The school board should listen to the community


DID YOU KNOW? Bonnie Donovan

All across America, people are waking up to the realization of the direction and abandonment of our country’s public schools.

With the spotlight now on the actions of our county and city school boards and the status quo with which its operations have been managed, current issues for our students and the policies imposed on them require the full attention of all interested parties.

This case was conducted for the most part under the radar. Now, for the sake of our children and for the local and national interest, we must remain vigilant in our scrutiny of America’s public school systems – and Santa Barbara is no exception.

A starting point would be to examine the rights of parents in determining the parameters of their children’s education and how school boards, superintendents, principals and teachers’ unions work to counteract the parental rights. Another threat would be the secrecy imposed by password-protected school and teacher-training materials to prevent parents from understanding what is actually being taught to their children. This imposition of an unapproved and unrequired subject by merging it with obligatory and approved subjects has become an abomination.

For example, an unapproved module on “ethnic studies,” another name for critical race theory, was merged with ninth-grade English to make this racial indoctrination a required subject.

Another important problem concerns these dictatorial school boards, which suppress not only the contribution of parents and teachers, but also that of concerned and qualified members of the community. This contribution includes proposals and objections to non-academic racial, sexual, and social indoctrination, provided by politically motivated contractors at enormous expense, imposed secretly and by decree.

The selfish behavior of board members must be replaced with more humility and respect for the people they serve. What qualifies these board members to think they have all the wisdom and have the final say, without needing smart input from the community?

In fact, Santa Barbara Unified School District board member Laura Capps in a meeting when asked if she thought schools were better qualified than parents to know what was best for their children, answered yes, definitely the school knows what is best for the children. Remember, she ran unopposed for the County Board of Supervisors and she takes her seat in January 2023

We must insist on an independent analysis of the root causes of why California schools consistently fail in student performance at all levels in the fundamentals of essential English and math learning.

The comparators to be used in this analysis should not be other failing schools in California, but benchmark performance schools in America and other countries that show high levels of learning performance. Otherwise, we continue with the same failed policies that have kept California in the bottom quadrant of national performance for decades.

Some of the areas to be examined by independent analysis would be the correct and verified management of a $1 billion annual budget at the county, district and school levels. With particular emphasis on contracts with qualified and non-qualified suppliers, non-competitive contract awards, and the use of multiple non-competitive contracts split into payments less than $10,000. This would include signing auto-renewing contracts that would stay in place year after year.

The very idea of ​​annual contracts is to take stock of the performance of the position whose contract is to be renewed.

Why does the Santa Barbara Unified School District even require the annual services of a Sacramento-exclusive political lobbyist, specifically one tied to the former California Secretary of Education? This is one of the endless auto-renewable contracts that has been running at $3,000 per month for eight years, totaling $288,000 and is still running. Do the math for 58 counties in California. Why do school systems need a lobbyist in Sacramento?

The only reason that comes to mind is to maintain the power of the school unions. The same unions that backed teachers to stay on Zoom and out of the classroom, and kept schools without in-person instruction, while other schools across the country came back much sooner than California. Unfortunately, this set our students back even further.

Did you know that a month ago Governor Gavin Newsom approved a 10% increase in this year’s budgets for community colleges and elementary schools to a record $128 billion? Increased funding for elementary schools brings annual spending to $73.4 billion.

We taxpayers, as investors in a school system, have no right to have a say in how it is spent! More money is not the answer to correct long-standing failures in our schools.

While we’re talking about civil discourse, when we’re doing government business, we’ve recently noticed that when the community contribution is raised, which is inconsistent with the Santa Barbara City Council proposals, it’s labeled as a letter of protest.

The word protest is too strong and inaccurate. It has a connotation that leans towards domestic terrorism. When people disagree, it can be an objection or a show of non-support. We would like to see this language changed to what it is.

For example, one can “oppose” a proposal to increase water and garbage collection rates. It’s hardly a “protest”, but the objection letters are labeled as “protest” letters.

Did you know? is pleased to see that a committee has been formed to restore community spirit, fairness, vibrancy and prosperity to Santa Barbara. They operate on the premise that since Santa Barbara is known for its beauty and unique environment, why not work to preserve and maintain what has always been Santa Barbara’s signature style?

They are proposing to keep State Street closed to private automobiles while adding an Open-Air Trolley, which will provide essential transportation service and “bring steady, predictable energy down the length of State Street…that helps promote restaurants and businesses.” businesses by increasing visibility.

This idea would involve pushing parklets off the street and onto the sidewalk, more euro-style.

They are also promoting the idea of ​​making permission for outdoor dining on the public sidewalk quick and low cost. They want to help and speed up restaurants to eat on the sidewalk and then help clear and clean the street to make the switch.

This would allow us to return to our historical and traditional use of State Street for parades and other celebrations.

Hopefully the Santa Barbara City Council pays more attention to this group than the Santa Barbara Unified School District Board has given to its community contribution.

Another community issue that needs attention is the fact that more than 600 local children are being denied field space at Santa Barbara High School to play their Friday Night Lights. This organization started in 2017 but was closed for two years due to COVID-19.

Now that children can perform again, the SBUSD board has denied them the right, at the request of theater community Marjorie Luke, who opposes Friday night field events to compete for seats parking.

Superintendent Hilda Maldonado says she stands up for children, but all she does here is a terrible opposition of arts to sports. This creates further community division and deprives children of the opportunity to play ball under the encouragement of their parents. This is a direct attack on family values.

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