Once Again, CUSD Retaliates Against Union President and Members


Attention CAUSE Union Members, District Employees, and Families:

Many of you know and have worked with, Jay Hotchner, your elected Union president and tireless advocate for District employees.

Although (in a recent precedential legal decision) the state of California directed District leadership to cease and desist from any further retaliation, the District has once again placed Mr. Hotchner on administrative leave.   CUSD leadership has not informed Mr. Hotchner or CAUSE of the District’s charges against him.  CAUSE strongly believes this is further retaliation because of his role as a union leader.

Moving forward, CAUSE and the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) will continue to advocate for its members and Mr. Hotchner (who will continue in his role as CAUSE President and employee advocate).

For more details, please see the letter, linked below, to CAUSE membership.


In Unity,



* C.A.U.S.E. – Yes We Can ! *


Bargaining Update

Aug. 30th & 31st, 2022


Greetings District Employees, Families, and Interested Community Members,

The bargaining partners met on Tuesday (Aug. 30th, 2022), and will meet again today (Aug. 31st, 2022) to continue our Summer bargaining sessions.  Here is a brief update on the major topics discussed…

1.) The CUSD District Calendar:

On Tuesday, the District submitted its most recent counter-proposal, which CUSD published to the community in July, but did not officially and legally submit to CAUSE until yesterday.  After reviewing the proposal, the Union responded with the attached counter-proposal; The Union’s 5th Counter-Proposal on the 2022-23 District Calendar – Aug. 30, 2022.

Contained at the outset of the proposal, the Union proposed that the bargaining partners work to develop a 2 years calendar agreement.  Pursuing a two year calendar agreement is a routine action, when bargaining partners are committed to providing District employees and families an opportunity to plan well in advance of any future District dates, start times, holidays, etc.   In light of the confusion associated with the District’s decision to release the District calendar in the 11th hour of the Summer break, the Union believed this proposal was value added for all parties, but especially employees and student families.

However, the District refused to discuss and promptly rejected the possibility for a two year agreement; stating that it would now prefer a status-quo calendar ( a suggestion CAUSE provided in May, 2022).  Unfortunately, the District’s refusal to even discuss a two year calendar option preserves the same confusion and uncertainty CUSD pursued this Summer; confusion and uncertainty that now appears even more intentional than we had originally thought.

2.) Compensation & Benefits:

CAUSE leadership and District employees refuse to accept the District’s original plan; a 1% salary increase, while continuing to angle for future healthcare cuts, which was simply not acceptable.   And we’re pleased that CUSD is beginning to better understand this, as well as the frustration and hardship experienced by District employees struggling with ‘bread and butter’ issues, as the cost of living (regionally) has increased by approximately 15%.

On Tuesday, the District provided a proposal on Article 6: Compensation & Benefits (see attached).  Although this proposal still falls short, it is more realistic than their position in the late Spring and early Summer, 2022.  Unfortunately, among other concerns, CUSD’s proposal is founded on the District’s politicized budget predictions, versus the unaudited actuals (not politicized predictions) due to be released in late September / early October, 2022.

Similarly, the District’s proposal does little to resolve the variety of other compensation and benefits issues that remain outstanding.  These issues, brought to the attention of the bargaining partners throughout the last year, address the comprehensive proposals and contract amendments our members have requested we pursue.   Therefore, the Union will develop a counter-proposal; as informed by those District employees who have discussed their interests with our representatives, participated in our Union SURVEYS, and shared their suggested improvements throughout the previous year.

Moving forward:

We look forward to meeting with the District shortly, and will send another update when there is more to report.   In the meantime, if you have not had a chance, please take a moment to complete our most recent SURVEY, which explores members’ interest in an “OPT-OUT” option associated with our employee HEALTHCARE offerings.

In Unity,

~ CAUSE Leadership



* C.A.U.S.E. – Yes We Can ! *


Aug. 23, 2022

CUSD School Board Meeting

[ Union Public Comments * RE: Several Topics. ]


Greetings District Employees, Families, and Stakeholders,

Once again, Union Leadership provided the CUSD School Board much to consider at the Aug. 23, 2022, school board meeting.   Via this ADVISORY, we’d like to share access to the variety of important issues impacting District employees, their students, families, and the teaching & learning environment.

Since last Tuesday’s Board Meeting, Union leadership has appreciated the positive feedback we’ve received from District employees, families, Board Candidates, and even a group of recent alumni. : )  We are always ready to share the experience of District employees with our neighbors and members of the community.  So keep those personal email addresses coming!

For your convenience, we’ve provided a link to the Aug. 24, 2022, School Board Meeting, just below:

We have also provided the specific AGENDA Item, a summary of our message, and the MINUTE (in the video) where you will find the Union’s public comment:

 C.5 – Approval of Minutes 

For those who are unaware, District leadership quietly provided themselves  a 5% salary increase AND a 2% bonus, while the majority of the community and District personnel were distracted with Summer activities.

Meanwhile, District leadership has only budgeted, postured, and prepared to offer District employees a mere 1% salary increase, along with potential healthcare cuts, caps, and/or claw-backs.


All this, while the cost of living regionally has increased by approximately 15% regionally.

