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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
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Paso Robles Joint Unified School DistrictCandidate for Board Member

Photo of Chris Bausch

Chris Bausch

10,347 votes (22.3%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Stabilize then improve our District's financial situation building district revenues and reserves by increasing ADA, reducing expenses and taking advantage of grant funding.
  • Increase ADA funding by attracting more students through improved Student Achievement, VAPA, Athletics, College & Career Readiness, Magnet Schools, K-12 Dual Immersion, Dual Enrollment with Cuesta College and Pre-School opportunities.
  • During the last few years, Sacramento has done a better job of funding schools. PRJUSD has been overspending and reducing our reserves. We must curtail spending. build our reserves and develop a meaningful contingency plan for tomorrow's shortfall.



Profession:Occupation: Incumbent PRJUSD School Board Trustee, Parent, Businessperson, REALTOR®
Consultant, Christopher Consultation (2002–current)
REALTOR, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Hallmark Realty (2005–current)
Trustee/Governing Board Member, Paso Robles Joint Unified School District — Elected position (2012–current)
Board Member, San Luis Obispo County Office Of Education Committee on School District Organization — Elected position (2015–current)
Advisory Committee Member, City of Paso Robles Housing Constraints and Opportunities Committee — Appointed position (2016–current)
Member, Budget Advisory Committee and then LCAP Committee, Paso Robles Joint Unified School District — Appointed position (2012–current)
State Director 2008-2012, Vice Chair Housing Affordability Committee 2, California Association of REALTORS — Appointed position (2008–2012)
Chief Operating Officer, Weyrich Companies (2008–2009)
President, Paso Robles Auto Parts/NAPA (1987–2002)

Community Activities

Rotarian, Rotary Club of Paso Robles (2014–current)
Member, Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce (2014–current)
School Board Liaison, Paso Robles Downtown Main Street Association (2014–current)
Lifetime Member, Heritage Foundation (1999–current)


Chris Bausch, Incumbent School Board Trustee

For the last four years, I have served as one of seven school board trustees for the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District. My goal is not to run our schools but to see that our schools are well run.  I have been an active and engaged parent of our five children who have attended Paso Robles Schools since 1988.  Our youngest son is a senior at Paso High. I began my service in 1991 by serving on School Site Council for Pat Butler Elementary. I have volunteered/ supported various on campus activities including among others Spanish Dual Immersion, Dual Enrollment with Cuesta College, A.V.I.D., Athletics, the Arts, G.A.T.E., PTA/PTSA, Cub Scout Den Leader, overnight Field Trip volunteer/driver, Bearcat Booster and Chess Club Coordinator.  As a Lifetime Heritage Foundation member, I was the conceptual sponsor of the Midstate Fair Industrial Arts Auction. I have taught Elementary, Middle and High School Religious Education. I have served as the Chairperson of the School Site Council for Flamson Middle School.

During the last four years, Furlough Days have been eliminated and we have doubled our financial reserves. I have been a vocal advocate to restore art, choir, band and athletics to our elementary class rooms including enhanced funding for our Arts Magnet School at Bauer-Speck. I have fought to add both rigor and content to our Dual Immersion program from Kindergarten through 12th Grade. A new alliance with Cuesta College allows Paso Robles High School students to gain college credit for classes taken during their normal school day at Paso High. Our CTE classes have been enhanced so that they now qualify for the A-G curriculum. Great things are happening at Paso Robles School. Our goal is to become the best District in San Luis County.

I have made a successful career of owning or working for or with various businesses and not for profit enterprises. I have used this experience to overcome severe financial challenges that faced the District when I was elected four years ago. I bring a unique and balanced perspective that combines 30 years of executive experience and business acumen with my passion and respect for education. I have considerable experience forming and/or serving on boards of directors of all sorts, including my own and other for profit businesses as well as non-profits such as parish Pastoral and Finance Councils. As a REALTOR® active in the Paso Robles residential, commercial, vineyard, winery and ranch markets, I was elected to serve the 187,000 member strong California Association of REALTORS® as a California State Director from 2008 until 2013 and served as the 2012 president of our local Paso Robles Association of REALTORS®. As a result, I am familiar with building consensus with both small and large groups as well as in collaborating with others to accomplish the task at hand.

