Legislation & Advocacy

To contact Sherrie Zettlemoyer, 23rd District PTA 3rd VP Advocacy, email her at: ptsa83@gmail.com

August is Purple Ribbon Month
Never Leave a Child Unattended in a Car
Not for a Minute . . . Not for a Second!

In recognition of Kaitlyn’s Law, the month of August has been designated as Purple Ribbon Month in Riverside County.  Kaitlyn’s Law became effective in January 2002, making it illegal to leave a child under 7 years of age unattended in a motor vehicle without the supervision of someone at least 12 years of age.
During the summer months, temperatures spike and children are left in vehicles that can reach up to 120 degrees even on a moderately cool day.  A child’s body heats up 3 – 5 times faster than an adult’s body.  A child’s body temperature can rise to 106 degrees within 10 – 15 minutes of being left in a vehicle.
  • It can take as little as 15 minutes in an over-heated car for a child to suffer life-threatening brain or kidney injuries.
  • When body temperature reaches 104 degrees, internal organs shut down.
  • At 107 degrees, children die. 
Since 1998, the number of children dying of heat exposure in vehicles has been fairly constant due to increasing use of airbags.  Last year, 44 children died, and this year, we have already lost 15 children.  To prevent injuries and fatalities from airbags, parents and caregivers have been putting children in the back seat—where they are sometimes forgotten—especially rear-facing infants that are not visible to the driver.  Most of the time, children are not left in cars intentionally.  Recent studies indicate that 51% of these deaths were due to a child being forgotten by a parent or caregiver, whereas 18% were intentionally left in a car.
To prevent this tragedy, law enforcement officials recommend these prevention tips:
  1. Make “look before you leave” a routine, and check the back seat every time you get out of the car.  Don’t overlook sleeping babies.
  2. Make arrangements for your day care provider to call within 30 minutes if your child has NOT been dropped off.
  3. If you see a child unattended in a car, call 911 and wait for help.
To continue raising awareness about the dangers of leaving children unattended in cars, please share this information with your PTA units.  Thank you.

Advocacy Report
November 5, 2015
by Sherrie Zettlemoyer

Chronic Absenteeism

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris has issued her third annual statewide report on elementary school truancy & chronic absence in California, In School + On Track 2015. The report finds that California still faces an attendance crisis: 230,000 California elementary school students are chronically absent (missing 10% or more of the school year) & more than 1 in 5 are truant.

California is taking notice that improving elementary school attendance is a critical piece of a smart, cost-effective approach to economic development, public health & public safety. The facts are clear: when students are chronically absent from elementary school, they fall behind academically, are less likely to graduate from high school, & are more likely to be unemployed, on public assistance, or victims or perpetrators of crime. Factoring in the costs of incarceration, lost economic productivity, and tax revenues, California loses over $46 billion/year due to high school drop outs. This trajectory is far from inevitable; it is a solvable problem.

According to the report, absences are particularly stark in the earliest grades:
  • Nearly 15% of kindergarteners are chronically absent & the kindergarten truancy rate is nearly 30%
  • These gaps have long-term repercussions as 83% of kids who are chronically absent in kindergarten & 1st grade won’t read proficiently in 3rd grade & will therefore be 4 times more likely to drop out of high school.
  • By 6th grade, chronic absence is a proven early warning sign for students at risk for dropping out of school.
  • By 9th grade good attendance can predict graduation rates even better than 8th grade test scores.
Showing up to school clearly has a huge impact on a student’s academic success starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school. Even as children grow older and more independent, families play a key role in making sure students get to school safely every day and understand why attendance is so important for success in school and in life.  We realize some absences are unavoidable due to health problems or other circumstances. But, we also know that when students miss too much school—regardless of the reason— it can cause them to fall behind academically. Your child is less likely to succeed if he or she is chronically absent—which again means missing 18 or more days over the course of the school year. Absences can add up quickly. A child is chronically absent if he or she misses just two days every month!
We don’t want your child to fall behind in school and get discouraged. Please ensure that your child attends school every day and arrives on time. Here are a few practical tips to help support regular attendance:
  • Make sure your children keep a regular bedtime and establish a morning routine
  • Lay out clothes and pack backpacks the night before.
  • Ensure your children go to school every day unless they are truly sick.
  • Avoid scheduling vacations or doctor’s appointments when school is in session.
  • Talk to teachers and counselors for advice if your children feel anxious about going to school.
  • Develop back up plans for getting to school if something comes up. Call on a family member, neighbor, or another parent to take your child to school.
Chronic absences have a long-term effect on students and society however this problem can be eliminated. As PTA leaders, we must share information with parents about the importance of building good attendance habits early.