 [ see MINUTE –  06:08 ]

  1. Consent Agenda

In the CONSENT AGENDA, the District considers the expenditure of public monies on a variety of topics. Union leadership asks the School Board to explain how they have reconciled their decision to squander $2,000,000 of public tax-payer monies to continue pursuing and supporting retaliatory attacks against Union leaders and District personnel who simply wish to support and participate in their employee union?  With so many important programs to run and resources yet to provide our students and teachers in the teaching and learning environment, how does District leadership justify this EXTRAORDINARY expenditure and behavior?


Although Union leadership understands the Superintendent’s desire to avoid further accountability for the illegal actions of senior management and those Board Members serving during the Spring of 2022, this is not the way to go about it an effective resolution.


Ironically, in attempting to avoid accountability by forcing the Union to take the District to court, District leadership actually managed to confirm their own legal liability in the process.  During recent months, in no less than 4 different occasions, CUSD was held liable and required to resolve a variety of contract violations and unfair labor practices based on the illegal behavior of District Principals (CMS Principal Lisa O’Shea & Canalino Principal Jamie Persoon), District Directors and Supervisors (Human Resource Director Diana, Zapata, Maint. Supervisor Jim Petit, and the Assistant Superintendent, Maureen Fitzgerald), and the CUSD Superintendent (Diane Rigby).  All this, supported and paid for under the watch of a group-think School Board !

 [ see MINUTE –  09:54 ]

  1. Public Interest / Reports / Presentations 
  1. Superintendent’s Report
  2. Public Commenton Items Not on This Agenda


Given the Summer myth making engaged in by District leadership, CAUSE leadership was compelled to clarify upon CUSD’s misinformation associated with the ongoing 2022-23 collective bargaining process.


Early in the Summer of 2022, ( actually, June 24, 2022 ), Union Leadership recognized and publicly shared that the District may need (and was permitted) to take uni-lateral action on a variety of calendar decisions, including:


a.) determining & announcing the start date of the 2022-23 instructional year


b.) determining & announcing the end date of the 2022-23 instructional year, and…


c.) initiating the State mandated changes to the CHS daily start times.


Union leadership, District employees, and members of the community, primarily District families, had hoped that the District would provide much needed clarity upon the details (a, b, and c) above.   But even though the District had the privilege and opportunity to do so, District leadership instead held-hostage the community’s interests and CUSD families ability to plan around the start of the school year.

Although the Union can’t take responsibility for the District’s decision to maintain and promote the very confusion they were entitled to resolve, CAUSE did not miss another opportunity to object to CUSD’s Summer misinformation campaign or District leadership’s attempts to blame the Union for the very confusion the Superintendent and School Board chose to preserve until just days before the school year began.


 [ see MINUTE –  28:56 ]

  1. Measure U – Infrastructure Bond

The Union recognizes the mixed bag of performance in this area.  We recognize that completed projects create a cleaner and safer atmosphere for students, faculty, support staff and site-administrators serving the teaching and learning environment.   Employees appreciate the relief provided by these upgrades, and appreciate the support of the community members of Carpinteria who have contributed a significant sum of their personal fortunes to fund the MEASURE U project.


That said, after significant errors were exposed in the Spring of this year, amounting to…

(a) several $100,000 in overruns

(b) the delays associated with several projects

(c) the flubbing of documents provided to the community

(d) that as a result of said overruns, announcements that certain projects promised to the community will not be either initiated or completed

… leaves the Union concerned.


Although the oversight of such a fund and development is not in the wheelhouse of our Union leadership team, we will continue to do our best to monitor these expenses and the impact of said expenses.


Similarly, and in light of the District’s decision to remove the very fund experts and technological tools previously employed to successfully manage the MEASURE U fund before these massive overruns were caused, Union leadership  also asks those members of the community (who may hold expertise in the area of public infrastructure and development) to monitor these matters for the good of CUSD’s students, employees, their families, and the broader community.


 [ see MINUTE –  43:50 ]

  1. Personnel Summary

CAUSE leadership believes that at first glance, the personnel numbers speak for themselves; and clarify that there continues to be EXTREME employee transiency occurring across the CUSD.


Since the arrival of the current Superintendent and Human Resource Director, the District has struggled to recruit, hire, and maintain talent across the District.   Although the COVID pandemic aggravated this condition, it was well in place before COVID-19 was even a thing.  Unfortunately, given the current administrative capacity and orientation to such issues, it appears that this condition will continue to impact the District well beyond that which is routine for a K-12 District of either our size or in our location.


The District was recently bragging about “the amazing job done filling openings for the 2022-23 school year,”  citing claims and applause associated with a 25% turnover in District staffing.


But what appears clearly missed in all that self-congratulation is that all these openings, or at least the vast majority, are the result of otherwise competent and experienced employees who chose to leave the District on their own accord.   Most often, due to negative and unprofessional experiences they endured at the hands of District administrators, not students, not families, and not their professional colleagues.

Had the District conducted routine EXIT INTERVIEWS, the CUSD would have data to share on why these employees left.  However, it doesn’t; even after successive months of Union leadership requesting that the CUSD develop and initiate consistent EXIT INTERVIEWS of departing employees.


Although District leadership, during the 2nd May (2022) Board meeting, was embarrassed enough to claim that EXIT INTERVIEWS do exist and that the process is being utilized, those statements have been confirmed to be inaccurate and beyond over-inflated; at best.


