Forum comments reveal rift opened wide by Mission Valley controversy

Brookwood parent Steve Bledsoe directed his comments during the open forum at SM South parents.

Amid the fallout from Monday’s board of education votes is one painfully obvious fact: there are some fences to be mended between SM East and SM South parents.

By our count, 11 of the 44 speakers during Monday’s open forum explicitly identified themselves as SM South area patrons who wanted to see the superintendent’s proposals passed. Twelve identified themselves as SM East area patrons who wanted the proposals rejected.

Though most of the speakers maintained a respectful tone, a handful made edgy comments that drew animated approval or derision from the crowd.

One SM South patron said the SM East area always gets its way in board matters because it holds sway over the at-large members, a comment that prompted hisses from many SM East area parents. SM East area resident Roger Stanton exchanged a heated remark with board member Donna Bysfield over the wisdom of closing Mission Valley after the district had just spent $4 million in improvements to the school.

Precisely how the relationships between patrons who had been on opposing sides of the issue, but whose children will soon be classmates, will be healed remains to be seen. But one thing is certain: it will take the combined efforts of parents, PTAs, teachers and district administrators to tend to the bruises left by this drawn out process.