In a hastily scheduled Tuesday morning "study session," the PAUSD school board will hear the first public report on the district's compliance with settlement agreements with the US Department of Education's Office for Civil Right for violating the civil rights of disabled students. School board president Dana Tom and VP Barb Mitchell chose to schedule the report for the just-announced 10:00 am session on a "Safe and Welcoming Schools Action Plan" rather than for the regular Board of Eduction meeting scheduled for Tuesday evening.
The action follows an apparent abortive attempt to discuss the OCR investigation in a closed session on April 23. Tom and Mitchell were forced to cancel that discussion "on advice of counsel" because it would have been illegal under the state's open meetings law, the Brown Act. The Tuesday morning report will be immediately followed by a closed session to discuss the Superintendent's performance, last discussed in a closed session in late January.
Notice that OCR compliance will be discussed Tuesday morning does not appear on the agenda on the PAUSD web site (see Web Link), but instead in the downloadable "board packet" (see Web Link).
The session also includes a "Lessons Learned" report from Dr. Charles Young, the Associate Superintendent. Young is the designated Compliance Officer who was charged with assuring that the District followed applicable state and federal law on protecting student civil rights. It was those laws that OCR found were systemically violated.
In related action, Tom cancelled the planned discussion of the new PAUSD bullying policy that had been scheduled for Tuesday evening's board meeting. As noted in an earlier post, the district has so far failed to secure OCR approval for the new policy. The sticking point is likely PAUSD's unwillingness to conform its "site-based control" method of handling harassment and discrimination complaints to the requirements of state law and its settlement agreements with the federal government.
Also on the school board agenda for Tuesday evening is a request by staff to commit $140,000 for legal services from the law firm of Laurie Reynolds, who gave a public presentation to the Board of Education on the OCR investigation that the Weekly described as so inaccurate and misleading as to amount to "pure obfuscation" (see Web Link).
The school board will also discuss adopting new PAUSD strategic plan, which reaffirms the board's commitment to full public transparency.