Current News
Local Control Funding Formula-HOT TOPIC at 2014 California State PTA Legislation Conference.

All Councils and units are encouraged to send at least one representative each year to the CA State PTA Legislation Conference.  Prepare for next year by including it in your budget for 2015.           
                      Advocacy is an important part of PTA. 
Every child, one Voice.

23rd District PTA proudly congratulates 
Corona-Norco Council
☆Winner of the CAPTA Advocacy Award

Tips for Advocating to Your Local School Board

Local school boards often are the most influential decision-making body affecting you child's education. They decide everything from what food is served at school lunch, to curriculum and graduation requirements, to where the new elementary school will be located. Although every school district and state is different, if you want to get a policy changed, your best bet is to start with your local school board. The following are useful tips for working with your school board.

School board members are volunteers. Most school board members are elected, but they serve without pay because they care about education, and support themselves with other work. In this sense, you are not their "boss." In your interactions with board members always be respectful and polite, even when you disagree with a decision they have made.

Know your facts. Think of yourself as a resource to board members in helping them make decisions. If you want the school board to make a change, prepare a fact sheet that uses relevant research and statistics to back up your position. Be prepared to address the arguments against your position. Board members will appreciate that you have taken the time to fully think out your request and provided them with additional information. Not knowing your facts or being misinformed about an issue will weaken your argument.

Build support. Nothing will make a stronger impact on a school board than a room full of people supporting your cause. Start by talking to parents and PTA members about your issue. Holding an organizing meeting with a small group of people who care deeply about your issue can be very helpful. Plan who will speak to board members and who will testify at school board meetings. Keep in mind that only a few people should testify; the rest of the supporters are there to be visible reinforcement.

Be persistent. The old saying that "the squeaky wheel gets the grease" is very true when it comes to school boards. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. If your school board does not seem to be addressing your issue, continue to press them in a variety of ways. Start by getting a group of people to show up at every school board meeting to keep the pressure on to discuss your issue. If this tactic does not work, start informing the public about the situation with letters to the local media or door-to-door canvassing. When taking a more aggressive approach, remember that it is even more important to keep a respectful and positive tone. Never verbally attack a board member. That approach can only hurt your cause.

You can make a difference in your child's education by working with your school board. When parents get involved, everyone wins!

Do Something That's Going to Help Our Children

23rd District Advocacy Team meets with Assemblymen Linder, Medina, and Nestande during Legislative Conference.

Be an Advocate


Stay tuned for Summary of 2015 Legislation

For a full summary report of the all the bills upon which we took positions,
plus veto messages for those bills that were not signed, please click here

United State Senate Representatives
750 B Street 
Suite 1030 
San Diego, CA 92101 
Phone: (619) 231-9712 

3403 10th Street, Suite 704 
Riverside, CA 92501 
(951) 684-4849 

Office of California Governor
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173 
Sacramento, CA 95814 
Phone: (916) 445-2841 

United States House of Representatives
41st District 
3403 10th Street 
Suite 610 
Riverside, CA 92501 
Phone: (951) 222-0203 

42nd District 
4160 Temescal Canyon Rd., Ste. 214 
Corona, CA 92883 
Phone: (951) 277-0042

California State Senate - Representative
District 31 
5225 Canyon Crest Dr. #360 
Riverside, CA 92507 
(951) 680-6750

California State Assembly - Representatives
District 61
1223 University Avenue #230 
Riverside CA 92507 
(951) 369-6644

District 60
4740 Green River Rd, Suite 311 
Corona, CA 92880 
(951) 371-6860

Subpages (1): Our Resolution