WE HAVE TO ADMIT there’s something weird going on with the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District, better known locally as CRPUSD. In last week’s issue The Community Voice printed a nice letter from English teacher Lanny Lowery who listed most of the past school district presidents and found admirable points about them all. I remember these meetings for the fact Lowery and other teachers all held lighted candles as district director and school board members had to walk down this well-lit candled stroll to their meeting place.
This was long before the time of Superintendent Robert Haley and the three incumbent trustees – President Tracy Farrell, Jennifer Wiltermood and Marc Orloff. Gestures like candles will probably not be repeated by this strait-laced quartet again.
WHAT DID ATTRACT our attention was a fact that the candidate in the last school board election, was Tim Nonn, who had the most votes, more than the other candidate. Nonn is also legally blind and requires special help in reading and decoding the agendas trustees have to absorb prior to every meeting at Officer Friendly Middle School.
Nonn has had the specialized services provided by Janet Lowery who apparently has been doing this for a few years for Nonn and perhaps a few others. She’s also the wife of Lanny Lowery. I had a chance to speak with Nonn last week and he was very circumspect in his replies and very cautious about what he was saying to the media.
“Yes, I can say that we are making progress in our talks,” he said. Apparently, he’s not privy to the school district’s stance. “They do not reply to my messages or e-mails,” Nonn said. “I just take their word that progress is being made.”
School Superintendent Robert Haley has assigned two of his staff assistants to help out Nonn at board meetings.
THOSE ARE THE ELEMENTS of this rather weird controversy. A superintendent who must take his directions from a massive educational bureaucracy in Sacramento against a winning candidate who is legally blind and prefers his own trained candidate to assist him. It’s difficult to blame Nonn for filing a lawsuit against the school district. You might blame Haley and his trio of board incumbents for being stubborn but they don’t carry much weight with the Sacramento machinery. It’s only one district easily brushed aside.
We don’t see any alternative solutions and won’t see one until Haley and his trio of incumbents lift up their blackout curtain just a tiny bit. It might call for a special bit of legislature from the State Senate or House of Representatives (State Assembly) but I can’t think of any elected official in Sacramento who’d be willing to do this. However, surprises do occur in Sacramento.
THE MONDAY OPENING OF the RP-Cotati library, scheduled for April 10 has been pushed forward to Monday, May 1, 2017 we’ve been told. It seems the current library staff is burdened with the job of hiring new librarians and computer-savvy aides and re-arranging everyones schedule from back-room aides to additional children’s room shelves.
It sounded so simple to just add a day and hire a couple of newcomers. San Jose State University is famed for producing top library staffers. It’s a complicated task as librarians are finding out.
THERE WAS AN ITEM buried in a column in last week’s Community Voice by City Manager Darrin Jenkins concerning the former State Farm Insurance acreage. Here’s a quote: “SunCal, a developer (from Orange County) bought the State Farm acreage in 2013, proposed their own plan which the city approved,” Jenkins said.
“Since then, SunCal has not moved forward with its project and last month has listed the property for sale, City staff has met with numerous potential buyers, emphasizing the city’s desire for a quality downtown.”
This is one of those items that raises more questions than answers. Does the city now own all of State Farm acreage? They’re doing land maintenance here already. Can the city buy the property if it meets SunCal’s price?
Suppose a guy named Hiram G. Snivelly plops a billion dollars on Jenkins’ lap and says “I want this depot labeled Hiram G Snivelly Downtown Rohnert Park. I also want a framed color photo inside the depot. Full size.
In this crazy inside-out world we’re living in worse nightmares have happened.