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Vernon Billy, CEO and Executive Director for the California School Board Association, Bill Farris, Board President for SSUSD, Dr. David Ostash, Superintendent SSUSD and Dennis Meyers, Assistant Executive Director for Governmental Relations for California School Board Association

SSUSD Supt. Ostash and Board Pres. Farris advocate in DC

By Patricia Farris News Review Publisher–

Superintendent Dr. David Ostash and SSUSD President Bill Farris joined superintendents and board members from across the state to advocate in Washington, D.C., for full funding of special education, school nutrition, cybersecurity, broadband enhancements, and social-emotional support for California students.

The California School Boards Association and the Association of California School Administrators sponsor the second annual Coast2Coast Federal Advocacy conference. During the conference, Farris and Ostash visited with elected officials, including staff for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, to advocate for educational priorities.

“As is always the case with Congressman Kevin McCarthy’s office, they were highly engaged, asked important questions, and heard our message. We met with Trevor Smith, Speaker McCarthy’s legislative Director. While we respect that education is a state responsibility, we want to be sure that federal laws that have been enacted are fully funded. 

“The most crucial priority for which we advocated was to get the legislation to be fully funded. We currently receive approximately 9%, but by law are supposed to receive 40%. This program was implemented in the ’60s but has yet to be fully funded.

“A tiny slice of our district area is in District 23, J Obernolty’s district. “We met with him and advocated for full funding.

“We requested increased reimbursement rates for school nutrition. Currently, we provide breakfast and lunch to all school-aged children, increasing the scope of the pandemic.

“Currently, any student, regardless of family income, can receive school meals. Based on that policy, there has been an increase in the cost.

“One of the great parts of the trip from Coast2Coast is that we interacted with other district leaders and school board members; So that we have a consistent voice when we all advocate for priority.

“We considered our visit most fruitful, “said Ostash. Farris stated that “they were well received by Trevor of McCarthy’s office. The most important element is developing a strong relationship so that when legislation is being considered, relative to school districts, we can be considered as a resource to develop an understanding of how the measures would affect our local district.”