Superintendent Raymond’s right-sizing proposal was created by someone who is either incapable of thinking outside the box or just simply unwilling to invest the effort to do so.
This is a quick fix, it may appear to be a simple and easy answer but it’s not the
best answer, it’s not the right answer, it’s not even a good answer. This is a
complex problem and as such it requires and deserves a little more effort than
this and the parents and the community have a right to be involved in that
effort. Instead he has opted to dress the problem up to make it appear simple
in order to be able to sell us on a simple solution.
The maximum capacity was determined by counting all empty rooms and
non-instructional rooms at maximum capacity for Grades 4 to 6 which is 33.
However, the maximum capacity for grades 1 to 3 is 31. Also, these rooms
provide programs and services such as Computer Lab, START, Intervention, Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Day Care and Pre-School – if you take these to make them classrooms you lose those services and that is what is going to happen at the schools the displaced students are being reassigned to in order
to accommodate them.
Displaced teachers with tenure are going to be reassigned to the other schools, bumping those teachers without tenure – teachers that may be well liked by the parents of their students. Teachers without tenure are going to lose their jobs
regardless of how good of a teacher they are.
Thedistrict did not include the parents or the community in the process that led
to this proposal.
A committee is to be formed after the closures to decide on how the property will
be repurposed. This in fact should be done prior to any vote. The community has
a right to play a role in this and has a right to know what they intend to do
with the property before a decision is made to close it. Empty schools become
targets of vandalism and graffiti. They become magnets for vagrants and
criminal activity. The loss of a school will also have a negative impact on
property values in the surrounding community.
Board member Diana Rodriguez has requested additional information so that her vote is both an educated and informed one. But I have to wonder if Board members such as Cuneo, Kennedy, Woo, and Hansen have even bothered to ask for any information or make any effort to research this any further or if they’re just simply kicking back and taking this proposal at face value.
How can any board member who voted to keep AM Winn open vote to close James Marshall under virtually the same situation and circumstances and not consider position contradictory. They said Bradshaw was too dangerous for AM Winn students to cross – no suddenly it’s safe for JWM students? They said they didn’t have money to bus AM Winn students – but now suddenly they have money to bus the displaced JWM students? In fact they are currently already bussing students who live in a pocket residential area West of Bradshaw to AM Winn. For reasons unknown, this area was assigned to AM Winn. I live in this area. This is the only area west of Bradshaw that is not assigned to JWM – why isn’t it? I’ve been told that the parents of the AM Winn students living in this area have already had issues with the number of times the bus has not been able to complete its route or complete it on time. Is this what everyone else can expect?
James W Marshall is both fenced in and monitored by video surveillance, AM Winn is not. It is going to cost additional money to revamp and maintain the much older AM Winn in order to facilitate the new students when James W Marshall has already been rebuilt as of 2004 and is ready to go. James W Marshall’s API score is 813, AM Winn’s is 766. In short, it is going to end up costing the district and the taxpayers more money to remove students from a school with a higher API just to send them to a school with a lower API than it would to do the reverse - so does doing it make any sense?
They’re saying that parents of the displaced students will be given priority during
open enrollment. This is misleading. The parents of most of the children living
East of Mayhew will opt not to send their kids to AM Winn. However, Sequoia
will not be available because it will get filled up with all of the displaced
JWM students that have been reassigned to it. Golden Empire is already so full
they had to have some of their area reassigned to Sequoia. OW Erlewine only
accepts open enrollment for Kindergarten. Besides that, they do not follow a
standard education curriculum. They let the teachers create their own
curriculums. Isador Cohen is half GATE (Gifted and Talented) and half standard
so their maximum capacity is misleading because only a portion of it will be
for standard students. This will leave virtually no option for the parents of
students living East of Mayhew for their children to receive a standardized
public education. They will be forced into a Waldorf style curriculum. This is
a violation of the parents’ rights. Also, the displaced JWM teacher assigned to AM Winn will be forced into
If there were just one point that could prove the right-sizing proposal flawed it would be this: No plan is perfect. The perfect plan does not exist. Every plan is
going to have its pros and its cons. However, do you see any cons listed in the
superintendent’s proposal? No. All you see are the supposed benefits. This is
because he has polished this up and put a nice glossy shine on it. This alone
should call the entire proposal into suspect. The right-sizing proposal is a
product of a lack of vision, a lack of innovation, a lack of leadership and is
just plain sorely lacking. The board needs to take a serious look at the person
they have in charge that has let things deteriorate to such an extent as to
need to close 11 schools. Superintendent Raymond received a sizeable raise, millions are being spent on consultant contracts, and money was needlessly wasted on a costly phone system upgrade for the Serna Center. A lot of money is going towards Superintendent Raymond’s Priority Schools pet project with very little to show for it. Finances are being mismanaged and priories misarranged. They claim they are trying to make this transparent yet they are trying to rush this through and ram it down our throats.