Paso Robles Joint Unified School District current success demonstrates that I am willing to dedicate the time and resources necessary to continue learning how to best serve our schools.  The many skills I have learned in assessing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats during my twenty-five plus years in business are proving to be highly beneficial in working with others to develop a strategic plan that must be tailored to accommodate the newly implemented California Common Core Standards , LCAP and Local Control Funding Formula. I am working to ensure that all students benefit from a rigorous academic, athletic, social, and philosophical preparation that prepares them for career or college. My goal is to see that Paso Robles Schools are the best schools in San Luis Obispo County. I would appreciate hearing your thoughts as to how to make this happen. Please contact me at or call me at (805) 440-5960.

I would be honored if you would please vote for me for Paso Robles School Board.

Thank you and best regards,


Chris Bausch, Trustee

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • PRPE - Paso Robles Public Educators
  • SLO County Republican Central Commitee

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California Education Fund (2)

A recent law made major changes in the way that the state allocates funding to schools.  What will you do to ensure that the public understands your local control formula for school spending and your plan to measure outcomes?
Answer from Chris Bausch:

Having worked with others for the last four years to learn about then successfully transition from Categorical Spending to LCFF and LCAP, I am qualified to use that experience to bring more parents, teachers and community members to the meetings that make LCFF and LCAP a viable and living representation of all stakeholders instead of just a few policy makers. I successfully requested that a Professional Development Day for current and new School Site Council committee members be implemented so teacher and parent representatives are made aware of how vital their feedback is.

I have and will continue to meet with School Site committee members, Site Administrators, Cabinet Members, Teachers and Parents in private, in public meetings and during Town Hall Forums. That being said, overcoming stakeholder apathy to become involved remains a critical challenge that requires simultaneous effort on several fronts.  Other than local School Site Council committees, Categorical Spending left little room for input so our Stakeholders have unfortunately never been asked to share their opinion on how their school district allocates funds. Getting stakeholders to the table today to participate in this paradigm shift in spending requires strategy, ingenuity and education as to how ordinary citizens can finally make a difference. Providing food helps too.


Repeating the message and invitation will be crucial in overcoming apathy. Presenting the message consistently by aligning every decision the District makes to our Belief, Vision, Mission, Core Values and especially to our Goals and Objectives demonstrably measures that our spending is in accord with Board Policy.  Doing so will not only ensure the public understands our local control formula for spending but encourages the public to voice their concerns and opinions and thereby become part of the solution.

Funding to Schools

A recent law made major changes in the way that the state allocates funding to schools.  What will you do to ensure that the public understands your local control formula for school spending and your plan to measure outcomes?

No answer provided.

Political Beliefs

Position Papers

Q & A Ten Questions From Paso Robles Public Educators


Dear Members of the PRPE Endorsement Committee,

 Thank you for your questions. In seeking your endorsement, I respond with my most candid answers.

 The last four years have been a challenge with both unprecedented financial constraints and now unrelenting change. True to our Paso Robles heritage, all parties have sacrificed much, some more than others, and together worked hard to overcome obstacles and create a better District destined for greatness. From all who were willing to teach and inform, I have learned much in the last four years, some of it quite shocking as to how a school district actually operates. I hope to put that experience to the highest and best possible use. I humbly ask for your endorsement.


1. Why do you want to serve on the PRJUSD School Board and what qualifications do you bring to the job?


My reasons for standing for election have matured from four years ago. Back then, I was sick and tired of hearing how much better Templeton Schools were than Paso Schools. I still am and will continue to do whatever is necessary to debunk that myth including within the Real Estate community where the notion is perpetuated.

Four years ago the District was not only literally sick and tired but was also overwhelmingly demoralized. During my next term, I will continue to responsibly represent the constituents who elect the Trustees of the District. During the last four years, my view of who our constituents are has expanded beyond parents, students and voters and has come to include all employees and our business community who, if given the opportunity, add much needed insight and balance to all aspects of our enterprise.

