May 5, 2020

Dear SBCEO Family, 

It has been a while since we sent an employee communication, and we thought this week, Public Service Recognition Week, would be an appropriate time to communicate just how much you are valued and appreciated. Additionally, today is National Teacher Appreciation Day, and we want to acknowledge all teachers, including our very own SBCEO teachers. Here is an editorial written to recognize just some of the incredible support teachers provide for youth and families. 

We recently announced the 2021 Santa Barbara Bowl Performing Arts Teacher of the Year, Liz Caruso, from Monroe Elementary School; and I Madonnari announced it would be holding an online chalk painting festival this Memorial Day weekend. Additionally, planning for the annual Battle of the Books is in the works, and that event will be held online on May 19. We are thrilled that students throughout SB County will be able to participate in this event!


Governor Newsom has shared initial plans for reopening the state, which includes moving to “Stage 2.” This will allow some lower-risk businesses to start re-opening on Friday, May 8, with some regional flexibility Locally, the County of Santa Barbara has partnered with REACH, a regional economic impact organization, to support the development of a science-driven, public health-led phased reopening plan. SBCEO is working with the County of Santa Barbara as one of 15 industry sector leads to provide input on this plan. The working group is carefully looking at how, when, and what metrics and standards are important for the opening of businesses and schools. As new details become available, we will share them with you.


Residents of Santa Barbara County can now make appointments to be screened and tested for COVID-19 at testing sites in Santa Maria, Lompoc, and Santa Barbara. Appointments are available Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Schedule your appointment by visiting or by calling 888-634-1123. Learn more here.


We’re nearing the end of the fiscal year, which means that the deadline is approaching for using your vacation grant or off-contract days. While the COVID-19 situation has required many of us to change plans for vacation and travel, SBCEO’s policy, which encourages the use of vacation and off-contract days within the fiscal year, remains the same. We wanted to remind you to plan to take remaining vacation or off-contract days by June 30, in coordination with your supervisor. For classified employees represented by CSEA, please refer to your bargaining agreement for information on vacation.

Under limited circumstances, minimal carryover may be approved for a specific reason or purpose. Classified employee carryover is approved by the division head. Management carryover is approved by the County Superintendent of Schools. Requests must be made by June 1, and the electronic-signature version of the form will be posted on the intranet next week.   


The next KIT will be distributed on Friday, May 15. If you haven’t completed the KIT survey, you can find it here. Our first online version of KIT from April is available on the Intranet here. If you haven’t logged onto the Intranet before, you can find the instructions here.


While hope is on the horizon, the gravity and duration of this COVID-19 situation are affecting many. If you would like additional support, we encourage you to access the free employee assistance program (EAP) through the Holman Group. Confidential help and referrals are available 24 hours a day. Call 800-321-2843 or visit User name: holmangroup, Password SBE2630. Additionally, the County of Santa Barbara’s Behavioral Wellness Access Line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by calling 1-888-868-1649.

Finally, please know we are thinking about you and missing being together. Happy Teacher Appreciation Day, and thanks to ALL for working hard to do the very best for youth, families, staff, and the community.