The Union had been pleased to learn that the District was moving to develop a consistent EXIT INTERVIEW process, but when we sought information, now months ago, regarding how that process officially worked, the District failed to respond or even acknowledge our request.  Union leadership does not believe this is a coincidence; not just because we know, all too well, the District agents that made such claims.  After checking on several recently departing employees, CAUSE has been unable to find any employees who participated or were even offered an opportunity to participate in such a process.


Although we understand why Senior management and the school Board does not want to collect data that would confirm the plethora of concerning employee experiences shared under Superintendent Rigby’s direction; deceiving the community on this topic and leaders burying their heads in the sand will not resolve the conditions continuing to cause this extreme flight from the District.


 [ see MINUTE –  54:34 ]

  1. Future Agenda Items


At the 2nd Board meeting in May, 2022, both community members and Union leadership used public speaking minutes to share comments with the community and School Board.   While doing so, members of the School Board not only over-talked speakers during their delivery of public comments, but also engaged in strongly opinionated and misinformed statements during the very limited speaker time.

This behavior was a breach of your authority, and the Union asks that you cease and desist this behavior in the future.  Board members have an opportunity to comment during the period of item discussion, but not to drown out the voices that either agitate them or that they disagree with.   And most certainly, Board members do not have the opportunity to obstruct and rob public speakers of their already shortened “3 minute opportunity” to comment on a given agenda item.


Union understands that several Board Members struggle to hear that which they and Senior District leadership have been so diligently struggling to hide behind their ability to control the message at these Board Meetings.  But, everyone must play by the rules, even CUSD School Board members and administrators.


With the above in mind, Union leadership once again requests a thorough review of the boundaries associated with School Board member communications, either at these events, in private, or other public venues. We believe that such a review will inform all interested parties about their opportunity to participate in District business, and what realistic expectations they may anticipate in regard to their conversation with our elected School Board politicians.


 [ see MINUTE –  1:03:35 ]

As shared with the District and the community, Union leadership remains available to discuss these matters further.  We invite District leadership, school Board candidates, District employees, and members of the community to contact us with that purpose in mind.

In Unity,

~ j. Hotchner * CAUSE President


* C.A.U.S.E. – Yes We Can ! *



Potential Calendar Proposals/Changes




CUSD Employees, Parents, & Stakeholders.


Before the end of the instructional year, the collective bargaining partners (CAUSE & CUSD) will be meeting to begin negotiations.  We predict the first topic bargained will be the CUSD * 2022-23 * District Calendar.

As Union Leadership prepares for these negotiations, we’ve received several suggestions (i.e. potential calendar changes) from the District colleagues we represent.  In hopes of better understanding the support that exists for these suggestions, we ask that you take a moment to complete the SURVEY link just below…

Once informed by your participation and interests, CAUSE Leadership will finalize and share our formal calendar-proposal prior to carrying it to the bargaining table.


Of significance:  Absent a negotiated agreement, the bargaining partners (CAUSE & CUSD) will roll-forward the current contract in status-quo fashion.  In such an event, the District is only permitted to change the start and end dates of the 2022-23 instructional school year.  The bargaining partners would simply apply the same elements (of the current CUSD * 2021-22 District Calendar ) to the dates associated with the 2022-23 instructional year; including school days, Non-Instructional Days, Vacation/Holidays/Breaks, the single “Professional Development” day, Federal Board Holidays, and Evacuation/Make-up Days.

For your convenience, we have provided a link to the current 2021-2022 District Calendar (in Spanish & English):

Again, we appreciate your participation in this brief survey.

~ CAUSE Leadership


C.A.U.S.E. – Yes We Can ! *


March 8, 2022

– CUSD School Board Meeting –

[ Video Link &

Union / Public Comments ]



Greetings District Employees, Families, and Stakeholders,

Many of you noticed that the March 8, 2022 Board Meeting was not published until today.  Regardless, the matters addressed at that event are no less  important to District operations than those previous.   Therefore, CAUSE Leadership continues to encourage District colleagues and stakeholders to review the system-wide issues impacting District employees, their students, families, and the teaching & learning environment.

We continue to receive and appreciate all the positive feedback on our effort to help keep you better informed.  In keeping with that objective, and for your convenience, we continue to provide the board meeting video link (below).


CAUSE leadership also calls your attention to specific topics and comments, as they occurred during the meeting:


1.)  D.6. Purchase of Floor Scrubbers from Waxie Sanitary Supply

Quick Summary / Abstract:
The Board is asked to approve the purchase of 5 floor scrubbers from Waxie Sanitary Supply.  All of the school site floor scrubbers are more than 10 years old and can no longer be repaired.  These are used to deep clean hard surfaces. The cost of $26,692.41 will be paid with General Funds.         (2 attachments)
Purchase of Floor Scrubbers from Waxie Sanitary Supply ATTACHMENT
Purchase of Floor Scrubbers from Waxie Sanitary Supply BACKGROUND

Union Leadership expressed its appreciation.  The District has (alas) taken the advice of District custodians who have ‘mentored-up’ by suggesting improvements on the under-resourced conditions they serve in.

Currently, District custodians are being asked to provide more output with obsolete machinery, low staffing numbers, increased safety related injuries, higher health related absences, & the general lack of substitutes.  The purchase of these Floor Scrubbers should be an improvement in an area of operations notorious for being under-resourced.

But let’s be clear, there is no amount of machinery that can be purchased, which will make up for the severe staffing shortages that both existed before the COVID pandemic, and continue to exist at this time.

