At the August 8 regular board meeting, PYLUSD trustees voted 3-2 to allow the district membership to the California School Boards Association (CSBA) to lapse. According to the August 9 coverage of the decision from the OC Register, “PYLUSD will be the only district in Orange County that is not a member of the CSBA. According to the CSBA’s website, more than 96% of California school districts are members.”
One of the most important functions CSBA offers to school boards is legislative representation and support. They primarily provide resources to support trustees in complying with the vast spectrum of regulation that applies to them not only as publicly elected officials but also as advocates for the complex and ever-changing landscape of public education. One of the most recent instances of CSBA support for a member district was their legal support of local control of decision-making in a suit filed against the State Board of Education representing Napa Valley Unified: http://blog.csba.org/charter-petition-lawsuit/
While legal counsel can supplant this service, an attorney’s hourly rate (which is frequently rounded up from 15-minute intervals) can quickly outstrip the annual membership cost of CSBA without any additional training, benchmarking, and networking benefits. Trustee Anderson (Area 2) raised concerns about the already rising costs of the district’s legal fees, even WITH CSBA representation. It may be worthwhile to keep an eye on those costs now that the district has exited CSBA. In January, the district approved a new attorney, Orbach, Huff, and Henderson.
There are not currently any alternatives to membership in CSBA, although PYLUSD staff analysis of this recent decision would be helpful to provide additional perspective.
The only explicit objections raised publicly regarding CSBA have consistently come from Trustees Youngblood (Area 1), Blades (Area 3), and now Frazier (Area 4), who have also all declined to individually participate in CSBA in a meaningful way since their elections.
You can watch the meeting here: https://pylusd.new.swagit.com/videos/268786