Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District Building in Placentia, Calif., in a screenshot image. (Google Maps/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)
The Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District is leaving the California School Boards Association, a statewide nonprofit organization that provides training, advocacy, and policy analysis for its members.
The district’s board majority voted to leave the organization on Aug. 8, making it the only school board in Orange County who will not be a member of the association.
The organization has a membership of nearly 1,000 educational agencies statewide, provides policy resources and training to members, and represents the statewide interests of public education through legal, political legislative, community, and media advocacy, according to the organization’s website.
The district pays between $21,000 and $26,000 per year to be a part of the association, according to district documents.
Ahead of the vote, Alex Cherniss, who became superintendent of the district in May, said he believed the fee was too high.
“Unfortunately, 99.9 percent of districts do not question the cost and value of [the organization], and simply rubber stamp this membership. That is just wrong,” Mr. Cherniss said. “As superintendent, I have already asked staff to evaluate the cost, purpose, and effectiveness of all organizational memberships, professional development opportunities, conferences, [and any others].”
Trustee Todd Frazier agreed, saying he thought many of the organization’s membership benefits were things that the board could manage on its own.
“Most of the things that are provided by [the organization] we can handle ourselves as far as updates and all those things,” Mr. Frazier said. “Also, there’s a lot of different places you can get information these days, and it probably used to be [that the organization] was the only place to get that training and education.”
However, Trustee Carrie Buck supported keeping the district’s membership, saying she thought that the training was “incredibly valuable.”
“[The training] gives you a good foundation of what school districts really do,” she said, adding that she thought it was important to participate and have the district’s voices heard on education issues in the state Legislature.
Ms. Buck also raised concerns that the board would no longer have access to the various education policies that the organization develops for its member districts to use.
Trustee Leandra Blades, however, replied that she felt the organization’s developed policies are “unnecessary” because the district’s own administrators are “smart people and fully capable of writing our own policy.”
Ms. Blades went on to call the group a “lobbyist” organization that did not stand for the board majority’s values.
“[The organization] has lobbied against what parents want,” Ms. Blades said. “From what I have read, our membership fees will go against a certain political party and disparage a political party. We should be making sure everything is for the kids and keeping politics out of it.”
The California School Boards Association was not immediately available for comment.