Having worked with others to learn about then successfully transition from Categorical Spending to LCFF and LCAP, I am qualified to use that experience to bring more parents, teachers and community members to the meetings that make LCFF and LCAP a viable and living representation of all stakeholders instead of just a few.

Lastly, as a father of four (nearly five) Bearcats, I hope to be able to celebrate the privilege of presenting my son Jacob with his diploma in June.

2.      2.  What are the major goals you wish to accomplish as a school board member?

·         Continue to increase enrollment by advocating for Paso Schools whenever and wherever possible and supporting programs that attract students and their parents

·         In order to sustain our current solvency to better withstand the economic irregularities that plague California, the District must become more fiscally responsible by continuing to enhance revenue streams such as increased enrollment, Culinary, donations and seeking efficiencies in Admin labor, utilities, benefits expense, etc.

·         To ensure that not only our students but that ALL employees will have success.

·         Whatever happens with our Bond Measure M-16, that we continue to repair, upgrade and/or replace our aging infrastructure.

·         When change is necessary, to better communicate why and to obtain better buy in from those affected

·         Going fully digital where possible including text books and white boards.

·         Adult education 

3.      3. What do you believe to be the pressing problems facing the district and what plan do you have to address those problems?

Depending on one’s perspective, there are so many so I will start with the four most pressing.

·         Spending Since there is too much spending without adequate thought as to how to sustain when the budget contracts, a sound business plan devoid of emotion  must be developed now that can be implemented without hesitation when certain thresholds are thrust upon us.

·         Rapid change Necessary change has been rampant during the past two years bringing on fatigue, bewilderment and in some cases, outright mistakes. There seems to be a careless disregard for tradition and institutional memory and too little room for discussion or dissent. It is time to change the way changes are introduced to the District. More thought, research and collaboration should be given to each and every proposed change. Better communication as to why a change is being proposed is warranted. If a change must come, then more preparation and more time to adjust should be part of the process.

·         Aging Infrastructure Many repairs have been made but the great hope is that Measure M-16 will be the great panacea for the District’s policy of temporary fixes. Having achieved some level of compromise to reduce the amount of legacy building, I will work to support the passage of M-16 but it remains to be seen if the voters will approve or not. If not, as the FEMA refund dwindles, we must budget to continue to fix what remains a huge liability.

·         Unfunded Pension Liability While we have begun tepid first steps in catching up our obligation to correct an unfortunate mistake not of our own doing, this burden has not be adequately addressed by the Board. Even if they could be spent on this, all the money that could be raised by increased enrollment, the Culinary, donations and efficiencies combined will not be enough to offset the payments the State is demanding from us to fund our pensions. The only way to satisfy this debt is via the General Fund. If our capital burn rate continues to increase and Sacramento’s funding decreases in two years as predicted, we will be in a most precarious situation with no way out except to decrease labor. We should start now by eliminating superfluous positions and bank the savings in our own rainy day fund. 

4.    4.   Do you support the inclusion of teachers, parents and students in the decisions to change programs and policy as opposed to top-down changes as were recently made regarding the Accelerated Reader (AR) program, Homework policy and Collaboration/PLC and VAPA?

Yes, from above:

·         “When change is necessary, to better communicate why and to obtain better buy in from those affected.”

·         “There seems to be too little room for discussion or dissent. It is time to change the way changes are introduced to the District. More thought, research and collaboration should be given to each and every proposed change. Better communication as to why a change is being proposed is warranted. If a change must come, then more preparation and more time to adjust should be part of the process.”

I would add that in the appropriate situation, Board members could have a role and should be added to the list of teachers, parents and students. 

5.      5. Do you believe that employees are adequately compensated in this district and what effective measures can you, as a school board member, do to advocate for recruitment and retention of high quality employees?

I believe that the current Board has directed the Superintendent to make steady progress in raising the level of compensation of all employees to better reflect the market rate and has done so in a responsible manner. Average wages paid and benefits earned to District employees, seem to be at or above median income levels earned in the area but do not necessarily adequately reflect the high cost of living on the Central Coast.

