Today we are not going to scold anyone or place any blame or point any fingers. Today we want to sing the praises of the four school-closure, or 7-11, committees. The members of these committees are our heroes and stand as an amazing example of citizen engagement.
|Click to view our School Closure Guide|
Over the last four months these dedicated volunteers have poured their hearts and souls — and literally hundreds of hours — into their task of advising the school board on school closures and consolidations.
The results are outstanding. The reports, which the district released late Friday, April 27, are thorough, substantive, well-written and professionally presented. Most are 40 or more pages long with multiple appendices.
Although Portola’s is short at just one page, that community has less at stake in the immediate future than other areas. Even so, the Portola report is straightforward and doesn’t shy away from the difficult. Its last recommendation is that the district acknowledge “the real and/or perceived distrust with the community of Portola and the school district. We request that the board acknowledge this fact and take action to address the issue of distrust.”
With its colorful, accessible graphics, the Chester committee’s report is probably the most visually appealing. The Indian Valley report is the most detailed, going into master schedules and staffing levels for a variety of options with Plumas Charter School.
Quincy’s report is probably the best written and easiest to follow, with a yeoman’s number of appendices. Our favorite is the one that coolly and methodically takes apart the district administration’s recommendations one by one. Its notes are full of “clarification,” “unsupported,” “unsubstantiated,” “incomplete,” “contradiction.” You get the idea. As of Monday, the Quincy report was the only one posted on the district website, pcoe.k12.ca.us, albeit without the appendices.
Taken together, the four reports serve as a repudiation of the district administration’s recommendations. To a man, they are more comprehensive, more documented, better written and more clearly presented. Intelligent public discourse depends on good information. The committees’ work goes a long way to providing what has been lacking in discussion of school closures — solid data.
We look forward to a robust discussion of their recommendations at tonight’s special board meeting at Quincy Elementary School. You can read an outline of the committees’ suggestions in our Citizens Guide to School Closure in the front section of today’s paper. It is our honor to report on the work of these community heroes.
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