The Union and District are aware that CUSD has been providing just 65% of full-custodial staffing levels considered to be the industry standard.  When compared to similar k-12 Districts (examining both total student-population and total school-site/facilities square footage) the CUSD should be employing approximately 16 Full Time Custodians, or at least 16 FTE’s (Full Time Equivalents.)

Instead, as confirmed in the District’s own Budget projections, District leadership acknowledges that it has hired only 10 FTE’s (the equivalent of 10 Full Time Employees) in the Custodial Department.  To make the problems with under-staffing worse, custodial employees are routinely pulled away to other departments to perform duties beyond those associated with our effort to maintain safe, sanitary, healthy, and hygienic conditions at our school sites and facilities.

 [ see MINUTE – 04:08  ]



2.)   E.2. Superintendent Report

Quick Summary / Abstract: The Superintendent will report to the Board about various matters involving the District. There will be no Board discussion except to ask questions or refer matters to staff, and no action will be taken unless listed on a subsequent agenda. (1 attachment)

Attachments: Superintendent Report February 23, 2022

Of significance, Superintendent Rigby announces the resignation of ALISO – Principal Veronica Gallardo; effective March 18, 2022.  But not before Ms. Rigby used the Superintendent pulpit to allege that none of the concerns brought forward by either community members, students, parents, ALISO staff and faculty, or Union Leadership were accurate.

In what appears an obvious attempt at damage control, the Superintendent claimed that reports associated with ALISO – Principal Veronica Gallardo‘s performance, under the direction of Superintendent Rigby, were inaccurate.  Those reports included but were not limited to Superintendent Rigby’s and Principal Gallardo‘s:

* Failure to provide a consistent site-discipline policy and investigate a parent complaint about a student being choked by his male instructional aid (Albeit witnessed and reported by several students.)

* Failure to consistently communicate, respond to, and share ALISO issues in Spanish with Spanish Speaking families (Even though Principal Gallardo is a fluent Spanish speaker.)

* Claim/s that “no evidence” existed to support a variety of concerns, even though Employees were required to file formal District complaints  and ALISO parents were required to file Police reports to document examples of direct retaliation and intimidation by ALISO Principal Gallardo.

Instead Superintendent Rigby blames teachers for both the breakdown of administrative follow-through and ALISO Principal Gallardo’s unprofessional conduct.  More specifically, Ms. Rigby alleges that the challenges at ALISO were due to:


* The long-term absence of a classroom teacher (FYI: This teacher was out based upon legitimate and contractual medical leave.)


* The lack of teachers willing to provide substitute coverage.

Superintendent Rigby’s excuses seem to ignore two critically important details:

(1) It was (and remains) the Superintendent’s responsibility, working through her Site-Principal, to resolve the challenges associated with the resourcing of classroom, concerning teaching and learning conditions, and reports by District stakeholders.

(2) Superintendent Rigby, alone, possessed/possess the authority to immediately direct resources towards the resolution of both the dangerous behavioral and deteriorating academic conditions maintained under Principal Gallardo‘s supervision.

In the Superintendent’s comments, Ms. Rigby would have the community believe that all concerns where inaccurately reported, inaccurately documented, incorrectly cited by the multiple media-outlets.   Yet, ALISO Principal Veronica Gallardo still resigned in the middle of the instructional-year.

Do you think Superintendent Rigby is telling the truth, or is she acting to preserve the record and avoid the accountability that comes with uni-laterally over-riding the CUSD hiring panel’s recommendation not to employ Ms. Gallardo in the ALISO Principal position?

[ see MINUTE  –  13:38  ]



3.) E.3. Public Comment on Items Not on This Agenda

Quick Summary / Abstract:

The Public is welcome to address the Board on any item of interest to the public that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Board. The Board may not take action on such comment but may offer a brief response for clarification or give staff direction related to a public comment not on this agenda.

Shortly after Superintendent Rigby’s arrival to CUSD, she brought in new District legal counsel.  This new law-firm has gained a reputation for using anti-labor, anti-employee, and anti-transparency tactics.    With this new law-firm, a new level of confidentiality restrictions unseen before the arrival of Ms. Rigby became commonplace.    With ballooning legal fees under Ms. Rigby, this new law-firm has aggressively supported Ms. Rigby’s coercive management style; seeking conflict and acting to silence employee & community members voices, participation, and oversight; up to and even including that of the CUSD’s School Board Members.

CAUSE Leadership reminded each individual School Board member that they hire the Superintendent.  The CUSD School Board is Ms. Rigby’s boss; not the other way around.

And with that in mind, Union Leadership reminded CUSD Board Members of the promises they made to the community.  We reminded them that the community relies on the School Board to diligently engage in their duties, and not to allow Senior District Administrators (with their lawyers and alleged expertise)  to discourage Board Members from fulfilling their role in the community.


[ see MINUTE  –  15:32  ]

You may also hear other powerful community voices, including recently resigned District Employee, Michelle Dario, who clarifies her experience working under ALISO-Principal Gallardo, who was clearly being directed by Superintendent Rigby and Human Resource Director Diana Zapata.

