Excerpts from the Board meeting last night regarding Raj's Phase II recommendations:
Irene Stewart: "Move to postpone this particular motion indefinitely...In my view, that does not preclude any one portion of it coming back for consideration, but I would expect it to be done in a far more sensible, open, communicative way, so that we can find some success...I don't see success in this motion. I don't think it can pass, but even if it did, I think we would have so many problems that we would pay a price for many, many, many years to come. Let's do what we need to do, but let's do it right, and that means with the community involved and finding real solutions."
Darlene Flynn: "I am supporting this motion and it is not because of the demonstration tonight. I think demonstrations and speak-outs are good things...I'm not satisfied that we have worked out the solution as well as we could have. This will give us the opportunity to have some more of those conversations that are much more inclusive, much more complete and sensitive. And I believe that...we will find solutions to some of the problems that didn't get found on our way to tonight."
Cheryl Chow: "I don't believe that people have the right to make personal attacks. I don't believe that people have the right to slander or to use ethnic slurs or comments....I try to hear what is being said. I also try to keep in mind the big picture. And the big picture is what are we doing for the children in the classrooms. The state does not fund us appropriately....That's why we are sitting here making tough decisions...It is painful for all of us...What happened tonight is an embarassment...I will be voting against this amendment. However, I will move forward to work with my colleagues and district staff to come up with a situation where we can get people to the table and talk."
Sally Soriano: "I find the process that we have used, both in Phase and in Phase II, an embarassment. Until behavior turns around in this district, I can no longer use the word "collaborative." Until behavior turns around in this district, I can no longer use the word "authentic." Maybe the behavior will change...need to go back and look at Phase I...if we don't go back...we will just keep making the same mistakes."
Michael DeBell: "I felt like democracy was in danger here tonight. A politicial culture of intimidation, insult...that's not the way to move forward...For those of you who feel very strongly, you can run next year. It's a difficult job. The issues are very difficult to deal with because they have trade-offs. We do not have unlimited resources. We cannot satisfy everyone's desire to keep their school, that they love so dearly...I'm voting against this motion because I believe deliberation is very important, and instead we are tabling this motion indefinitely. That won't allow us to learn all the lessons we can from this process...When you are intimidating us and insulting us, and especially when you insult the staff, it also hurts me, because you are diminishing the entire school district."
Mary Bass: "I actually am very proud...I think it was very remarkable what we saw tonight. It was a full, packed room of faces we hadn't seen in a very long time...unified on very, very similar topics across the board...Civil disobedience in my book is not a bad thing. When people aren't heard, they are going to speak louder. When people aren't heard, they are going to do things to get your attention. It's been a very long year and a half with regards to closures, and we have lost a lot of people along the way, and they've lost faith in this district...we've got a problem with Phase I, and we're going to have to rethink that. So going forward, on a very corrupt and flawed process based on very flawed numbers is the wrong thing to do...but we could have avoided all this...to those here tonight and those who are not here, I hope they stay as vigilent when things seem to be swimming along...somehow hold your representatives accountable...get down here to some of the committee meetings where some of the real work gets done...I want to thank everyone who came out tonight...I am very, very proud...this is but one step, so don't let your guard down."
Brita Butler-Wall: "I also want to tell you, that the staff members in this building are also not our enemies. They are our brothers and sisters. I did not think this process was the correct process, but I do know that the people who worked so hard on the part of the district staff did their very best with what they had. They had a very tight timeline...it may just have been an impossible task...I am convinced that we can design a process that is fair...I think this is a really tough decision. We have other very tough decisions..but if it is worth doing, it is worth doing right. The district that I really want to be part of is a district with a culture of "Ask, don't tell"...that we bring the problems to you in the community, show you what we see...I am still supportive of closing schools...as well as many other tough decisions. But I also think that with your help we can figure out collaborative processes that are fair and inclusive and transparent."
Irene Stewart: "There may very well be some solutions that come out of this, hopefully from the community, to close schools perhaps, perhaps some other things...one of the solutions I continue to maintain is figuring out what kind of program placement will attract more students to that school...planning to figure out what kind of program might go into an underenrolled building is something this district should be supporting...have a Board with a majority here that says yes we support school closures. But there is also a majority here that says, not in this particular form. We'll get it right next time, even if we have to do it one by one."