Strong SM South turnout at board meeting has Save Mission Valley parents on alert

A contingent of SM South parents lobbying the board of education to approve the original proposals put forth by superintendent Gene Johnson got the attention of the leaders of the Save Mission Valley group on Monday.

After attending Monday’s board of education meeting, Save Mission Valley committee members Michelle Trouvé and Mary Lee Duff sent an email update to members alerting them that the movement to keep Mission Valley open appeared to have suffered a “major setback.”

(A caveat here that we were not able to attend the meeting in person, so we are passing along information provided by Trouvé and Duff, as well as Leigh Anne Neal, the district’s communications officer).

According to Neal, 18 people spoke during the open forum at the beginning of the meeting, and Trouvé and Duff reported that the vast majority of them were from a “well organized” group of SM South parents, many of whom were carrying signs that read “EQUITY.”

Trouvé and Duff reported that some of the common themes expressed by the speakers were that, “East parents are afraid of diversity, East parents want a better education than the rest of the District, the Board is ‘protecting the privileged,’ SM South may become 5A for sports which would be ‘tragic’ and that the Board should not favor buildings over programs.”

(More after the jump)

Board president Deb Zila opened the meeting by acknowledging the Mission Valley, Antioch and Brookwood proposals had not been resolved. Board members Donna Bysfield, the SM East area representative, and Larry Winn said they wanted to see the middle school proposals voted on soon so that parents and teachers could make plans for the coming year. Bysfield suggested the items be included on the Dec. 13 board agenda.

This came as a surprise to the Mission Valley parents, who were under the impression that Johnson had asked for the Mission Valley and Antioch proposals to be postponed until after the committee he proposed forming had issued its report on middle school facility improvements.

Asked to help clarify the rationale behind potentially moving the Mission Valley and Antioch votes before the delivery of the committee’s report, Neal provided the following answer via email: “Board members who commented on the items that were not acted upon or who asked that the proposals be revisited, possibly as early as December 13, indicated the importance of making decisions in order that students, staff, and parents could move forward with planning for the coming year, including enrolling in classes and staffing programs and courses. Also, concerns over budget and funding uncertainties for the coming year and rising estimates of budget deficits at the state level were also voiced.”

Neal added that, “The board did not specify exactly what would appear on the Dec. 13 board agenda. Board of Education leadership will review the agenda prior to it being posted online for the public on the Thursday prior to the board meeting.”

A couple of additional points:

  • At this point, it’s not clear (to me, at least) whether the proposal to move Brookwood Elementary into the SM South feeder pattern is dead as a result of the fact that the motion didn’t receive a second at the Nov. 8 board meeting, or whether it could be reintroduced. We’ll try to get clarification on that after the holiday break (the district offices are closed until Monday).
  • We’ve got an email out to David Willig, one of the SM South parents who spoke at the Nov. 8 meeting, to get his thoughts on Monday’s proceedings. After the Nov. 8 meeting, Willig made it very clear that he was not in favor of closing Mission Valley,  but he was in favor of moving Brookwood to the SM South feeder pattern.
  • We’ll try to get in touch with Bysfield and Winn and see if they’ll tell us which way they are leaning on the Mission Valley issue.