[ see MINUTE  –  21:29  ]




4.) F.3. Board Bylaw 9720 Conflict of Interest (1st Reading)

Quick Summary / Abstract: The Board is asked to approve the first reading of BB 9720 Conflict of Interest. The Governing Board desires to maintain the highest ethical standards and help ensure that decisions are made in the best interest of the district and the public. Accordingly, no Board member, district employee, or other person in a designated position shall participate in the making of any decision for the district when the decision will or may be affected by his/her financial, family, or other personal interest or consideration.      (2 attachments)

BBylaw 9270 Conflict of Interest (1st Reading) BACKGROUND
BBylaw 9270 Conflict of Interest CSBA Sample (1st Reading) ATTACHMENT


The Union is interested in better understanding how the School Board will apply this “new Board By law” regarding ETHICS reform.

We remain a bit suspicious, when considering how the very same District Administrators who have permitted (if not nurtured) the administrative culture of violation across the District.   How exactly will the Board and the Superintendent apply this statement, As per the new Board By Law… “.. no Board member, district employee, or other person in a designated position shall participate in the making of any decision for the district when the decision will or may be affected by his/her financial, family, or other personal interest or consideration.”

What would that look like?

* How will a District Principal, whose family rents land to local cannabis producers near CUSD sites and facilities, respond to grant-monies provided by local cannabis producers?

* Will employees who provide unique forms of day-care and direct-transportation to the children and families of District administrators, still receive preferential treatment and job assignments that support that condition?

* Will our Board and administrators continue to respond differently when employees, who also happen to be close friends of their family, are alleged to have engaged in physical misconduct?

* When considering matters of employee discipline, will Senior-Administrators and Board Members continue to look the other way when they receive  multiple reports and allegations of violent behavior by their Anglo-male friends, while they hastily release  (i.e. fire)  African American female/s for absurd and unsubstantiated allegations of physical violence by the very ALISO – Principal who recently resigned?

* Will District leadership permit unorthodox forms of disciplinary consequences when their children or friends of their children are involved, versus when other community members’ children are involved?

Union Leadership would like to know how District leadership intends to hold themselves to these new and lofty ETHICAL standards.   Shouldn’t they have been doing this all along?

[ see MINUTE  –  38:53  ]




5.) G.4 2022-23 Budget Development Presentation

Quick Summary / Abstract:
The Board will continue to review and discuss next year’s 2022-23 budget. Assistant Superintendent Business Services Maureen Fitzgerald will continue to present on the 2022-2023 Budget Development.      (1 attachment)
2022-2023 Board Budget Presentation powerpoint ATTACHMENT

In the CUSD’s strategically designed PPT, a question begs asking….


Has anyone noticed that no-where in this entire Budget PPT, is there ANY mention of the exorbitant legal costs incurred by Superintendent Rigby’s uniquely coercive managerial culture? 


There is no glossy pie chart or charts of expenditures that even attempts to reconcile the now well over a million dollars ($1,000,000) spent on frivolous and indefensible contractual violations pursued by Superintendent Rigby.  The District provides no excuse, rationale, or justification for the illegal and non-contractual behavior pursued by Rigby and members of her leadership team, even though state arbitrators and the Public Employee Relations Board of California have ruled consistently against them.


What is the District continuing to hide?


As for what is contained in the PPT:

On slide # 9, Ms. Fitzgerald suggests that the District pays an average of $60,000+ dollars to maintain a part-time classroom instructional aide;  a figure that includes a $15,000 healthcare benefit.

However, what percentage of CUSD’s Instructional-aides actually qualify for that $15,000+ healthcare benefit?  And of those that qualify to pay into the healthcare plans offered by the CUSD, how many can actually afford to do so when they are hired for only part-time service?

Slide # 9 seems designed to obscure the fact that the District’s hiring practices, as designed, make it very difficult for part-time support staff to even buy-into (@ the pro-rated value) even the cheapest plan options.   And so, each year, the lowest paid District employees must routinely forfeit that $15,000+ Healthcare benefit.

Question: When considering the misleading data mentioned above, guess who actually saves the $15,000+ Healthcare benefit when employees are unable to buy-in; all the while making no effort to provide any alternate form of compensation?

Answer: CUSD, while claiming that savings as an expense.


[ see MINUTE  –  49:14  ]




6.)  H

H.1. Purchase of LCD TV stand Full-Motion Wall Mounts for CHS Administration Building from MJP Technologies, Inc.

Quick Summary / Abstract:
The Board is asked to approve the quote from MJP Technologies, Inc. for the purchase and mounting of 17 Samsung 55” LCD TVs and 17 Peerless Universal Full-Motion wall mounts at the CHS Admin Building. The quote includes shipping/handling and TV mounting.  The cost to purchase and install the TVs in the CHS Admin Building by MJP Technologies, Inc. is $23,459.74 and will be paid with  Measure U Funds.       (2 attachments)
Measure U Purch 17 Fifty-Five inch LCD TVs & 17 Univ Full-Motion Wall Mounts MJP Tech (CHS) ATTACHMENT
Measure U Purch 17 Fifty-Five inch LCD TVs & 17 Univ Full-Motion Wall Mounts MJP Tech (CHS) BACKGROUND



Once again, it is important to examine how the CUSD manages the MEASURE U fund (i.e. local TAX-PAYER contributions) in order to better understand how current expenses reflected in AGENDA ITEM G are tracked and managed.


At the last two School Board Meetings, held on Jan. 25th and Feb. 8th, it seems Assistant Superintendent Fitzgerald was not terribly accurate when making her statements to the Board about the $311,000+ accounting error/cost to the District.  What Ms. Fitzgerald and Superintendent Rigby failed to mention is this; the alleged “surprise expenditure” should not have been (if it even was) a surprise to them.  The data had been provided and was contained in the MEASURE U program monitoring system [COLBI], which accurately accounted for this cost.


