A roomful of disappointed young parents watched Tuesday evening as the Paso Robles Public Schools trustees voted unanimously to reject a proposed charter school.
It was standing room only, and little of that. Some charter-school backers spoke before the trustees’ voted, but the backers already anticipated rejection. One speaker vowed to appeal to the county and the state. She emphatically predicted they’d win on appeal.
But appeals take time. And if eventually they did win, it would be too late to open the school next fall as planned.
So now I’d like to speak directly to those disappointed parents: Even if you eventually don’t win, I hope you’ll continue your organization.
Individual voices are easily ignored, but organizations get attention. They have influence and power.
And there’s other work for you to do. For example, Tuesday night, the trustees took one action before their charter-school vote.
They voted to study the feasibility of opening a performing-arts magnet school at Bauer-Speck Elementary School. There was even talk of other magnet schools.
Maybe you thought the feasibility study was merely a pacifier. Well, even if it was, remember the fable of the boy with the jar of filbert nuts.
He grabbed a handful, but the jar’s neck was narrow. He couldn’t bring the fistful out. He had to settle for a few at a time. As the saying goes, half a loaf beats none.
And before that feasibility study becomes an actual magnet school, the trustees may need reminding and nudging. That’s where your organization comes in.
By the way, one disagreement doesn’t mean the school trustees are your enemies. They’d welcome you as allies.
They have a frustrating job and very little power. Sacramento holds the schools’ purse strings.
Speaking of Sacramento, Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed a plan to prevent our state budget’s imminent implosion. Many people are condemning the plan, so I guess it’s fair.
But, for it to happen, our Legislature must act within a month to call a special election.
Then we’d vote on extending about $10 billion in special taxes for five years. Otherwise, they expire this year. Without that tax money, education can expect more deep wounds.
Your organization could meet with our local state senator and assemblyman. You are a serious, well-informed group. I believe you could impress them with the importance and fairness of calling the election.
You might even want to set up a separate political-action identity. You could call it the School Bell Party.
Reach Phil Dirkx at firstname.lastname@example.org or 238-2372.