ATASCADERO – The Board of Trustees of the Atascadero Unified School District (AUSD) met on Tuesday, February 2, to present the name of the new building and budget information for the Atascadero Unified School District. The meeting also discussed initial proposals for negotiations between the AUSD and the Atascadero Unified School District Teachers’ Association (ADTA).

Superintendent Tom Butler used his report to describe some recent developments that will allow the district to return to face-to-face education in accordance with the new guidelines of the state and the San Luis Obispo County Health Department. The SLA district is currently at the purple level; however, if the district moves to the red level and achieves certification, the schools could open for classroom instruction in five days. Previously, a district could not open until two weeks after certification.

The next item on Tuesday night’s agenda was the new name of the recently completed Black Box Theatre and several other construction projects on the Atascadero High School (AHS) campus.

The Citizens Advisory Committee and Board of Directors unanimously agreed to name the theater after Mr. Stu Stoddard, who served the district for 29 years before retiring in 2018. The name of the theater will be Studios: The Stoddard Center for the Arts.

After kind words and old stories from the boardroom, Stoddard took the audience on a delightful and well orchestrated trip down the hill to the high school athletic track.

“I feel honored to share this identity with such a structure and to be associated with the education that will surely continue within its walls,” Mr. Stoddard said. “Knowledge is the surest basis of public happiness in any country, which George Washington was.”

Following Mr. Stoddard’s prepared remarks, Assistant Superintendent Jackie Martin Zoom joined us to provide information on the district’s budget based on the Governor’s January 2021 budget proposal. The theme of the Governor’s budget is rebuilding and supporting schools as the state enters its second year of closure.

Martian said the district is currently doing well, but there is still a problem for 2022-2023 because the money is based on average daily attendance (ADA) and enrollment continues to decline. The district has been funded by the ADA for the last two years 2019-20 and he is concerned about a significant reduction in funding in 2022 if it is based on that year, but noted that this situation is not unique to Atascadero and that the state is aware of the problem.

Finally, the Board of Directors and ADTA shared their initial negotiation proposals for 2020-2021, which will initiate a formal negotiation process and will be discussed in more detail at future Board meetings.

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