These administrators also failed to share that after the hostile work-culture resulted in the departure of the previously expert MEASURE U fund-managers, there remained no expertise left in the District to oversee such a massive public-works fund.    But even though Riby was well-aware that Assistant Superintendent Fitzgerald did not possess said expertise, the superintendent still gave Fitzgerald a hefty pay-increase to take responsibility for this current level of performance.

Is it any surprise that the recent $311,000 mistake occurred?

In the future, will you be surprised to learn that there are other similar mistakes?


[ see MINUTE  – 57:50  ]




7.) I.1. Personnel Summary 

Quick Summary / Abstract:
The Board is asked to approve the following recommended personnel items:

  • Assignments – One personnel
  • Resignation – One personnel
  • Retirement – One personnel
  • Leave of Absence – One personnel
  • Winter Coaching Assignments – Extra weeks for CIF – One personnel         (1 Attachment)
Personnel Summary 03.08.2022 ATTACHMENT




Beyond the continued employee flight from the CUSD, Union Leadership asks an important question…


Why, after so many years and after so many requests to the Human Resource Director, Ms. Zapata, Superintendent Rigby, and School Board, does the CUSD still not offer departing employees (i.e. releases, resignations, retirements, etc.) an opportunity to complete an EXIT INTERVIEWS?

Exit Interviews are a routine method used by Human Resource Departments nationwide, to better understand the experiences of departing employees.   What is the District trying to avoid and/or keep off the record?


[ see MINUTE  – 1:02:38  ]



8.) I.2. Initial Proposal from the Carpinteria Unified School District (CUSD) to the Carpinteria Association of United School Employees (CAUSE) – Certificated 2022-2023

Quick Summary / Abstract:
The Board is asked to review attached Initial Proposal from the Carpinteria Unified School District (CUSD) to CAUSE, Certificated 2022-2023. Fiscal implications TBD.        (2 attachments)
Initial Proposal from CUSD to CAUSE Certificated Openers 2022-2023 ATTACHMENT
Initial Proposal from CUSD to CAUSE Certificated Openers 2022-2023 BACKGROUND


I.3. Initial Proposal from the Carpinteria Unified School District (CUSD) to the Carpinteria Association of United School Employees (CAUSE) – Classified 2022-2023

Quick Summary / Abstract:
The Board is asked to review attached Initial Proposal from the Carpinteria Unified School District to CAUSE, Classified 2022-2023.  Fiscal implications TBD.       (2 attachments)
Initial Proposal from CUSD to CAUSE Classified Openers 2022-2023 ATTACHMENT
Initial Proposal from CUSD to CAUSE Classified Openers 2022-2023 BACKGROUND

The Union thanked the District for providing contract openers.  CAUSE also notified the community that Union Leadership submitted their openers on March 8, 2022, and that we look forward to reviewing said openers in more detail.

[ see MINUTE  – 1:04:47  ]



9.)   I.4. Resolution #22-892 Non Reelecting a Certificated Probationary Employee

Quick Summary / Abstract:
The Board is asked to adopt Resolution No.22-892 Non-Reelect a Certificated Probationary Employee.  Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release pursuant to Government Code section 54957.         (2 attachments)
Resolution #22-892 NonReelect a Certificated Probationary Employee ATTACHMENT
Resolution #22-892 NonReelect a Certificated Probationary Employee BACKGROUND


 ALISO – Principal Veronica Gallardo’s recent resignation may begin to resolve the damage caused in her wake.  However, Gallardo’s resignation, alone, only begins to resolve the totality of her coercive performance, which was permitted (if not directed) by Superintendent Rigby and Human Resource Director Zapata.


The District’s efforts to pursue the non-re-election of several District employees is an example of this damage.  We are compelled to remind District stakeholders that these decisions not to rehire several faculty members occurs during a time of the significant staffing shortages experienced by CUSD.

For those unfamiliar with the term, non-re-elect:  It means that the District has chosen not to re-hire the employee, but is unwilling to share its reasons with either the employee, union representatives, or the public.

With that in mind, Union leadership is compelled to provide some insight where the District will not.


Take the experience of ALISO Counselor – Bert Dannenberg:  Bert was told (just last week) that he will not be rehired for the 2022-23 school year.    It is clear that the District’s decision to non-re-elect Mr. Dannenberg is not based on his job performance, which was recently and publicly recognized by Superintendent Rigby herself.  Rather, this non-re-elect is clearly based on his decision to share concerns about the teaching and learning environment under ALISO Principal Veronica Gallardo.


So we share the following facts, ALL of which can be verified by hard evidence and supporting documentation:




* Nov. 17, 2021: Mr. Dannenberg and at least 7 colleagues were subjected to abusive behavior by ALISO Principal Gallardo.


* Nov. 18, 2021:  Mr. Dannenberg and his ALSIO colleagues contacted the Union to report the Principal’s behavior, and inquire upon how to best alert upper management to the deteriorating conduct of Ms. Gallardo.


