Reports focusing on the latest education news and trends along California's Central Coast.

Greta Mart/KCBX

This week, the California Department of Education released truancy rates for the state’s public schools, organized by county. Truancy is defined as three or more days out of school without a valid excuse. The numbers show Santa Barbara County’s rate was nearly 10 percent lower than the state average, for the fourth year in a row.

New effort underway to enroll more California students tuition-free

Sep 19, 2017
Courtesy of Cuesta College

California's community college system wants to boost the number of low-income students taking advantage of the state's free tuition option. To get the word out, the state is re-branding the program as the "Promise Grant." 

Andrew Epperson

There’s currently $1.4 trillion dollars owed in student debt. And that number is only growing. On July 1, student loan interest rates increased by three-quarters of a percentage point. 

Bree Zender/KCBX

A San Luis Obispo High School special education teacher has resigned after controversy erupted about an anti-LGBT letter he wrote to the school's newspaper editor. Former teacher Michael Stack's letter was in response to the May issue of the high school’s newspaper, SLO Expressions, which contained three articles focusing on LGBT issues. KCBX News spoke with San Luis Obispo Tribune reporter Nick Wilson, who has been covering this story. 

$110 million dollar gift to "transform" Cal Poly

May 3, 2017
Greta Mart/KCBX

“One hundred and ten million dollars!” Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong shouted out the instant confetti cannons exploded, yellow and green balloons flooded down from the ceiling and an organist played triumphal chords. That was the big reveal today on the Cal Poly campus in San Luis Obispo - the moment Armstrong announced the amount of the latest and greatest gift to the university from San Luis Obispo County residents William and Linda Frost. 

Five percent tuition hike coming for Cal Poly, CSU schools

Mar 22, 2017
courtesy of Cal Poly/

The trustees of the California State University system--comprised of 23 universities including Cal Poly and CSU Channel Islands--voted Wednesday to raise tuition five percent despite strong opposition from students. 

Greta Mart


If a Central Coast lawmaker prevails, students in California public schools may soon be taught how decipher fact-based news from “fake news.” State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson from Santa Barbara has introduced a bill to create a statewide advisory committee to come up with the best way to educate students on responsible media consumption. 

Mudslide threat closes Cal Poly dorm

Feb 24, 2017
Dylan Ring/KCBX


A Cal Poly dorm is closed for the next several months due to a recent mudslide behind the building. 275 student residents of Fremont Hall are moving out this week after recent storms put the dorm and residents in jeopardy. 

Brian Reynolds has a conversation about bilingual education, which was once deemed illegal in California, with Lisa Callejos from the San Luis Obispo Office of Education and parents from San Luis Obispo's Pacheco Elementary.

Stephen Lloyd-Moffett

A Cal Poly professor is petitioning for the university’s administration to reimburse the campus Muslim Student Association club.

Courtesy of SMJUHSD

Officials at Ernest Righetti High School in Santa Maria broke ground Monday for a new tech-based building. The $22 million dollar building will house 38 classrooms to replace the mobile classrooms that have been sitting on campus for years. 

Annie Vainshtein/KCBX

Cal Poly officials say the university spent $15,800 on policing and temporary fencing for Tuesday evening’s Milo Yiannopoulos appearance and other campus events. The California State University system spent another $39,600 on salaries for the 90 police officers sent from other campuses to join Cal Poly police.

Courtesy of Monterey County Office of Education

The passage of California's Proposition 58 in November brings a return to more bilingual programs in the state's public schools. KCBX recently spoke with Lisa Vallejos, Senior Coordinator of English Language Arts, English Language Development, Literacy and Family Engagement at the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education. 

Courtesy of Dr. Ann Lippincott/Vocabulary Workshop presentation

In San Luis Obispo County, an estimated 30,000 adults have limited literacy skills in English. In Santa Barbara County, about 18 percent of adults lack basic English literacy skills, that’s 50,000 people. And in Monterey County, according to Panetta Institute for Public Policy, 28 percent of adults - or eighty to ninety thousand people - are unable to read or understand written English.

Courtesy of Monterey County Office of Education

Central Coast schools are experiencing teacher shortages, connected to a larger statewide - and national - phenomenon of fewer people going into the profession.

Another record year for Cal Poly applications

Dec 5, 2016
courtesy of Cal Poly/

San Luis Obispo's California Polytechnic State University - known as Cal Poly - has a record number of applicants for the 2017-2018 school year. Nearly 57,000 prospective students applied, roughly 50 more than last fall. 

Bree Zender

One day in October, Arroyo Grande resident Julie Holt's first grader brought home a flyer from school that made Holt raise some questions.

USS Arizona December 10th 1941
National Archives and Records Administration

Daniel Martinez, National Park Service Chief Historian at the WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument Pearl Harbor, Oahu shares his personal odyssey of understanding WWII and the attack on Pearl Harbor.

His lifelong quest of understanding starts in Lone Pine, California and takes him to Japan for a powerful reconciliation ceremony in the mountains of Japan. 

International Baccalaureate

Brian Reynolds explores the International Baccalaureate Programs at Grover Beach Elementary School. His guests are James Snyder, the principal of Grover Beach Elementary and Petra Reynolds, Grover Beach Elementary's International Baccalaureate Coordinator.

Flickr member alamosbasement. Image edited from original form.

Several charter schools in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties are being accused by the Southern California branch of the ACLU of having illegal policies that force parents to volunteer their time, as well as accusations of problems with economic and racial diversity.

Code Press Kit

Central Coast universities are looking for ways to get more women interested in pursuing degrees in computer science. 

Lauren Milbourne, Cuesta College

Students at community colleges along the Central Coast are preparing for graduation ceremonies this spring. 

Tips for getting over your fear of public speaking

May 18, 2016

If the idea of speaking in public makes you feel queasy, you're not alone. Public speaking tops the list of fears for many people. 

Cal Poly Dairy Science Department Facebook page

Several hundred Cal Poly students and alumni are voicing concern over the university’s master plan update, which they say could jeopardize elements of the dairy science program. 

Cuesta College

The number of Hispanic students attending San Luis Obispo County’s Cuesta College is on the rise, and as a result the U.S. Government is giving it a new designation.

ASI, Cal Poly

Cal Poly students are planning a protest rally for this coming Monday in concert with students on several other CSU campuses. 

Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center

The Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center is out with a second edition of its popular book that showcases creative writing and artwork done by Central Coast students. 

Cal Poly CFA

UPDATE: Friday, April 8, 2016 at 6:35 p.m.

Faculty at Cal Poly and the 22 other California State University campuses are being offered a five percent salary hike effective June 30. 

Santa Barbara Junior High School math teacher Joey Ogle

A group of Santa Barbara County middle school students spent much of their Monday afternoon on lockdown in the U.S. Capitol Building after a man was shot during a routine security screening.

Cuesta College

Update - March 16, 2016 at 5:46 p.m.

Cuesta College now has the authority to ban a former student who is facing charges for threatening a local elementary school.