Bouquets and Brickbats

Julian Crocker has worked hard for students

letters@thetribunenews.comJanuary 24, 2014 

Julian Crocker, San Luis Obispo County's superintendent of schools, in 2007.

JAYSON MELLOM — The Tribune

We toss a grade “A” bouquet to retiring County Schools Superintendent Julian Crocker, who has been a class act in local education for more than 25 years. Crocker, 72, announced this week that he will not seek reelection but will serve out the remainder of his term, which ends next January.

Crocker’s been superintendent of schools for 16 years and prior to that, was superintendent of the Paso Robles Joint Union School District for nine years.

He’s been unfailingly good-humored, hard working, accessible and, of course, always a strong advocate for children and education.

He’s often at the forefront of efforts to lobby for fair funding for schools — whether by asking voters to approve a bond measure, calling on the governor and state Legislature to restore revenue to education, or writing Viewpoints for these pages to explain the vagaries of the complicated system of state funding for education. In short, he’s worked hard to help ensure the success of tens of thousands of local students and for that, he has our admiration and gratitude.

Cutting bus routes a thrifty move

We offer the San Luis Coastal school district a frugal bouquet for deciding to eliminate bus service for students who don’t attend their neighborhood schools. (Transportation still will be provided to Pacheco and Teach, which are magnet schools.)

It’s great that the district can offer families the option of enrolling their children in the school of their choice, even if it’s outside their attendance area. Not every district provides that opportunity. But if families decide to send their kids to a school that’s on the other side of town (or in another town altogether) it’s only fair that the families provide transportation. That’s especially true given the district’s financial struggles. To save money, it stopped busing high school students this year and reduced the number of routes to junior high and elementary schools, which means some have much longer rides. By eliminating busing for transfer students, the district may be able to restore some of those routes. We’re glad to hear it.

Ad trailer shouldn’t park at school

We’re generally willing to cut novice campaigners some slack, which is why we weren’t rushing to point fingers at local candidate Lynn Compton. In case you missed Thursday’s editorial, her campaign has been towing a U-Haul trailer plastered with a big Compton-for-supervisor sign to strategic spots in South County.

Normally, temporary outdoor political signs can’t be displayed until 60 or 90 days before an election, depending on the jurisdiction. But because local agencies have no ordinances restricting temporary campaign signs on vehicles, the U-Haul signs are technically OK — a loophole that we hope to see closed by the next election.

Again, no laws were violated. Still, we can’t let the Compton camp off unscathed. In our view, it committed a brickbattable offense — if not a technical one — when it parked the billboard-on-wheels in the parking lot of Arroyo Grande High School on weekends, possibly creating a mistaken impression in some minds that the district had endorsed Compton.

School district officials told us they had not been contacted by the campaign and did not give permission to park the U-Haul there.

Oddly, though, district officials also said the campaign technically didn’t violate any rules. While the district has a policy that prohibits employees from displaying campaign signs on campus property during working hours, there is no policy covering non-employees. That’s another big loophole that should be closed ASAP.

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