* Dec. 2, 2021: Mr. Dannenberg joined 8 colleagues to submit formal complaints (AR:1312.1 & AR:4030) that detailed Principa Gallardo’s behavior.  (Although they haven’t acknowleged it in public, this complaint was provided to the School Board and Superintendent, well before matters at ALISO elementary began to appear in local media and school board meetings. They have been well aware of the Principal Gallardo’s unprofessional conduct for some time )


* Dec. 13, 2021: Mr. Dannenberg and his ALISO colleagues received the CUSD’s response, which notifies the complainants that their complaint was not reported on the appropriate forms.  Yet upon request for the appropriate forms and policy/ies, the District neither responds or provides any clarification.  [Then, no investigation is initiated for approx. 2 months. And not until AFTER  the Superintendent and School Board moved to hastily fire one of the complainant on false pretenses, and 3 others had resigned from the District. [You heard from one this evening.]


* Feb. 2022:  Mr. Dannenberg was contacted directly by the Human Resource Director, Diana Zapata, (on Feb. 4th) discouraging and warning him not to go to the Union with his concerns and complaint.  Ms. Zapata stated that she would prefer to resolve this informally, and assured Mr. Dannenberg that any decision, on his part, to involve the Union, would ensure that the District’s lawyers would be called in to directly interview him and make this matter worse for Mr. Dannenberg.


When Mr. Dannenberg declined the “informal” approach, Human Resource Director Zapata maintained her threat, and brought the notoriously antagonistic District legal counsel into an investigatory interview on Feb. 9, 2022.  [Of significance: The Union asked for each of these interviews to be recorded, but the Human Resource Director and lawyer refused.]


March 3, 2022:   Both Human Resource Zapata and Principal Gallardo, in an unannounced meeting, notified Mr. Dannenberg he would not be brought back in 2022-23.  He would be non-re-elected.   Mr. Dannenberg was not provided an opportunity to seek Union representation at this meeting


March 8, 2022:   At the request of Superintendent Rigby, the School Board unanimously supports the  resolution to non-re-elect Mr. Dannenberg, even thought the ALISO – Principal who informed the decision resigned in the middle of the instructional year.


Again, and of significance, the decision to non-re-elect Mr. Dannenberg was made AFTER the following:


1.) HR Director Zapata, on the record and based on Mr. Dannenber’s leadership at ALISO, encouraged him to speak with her about pursuing an administrative credential while he worked with CUSD.


2.) Or that Mr. Dannenberg had received public recognition ( @ the Feb. 8,th Board see @ MINUTE 24:00 -) by  Superintendent Rigby.


3.) Mr. Dannenberg had received only positive evaluations in his personnel file.


It is difficult to see how the data points (cited above) can be interpreted as anything but a clear example of (A) retaliation, (B) upper management’s effort to influence the record, and (C) avoid public accountability.


[ see MINUTE  – 1:06:07  ]





The Union asked the School Board to include the following AGENDA items at the next Board Meeting:

  1. School Board Communication with District Stakeholders: What are the boundaries?  What is permissible?  What is not?  How can we ensure that both Board Members and the communities are in possession of accurate expectations regarding direct communication and engagement.


  1. EXIT Interviews for outgoing District employees:  Proposal, Discussion, Purpose, Pros & Cons


[ see MINUTE  – 1:14:06  ]



C.A.U.S.E. – Yes We Can ! *


2022 – 2023 * Collective Bargaining Cycle
What Are Your Priorities ?

CUSD Employees & Colleagues:
The 2022-23 collective bargaining season (i.e. the CERTIFICATED & CLASSIFIED contract negotiating cycle) is soon upon us.
CAUSE leadership is reaching out to members, in hopes of better understanding your interests and priorities.  Please help clarify and confirm your priorities by taking just a few moments to complete the SURVEY, below:
If you are interested in the language governing the timeline of responsibilities associated with the bargaining partners (CAUSE & CUSD) efforts, it has been provided for your convenience…
From the CAUSE-CUSD CERTIFICATED Collective Bargaining Agreement [CERTIFICATED CBA]


  1. 20.2  Not later that the first regularly scheduled Board meeting in March of each year, the Association shall submit its initial proposal for the subsequent school year. The District shall submit its proposal in sufficient time to meet the public notice provisions of the Public Employment Relations Act and begin negotiations no later that May 1 of that year.



Regarding District MEMORANDUM




Greetings CUSD Personnel,

With the recent email MEMORANDUM (  MEMORANDUM – Notice of Intent . Jan 2022  ), CAUSE leadership is compelled to clarify our recommendations on this topic.

With absolute transparency:

1.) At this time, CAUSE discourages any District employee from sharing either your personal and/or professional interests regarding your future employment with the CUSD.

2.) CAUSE leadership is concerned about the District’s historic and future efforts to undermine those interests, which you may have provided or are considering providing in good faith.

3.) Union Leadership is not aware of any professional obligation requiring District employees to provide notification of your intent to either remain with the CUSD, to resign, and/or to retire; regardless of your professional status throughout the entire 2021-22 school year.

Any members who have questions associated with the guidance provided herein, may contact Union Leadership by responding directly to this email.

In Unity,

~ j. Hotchner * CAUSE President


* C.A.U.S.E. – Yes We Can ! *


Jan. 25, 2022 – School Board Meeting

Is this what democracy looks like in CUSD?


Happy Friday, CUSD !   : )

This week, CAUSE leadership began using a new tool to improve our communications and outreach with both members and District stakeholders.  We appreciate your patience as we better learn how to use this form of media.  In our group-text, we attempted to alert recipients to the January 25th School Board meeting, where significant decisions are underway; redistricting being just one.

