3291 “Business and Non-instructional Operation – Gifts to School Personnel
Board Policy 3452(a) STUDENT ACTIVITY FUNDS
Board Policy 5180 “Students- Non-discrimination”
Board Policy 60000 “Instruction - Concepts and Roles in Instruction
Board Policy 6116 “Instruction – Classroom Interruptions”
Board Policy 6135 “Instruction- Curriculum Guides”
Board Policy 6141 “Instruction – Curriculum Development and Evaluation”
Board Policy 6142.6 “Instruction- Visual and Performing Arts Education”
Board Policy 6143 “Instruction – Courses of Study”
Board Policy 6145 (a)(b) Instruction Extracurricular and Co-curricular Activities
Board Policy 6145.7 Instruction- Class Parties
Board Policy 6146.1(a) Instruction – High School Graduation Requirements
Board Policy 6151 Instruction – Class Size
Board Policy 6190(a) – Instruction Evaluation of Instructional Program
Board Policy 6191(a) – Instruction – Criteria for Evaluation of Consolidated Programs
Board Policy 9000(a) and (b) - Bylaws of the Capistrano Unified School District Board of Trustees "Role of the Board: Powers & Responsibilities
BP 9271 - Bylaws of the Board - "Code of Ethics"
BP 9300 - Bylaws of the Board “Governance”
BP 9311(a) Bylaws of the Board – “Board Policies”
BP 9314 Bylaws of the Board – Suspension of Policies
2. Under State and Federal law, every student has a fundamental right to a free and equal education. Every student in the Capistrano Unified School District is entitled to district funded minimum course of study that is defined by state mandated content standards and curriculum framework. CUSD cannot state that it has insufficient funding from the state to provide a basic education to students then proceed to give yearly compensation increases to District Employees.
The State Legislature has a constitutional mandate supported by case law, to provide every child in the state with substantially equal opportunity to achieve a quality education. "... equality of educational opportunity requires that all school districts possess an equal ability in terms of revenue to provide students with substantially equal opportunities for learning." The Court defined that to be the same opportunity to obtain high quality staff, program expansion and variety, beneficial teacher-pupil ratios and class sizes, modern equipment and materials, and high-quality buildings. [Serrano v. Priest 18 Cal. 3d 748]
A minimum course of study is defined by Education Code Section 51210 and 51220 and requires that each subject be aligned with State Content Standards and Curriculum Framework.
If CUSD does not have sufficient funding to provide equal opportunities for all students to learn the District cannot then say it has sufficient revenues to give employees continual compensation increases. The District must first meet its constitutional obligation to students.
3. Request that an outside auditor review all donations to CUSD from 2013 (implementation of Common Core State Standards) to the present, and return any donations that were used to fund core educational programs to donors, to be used for “enrichment” programs.
4. As a taxpayer in California, my child is entitled to a quality education. Due to a continued lack of adequate funding, the Capistrano Unified School District can no longer educate GATE identified students that are high achievers in math, that want to graduate from high school ready for a 4-year selective University. As such, I am entitled to reimbursement for the cost of educating my child outside Capistrano Unified School District. The following is the cost for the remainder of their middle and high school tuition.
Tuition 8th Grade 2015-16 $27,810
Tuition 9th Grade 2016-17 $30,900
Tuition 10th Grade 201-18 $33,990
Tuition 11th Grade 2018-19 $37,389
Tuition 12th Grade 2019-20 $41,128
Total High School Tuition $171,217
The yearly tuition is equivalent to the compensation increase that CUSD gave to Primary Music Teachers Jennifer Baker, Jerome Healy and Quinn Thornburg last year, that parents had to fundraise for. Those parents that could not fundraise a sufficient amount to pay for these compensation increases had to cancel they music programs. It is unconsionable that any parent should be expected to fundraise for employee compensation increases.
Incorporated herein and published on http://www.peopleforstudentrights.com
Count 16 of Federal Complaint- Fundraising for a Visual & Performing Arts Curriculum
November 18 BOT Meeting - Addressed the Board - Board Audio at 41:40
Formal Request to have an issue placed on BOT Meeting Agenda
Request Granted - Item to be placed on the 1-27-16 BOT Meeting Agenda.
December 9, 2015 BOT Meeting - Addressed the Board - Board Audio at 1:10:32
Slide Presentation for the Board published on the internet
District's Response to Uniform Complaint Level II
BOT Meeting Agenda Item #5 - Fundraising for Core Educational Programs
Kristen Vital, Superintendent, Capistrano Unified School District
Board of Trustees:
Neil Anderson, Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator, Capistrano Unified School District
Marc Patterson, Executive Director, Secondary Curriculum & Instruction, Education Division
Susan Holiday, Assistant Superintendent, Capistrano Unified School District