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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: School board 2002, better or gooder?

Well here we are, a week from election day and I AM wondering just how much measurable school improvement our WeCCUSD incumbent school board Trustees have delivered since their last election. Let’s go look at the recently released API 2001-2002 Growth Results and look for “the small but meaningful” results that Glen Price, Karen Fenton and Charles “Wes’ McArthur” Ramsey have been telling us about for the last three bond issues.

So I click on the API hyperlink and fill in Contra Costa County and an ocean of comparative data rolls out of my computer, Acalanes, 800s; Brentwood 600 & 700s; Mt. Diablo 500-800s; WeCCUSD - BLANK?? “This district has reported that it is correcting 2002 STAR demographic information…results will be available in December 2002”. We sure don’t do very well with numbers in the WeCCUSD do we? The same school district that was “nailed’ by state auditors for cooking the attendance books and avoided an $8,000,000 fine only after 11th hour hard politicking and back room deals, “to help the children”. The electorate of West County has 500,000,000 reasons to be very concerned about this kind of “data management” by the Trustees and their administrative staff. But I guess we’ll have to wait until December to see if our Trustees are really delivering “small” or “meaningful” or any kind of improvement to the schools besides the known over budget expenditures on De John Middle School. Then we will be able to hold them accountable in the next school board election, in four years

Of course people could vote for the challengers that haven’ had anything to do with, “demographic corrections”, attendance adjustments or gross misrepresentation about bond funded construction and rehabilitation costs now benefiting WeCCUSD contractors.

During our current school board’s watch;

1. Kennedy HS has become one of the ten worst high schools (based on STAR scores) in California and is on probational accreditation.

2. ECHS has eliminated desperately needed remedial education in spite of dramatic evidence of minority student under performance, especially in English language arts and is also on probational accreditation.

3. As part of its school improvement program, the school board approved the installation of toxic gas generators from a crooked equipment supplier and expected them to be used while school was in session.

4. De John Middle School is 200%+ over budget with local tax payers on the hook to pay 100% of the cost if the weak economy and State budget crisis defeats the proposed $13B school bond issue (the largest bond issue in US history) on the state ballot.

People may fret about the challengers and wonder whether they can do a better job than the seasoned school board veterans. But the real question is, “Can they do a worse job?” That seems impossible.

Here’s a question for candidates night at De Anza HS, What is the accreditation status of De Anza HS?

James S. Young, El Cerrito

Run dates: 2002-10-30 - 2002-11-05

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