CAUSE Leadership believes that CUSD employees may be unaware of many School Board decisions that will dramatically impact the professional culture, working conditions, and workplace environments across the District.  In regard to the structural opportunities designed to better inform these decisions, CAUSE Leadership is concerned that CUSD’s employees and stakeholders are missing their chance.

Perhaps you also believe the image (above) say a great deal?



Moving forward, CAUSE Leadership wants to encourage each of you to consider how you might communicate directly with our School Board members.  We continue to encourage District personnel to play a more direct role communicating with our School Board Trustees.  It is clear, by way of their decisions, there remains much opportunity to better inform the School Board’s decision making.

Remember, our School Board Trustees live locally.  School board politicians are both elected and live in the community.  They are supposed to be directly accessible to the community members they serve.

Please consider how you can:

*  build relationships with them

* contact them directly and consistently

* approach them in and around town, so as to constructively share your insights and experiences

* attend Board meetings, write them letters, send them an email (addresses provided in the CC field above), and alert District families (i.e. the Board’s constituency) to the conditions experienced across the District.

Finally, as many requested the January 25th, Board Meeting link, we are providing it below:

In Unity,

~ j. Hotchner * CAUSE President


C.A.U.S.E. – Yes We Can ! *


Demand to Bargain: Submission


Increased Compensation for Extra-Contractual Substitute Services




Dear Superintendent Rigby, Board Members, and CUSD Colleagues (CLASSIFIED & CERTIFICATED),

This CAUSE ADVISORY serves dual purposes:

1.) It confirms, with our unit-members, our most recent action.

2.) It serves to submit and notify the CUSD of the attached “Demand to Bargain”, which is attached to this ADVISORY for both the District and those who wish to review it more thoroughly.

Union Leadership submits this demand with the intention of resolving this issue promptly.  We request that the District meet with CAUSE Leadership to address these matters during the week of January 31, 2022.    Meanwhile, we ask that employees strive to continue providing the same level of substitute coverage throughout the next week, while we work to resolve the details of our future agreement.


~ j. Hotchner * CAUSE President


C.A.U.S.E. – Yes We Can ! *



Ca. State Agency Confirms CUSD’s Retaliation

Against Union Leadership


CUSD Employees, Colleagues, and Stakeholder Families,

Union Leadership is pleased to announce this historic legal victory !

Background & Recent Legal Decision:

On November 16, 2021, the Public Employment Relations Board (“PERB”), the California agency charged with upholding public employees’ labor rights, found that Carpinteria Unified School District (“District”) discriminated and retaliated against Carpinteria Association of United School Employees (“CAUSE”) Union President, Jay Hotchner.  At that time, the CUSD was required  by “PERB” to notify District employees of District leadership’s retaliatory actions.

Approximately two months later, the District quietly notified District employees with as little fanfare as possible, sending an after-hours email on Jan. 7, 2022, titled, “PERB Posting.” ( )   In it’s notification, the District neither explained itself nor provided any further expression of remorse and culpability; beyond the State’s summary and the Human Resource Director Diana Zapata’s signature (on behalf of Superintendent Diana Rigby’s) accepting liability for the District’s illegal actions.

(  )

Over this period, it appears the District spent approximately $400,000 – $500,000 trying to accomplish these types of retaliatory objectives.  Yet, it failed to mention the abuse of public trust and the significant financial costs associated with using public-monies to:

(A) retaliate against Union leadership

(B) defend its illegal actions (over a period of 2 years) in a State court, and…

(C) attempt to avoid legal accountability for its illegal behavior

The District’s brief notification, compelled by California “PERB”, also failed to mention that the CUSD School Board supported these violations by continuing to fund them (on several occasions) over the course of 2 years.   Nor did the CUSD’s notification attempt to explain its underlying violations,  (i.e. issuing Mr. Hotchner two Notices of Unprofessional Conduct [“45 Day Notices”] for engaging in protected union activity).  More specifically for :

1.)  representing classified employees in LAYOFF (“bumping  rights”) meetings; as permitted by the contract

2.)  representing certificated employees in grievance actions; as permitted by the contract

3.) representing employees who act to obtain copies of their personnel file; as permitted by the contract

PERB found that the District and its agents acted with an unlawful motive, because CUSD illegally issued the Notices as a result of the Union president’s (Mr. Hotchner’s) protected union activity.    Moreover, PERB determined that the District and its agents failed to prove that Mr. Hotchner engaged in the types of unprofessional conduct that the District used as a basis for the discipline it meted to CAUSE President Hotchner.  (  )

Moving Forward:

This victory sends a powerful message to the District administrators and Board Members who participated in and supported this retaliatory campaign.  It also further memorializes the CUSD’s unique anti-labor/anti-employee culture, fostered under Superintendent Diane Rigby and her select leadership team, as well as members of the CUSD Board of Trustees.   Like yourselves, they can be certain that your Union, led by CAUSE’s elected leadership and representatives, will fight for and protect its members from similar attacks and unprofessional administrative behavior.   We will not tolerate the District’s illegal actions. Nor should you.

We extend our appreciation to the many faculty, support staff, external agency partners, and District stakeholders who assisted in this matter and stood up to protect our critical Union rights!

It remains an honor to serve you.


C.A.U.S.E. – Yes We Can ! *