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.
Laura González, a teacher and Santa Rosa School Board member, is an ardent advocate for people who entered the United States without permission in order to forge a better life. She terms them ‘undocumented immigrants.’ Steve Giraud of Petaluma, director of the NorCal Border Patrol Auxiliary, argues with equal fervor that those same people, whom he generally terms ‘illegal aliens,’ are, whatever their motivation, a risk to public health and safety and a drain on the U.S. economy. On Thursday, González and Giraud, seated next to each other at a forum convened by the county’s Commission on Human Rights, agreed on one thing that needs to happen in order to address the situation of the roughly 12 million people in the country illegally.
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 failed Wednesday night after the Santa Rosa school board did not have enough votes to go forward. The proposal, which generated a huge community outburst after being presented last month, would have shuttered the 61-year-old campus at the end of the school year.
Santa Rosa City Schools Superintendent Sharon Liddell announced Friday she will resign effective June 30. Liddell, who turns 65 next month, has been with Sonoma County’s largest school district since 2003. She became superintendent in 2005. “This is something I have been thinking about for a number of months,” she said. “I have some goals I’d like to achieve.”
Sonoma County’s largest school district is examining how it elects its school board members as other districts across California move to broaden their representation — and avoid litigation. Santa Rosa City Schools plans to examine whether the current way trustees are elected disenfranchises minority voters and fails to comply with the California Voting Rights Act. Currently, all seven members of Santa Rosa’s board live on the east side of Highway 101, and three of the seven live in Fountaingrove.
Santa Rosa City Schools trustees Wednesday night cut two days from the 2011-12 school year, eliminated six librarian positions and slashed office support across the district to reach its $3 million budget-reduction goal. Trustees also targeted an additional $5 million in cuts should a handful of statewide tax extensions either fail to make the ballot or be rejected by voters in June.
Santa Rosa City Schools officials are sharpening their scalpels again. On Wednesday night, they will consider cutting school days from next year’s calendar, increasing class sizes and reducing administrative and support jobs. Sonoma County’s largest school district, which made $1.4 million in cuts earlier this month, expects to cut an additional $1.6 million from the upcoming school year – and the total could soar to $8 million. See what’s on the table.