By Jackie Burrell
Friday, January 23rd, 2009 at 3:38 pm in Schools.
In West County, where community members are still aghast over the sudden decision to shutter schools right after a successful parcel tax election, board members are dealing with other issues too – including the possibility of moving children out of two seismically-challenged middle schools, Portola and Adams, which are already on the closure list. Meanwhile, the City of Richmond (!) has offered to buy school district land in a $3 million move designed to keep schools open. It’s a stunning offer. Who knew Richmond had the money? Um, they don’t, says reporter Katherine Tam: “City officials don’t know where they will get the money to buy the land, and they have just three weeks to find it.”
Changes are afoot in the Mt. Diablo school district where a new majority – trustees Gary Eberhart and Paul Strange, and new board member Sherry Whitmarsh – holds sway.
“The superintendent is going to have to deal with a board that’s going to be more active and willing to hold him accountable for the errors he makes,” Strange told reporter Theresa Harrington. “We’re having to get more involved than if we just simply had a superintendent who understood the importance of strategic planning.” Superintendent Gary McHenry’s response: “Whatever they establish as a priority, that’s what I’ll do.” It’s a pivotal time for this district, which, like every other California school district, is facing massive budget cuts. But Mt. Diablo is also embroiled in a full IRS audit. And there’s a possible parcel tax on the horizon.
Meanwhile, down in the Valley (valley so low, hang your head over, hear the wind blow, la la la … sorry, it’s Friday and we’re getting very, very punchy), the San Ramon Valley school board just appointed a new, sort of, board member – former schools trustee Ken Mintz, who last served in the ’90s. And it looks like that Danville mom who spit on a child has agreed to attend 16 anger management classes instead of facing misdemeanor battery charges. Spitting on a child? We’re kinda speechless.
There’s a lovely report in from Athenian High School student Amy Moellering on a group of students who attended the inauguration earlier this week.
And in the latest update on the tragic slaying of a Danville high school senior, police just arrested a 15-year-old in connection with the shooting death.
Farther south… San Jose teachers just voted to take two furlough days – days without pay – to help their school district close its budget gap. Other districts have talked that talk, San Jose is the first to take the walk.
And on the statewide scene … concerned that the state’s school lunch program for needy kids is going to run out of money, state schools chief Jack O’Connell and Assemblyman Tom Torlakson are pleading for more funding, to make sure children are fed. The number of children qualifying for the free hot lunch program rose 4.5 percent last year – last fall, the numbers went up another 12 percent and legislators are growing increasingly worried.