Santa Rosa City Schools is examining the options of reinstating up to three classroom days to the current school year and returning the budgetary reserve to 3 percent in the wake of Proposition 30′s passage last week. Proposition 30 temporarily increases the state sales tax by a quarter-cent and income taxes on the wealthy by 1 to 3 percent, staving off what Gov. Jerry Brown said would have been $4.8 billion in cuts to K-12 education in the current school year.
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.
The California School Boards Association, which represents more than 1,000 school districts, has endorsed Proposition 38 along with Proposition 30. I too support this position because both propositions are good for schools, and they would provide critically needed revenues.
Only a fraction of school board seats up for election this fall will be contested as most races have just enough contenders to fill the vacancies. There is competition for seats in just six districts, including Santa Rosa, as well as for two seats on the Sonoma County Board of Education. And nine districts could have board vacancies because not enough people filed paperwork to join the board. Sonoma County’s largest school district, Santa Rosa City Schools, has five contenders for four seats.
Santa Rosa City Schools has tapped Santa Clara educator Socorro Shiels as the district’s new superintendent. Shiels, who turns 41 Thursday, currently is assistant superintendent of educational services in the Morgan Hill Unified School District, located south of San Jose and a little more than half the size of the Santa Rosa district. She replaces Sharon Liddell, whose resignation is effective June 30, ending nine years with the district.
The Santa Rosa School Board will consider 12 applicants for the superintendent’s job in Sonoma County’s largest school district. The pool of contenders includes five school district superintendents and the remaining applicants are either assistant or associate superintendents.
Closure of Doyle Park Elementary School would be avoided for now under a tentative agreement between Doyle Park supporters and the Santa Rosa City Schools district. Sources say the preliminary agreement would allow Doyle Park students to remain at the school at least for a year, sharing the campus with the district’s new French American Charter School. The deal would effectively settle a lawsuit filed by a group fighting to keep the school open.
Santa Rosa City Schools is still grappling with how to cut approximately $376,000 from its 2012-13 budget despite slashing the school year by six days and dropping the budget reserve from three percent to one percent. Cuts are expected to total $8.3 million from its $130 million budget when the board makes its final determination at the May 23 meeting.
The district’s newly formed French American Charter School may continue to enroll children and hire staff, but it cannot, for the time being, guarantee parents and prospective employees that the Doyle Park campus is theirs.