The issues motivating the five candidates vying for the Santa Rosa school board range from making smart budget choices to expanding pre-school education to fostering stronger ties between local schools and their surrounding neighborhoods.
A lawsuit filed Wednesday claims last month’s Santa Rosa school board decision to close Doyle Park Elementary School and replace it with a French-American charter school was illegal and discriminates against the school’s predominantly Latino students. The suit, filed in Sonoma County Superior Court by attorneys representing the Doyle Park Committee for Education Equity, asks for a restraining order to halt closure efforts and seeks to overturn the board’s decision.
The Santa Rosa school board is scheduled to meet in closed session Thursday to discuss the ongoing threat of litigation over its controversial vote to close Doyle Park Elementary School to make way for a French-American charter school. The latest challenge came late last week when a Santa Rosa attorney said that board members violated open meetings requirements under the Brown Act, California’s open meeting law.
An attorney is charging that the Santa Rosa school board and its president violated the state’s open meetings law by engaging in private discussions to line up support for closing Doyle Park Elementary School.
Santa Rosa school board trustee Tad Wakefield had no conflict of interest when he cast the deciding vote on March 16 that resulted in the closure of Doyle Park Elementary School, according to an independent legal opinion released Friday. The six-page opinion echoes the assessment of the school board’s own legal counsel, and concludes that Wakefield did not violate conflict of interest laws or policies when he voted to close the Doyle Park campus to make way for the French American Charter School.
The Santa Rosa school board is still waiting for a second opinion on whether its vote to close Doyle Park Elementary School to make way for a French American Charter School was tainted by conflict of interest. Board president Larry Haenel said Thursday that the matter was being reviewed by a law firm that specializes in legal matters affecting education institutions and public agencies.
After hours of emotional and highly charged public discussion laced with accusations of racism and discrimination, the Santa Rosa school board voted shortly after 1 a.m. Thursday to close Doyle Park Elementary School and hand the campus over to the new French-American charter school. The vote was 4-2 in favor of closing Doyle Park at the end of the current school year.
The Santa Rosa City Schools board is expected today to once again vote on the closure of Doyle Park Elementary School. The vote comes just weeks after board members deadlocked over closing the school. But pressure to find a suitable campus for a French-American charter school has put the proposal to close Doyle Park back on the table.
A controversial proposal to close Doyle Park Elementary School, a move thought by some to be dead at least for this school year, will be brought back to the Santa Rosa City Schools board on March 14. Board President Larry Haenel confirmed Tuesday that the proposal would be placed on the agenda for next week’s meeting. The agenda will be released to the public on Friday.