In a similar manner that I recommend to my business clients, I acknowledge that a best in class work environment can help alleviate some of the angst caused by our high cost of living. To that end, developing beyond what has been started a districtwide corporate culture of sincere appreciation, recognition and gratitude can help to partially make up for our employees’ ongoing sacrifice. 

Making the District the best possible place to work in terms of student and employee success and morale, adding meaningful programs and repairing or replacing infrastructure will help to attract and retain high quality employees. However, to do so, management must be willing to listen to and implement the suggestions of our current employees.

6.     6.  When making decisions will you do research independent of district administration and consult all stakeholders including our association and in that spirit are you willing to meet with our executive board and site representative council at least once a year?

Yes, as demonstrated in the recent past, my own research and past experience has led to crossed swords with administration, cabinet and fellow Board members on more than one occasion. I believe it is mandatory for Trustees to reach out to all appropriate stakeholders and beyond to obtain sufficient information. It seems that lately the only information the Board receives is supportive of the staff’s recommendation. I am in touch with my on sources including local community leaders and members, Education professionals both active and retired, the City of Paso Robles, the Chamber of Commerce, Main Street, Rotary, mentors in Sacramento, legal professionals and others.

I typically accept an invitation to wherever I am invited, PRPE is no exception. I have to admit that for some reason, PRPE seems to be somehow “off limits.” If reelected, I  promise to do a better job of staying in touch but please don’t hesitate to let me know when I can or should attend—hopefully more than once a year.


7.     7. What role should a trustee have in the negotiation process?

A Trustee’s role in the negotiation process depends on the situation. At a minimum, our role as Trustees is to set bench marks that are realistic for the District Bargaining Team to achieve and meaningful enough so that will produce harmonious results without breaking the bank and then to approve a negotiated result that is mutually beneficial. On a side note, I believe there should be some discussion of Trustees and other affected parties being able to observe the process via CCTV.


8.     8.  What is an adequate reserve and is it your understanding that a 10% reserve is a clear policy or simply a goal?

To me, an adequate budget reserve must by its very purpose be variable in nature. In the fat years, it should swell to as much as the 15% I suggested a few years ago. In the lean years, the Board should be able to authorize spending the budget reserve down to 3% (or possibly less if a dire need is recognized) without penalty.  To be effective, a protocol to trigger both saving and spending should be established as Board Policy.  This revised policy should include language that directs future Boards that this reserve can only be spent to avoid furlough days and to protect the wages and jobs of employees, at least as long as there are funds in the account.

As my understanding is that the Board established as policy a 10% reserve, I am not at all pleased that Mr. Williams interprets the policy as a goal to cover overspending that results in our reserve being whittled down to only 8% even during this very fat year.


9.    9.   What would be your priorities for protection, if cuts are necessary in the future?

As cuts will inevitably be required at some point in the not too distant future, it is clear to me after the last downturn that parents and the community expect the Board to make the hard decisions that enable teachers and students to stay in their class rooms. Teachers, parents and students old enough to know were visibly shaken over the repeated cycle of pink slips. Wholesale furlough days were devastating to our staff and our community. The sense of shame and failure was not conducive to a quality education and must never be repeated. Again, contingency plans should be drawn up now so they can be implemented without delay or emotion when the time comes.


10. 10.  What do you think is the most important factor in a quality education for students?


Students who look forward to coming to school each day succeed on a much higher level. For some it is the community, for others it is the fun and friendship, for still others, it is the lure of the challenge to do a little better every day. For all students, this means engaging with highly qualified teachers and staff who students can trust to ensure their success. However, no matter how gifted our teachers are, they can’t teach a student who is hungry, disruptive or has emotional needs best served by a counselor. As helpful as programs such as VAPA, athletics, GATE, SkillsUSA, AVID and college prep are, they don’t mean anything without a gifted teacher. If we nurture our teachers not just with meaningful compensation but include professional development, opportunities to grow personally and in their career, sincere appreciation, recognition and gratitude, our students will benefit handsomely from the most important factor in a quality education, a highly gifted and talented teacher.

Respectfully submitted,


Chris Bausch, Governing Board Member

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