Tues. Evening, Dec. 11 was the introduction to the new board members of the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District.
The opening ceremony was the swearing in of Leffler Brown, Chrissa Gillies and Joe Cimino, the oath being given by Jennifer Wiltermood, amid the loud claps of the audience approving the fresh members.
Leffler Brown was selected as the new president of the board and Chrissa Gillies as the new clerk after a member said that Leffler has been on the school board for 24 years and is very respected in the community.
Ivan, a fifth grader from the district led the Pledge of Allegiance. The meeting was then turned over to Tony Roehrick, the interim superintendent for the CRPUSD, who introduced himself to the audience. Roehrick said he was proud to come into the district and hopes that everyone can work together peacefully.
There was a call for electing a representative for the Sonoma County of Education and that position checks for boundaries. The position is normally elected by the board but it was given to Jennifer Wiltermood.
There is a committee called 2x2x2 which includes the City of Cotati, Rohnert Park and the school district. Jennifer and Leffler were designated to oversee it with Joe Cimino to be the back-up person.
EL-CAP will be under Jennifer and Joe’s watchful eye and Leffler will be the back-up. The budget will be under Chrissa and Leffler while the special education will be watched by Tim and Leffler and Jennifer as a back-up.
John McIntyre, the president of the business union invited students to come and talk to them as far as getting an education in skills and trades. Not all students are college material, but are needed as plumbers and electricians. The union will give them an opportunity to train high school student and they will also offer to bus students to the training centers.
Many citizens came to the podium to praise the new board and also Lanny Lowery who gave up his time to stand on the corners holding signs to suggest which would be a good person for the school board.
Some citizens said it is time to work for the future with the new board. There are many teachers who are underpaid and the district has to look toward the future and decided when and where to spend the money.
Others brought forth the air quality and that the school should have notified the school and parents much better than it did. The school district has to get back on the right track financially and the board should learn to settle problems and disputes at a lower level than it used to. And please to learn to treat each other and the trustees with respect. Many times things were very unprofessional with yelling and over-talking. Many felt that some schools are over-staffed and that some students have to be shadowed then their teachers don’t have the time for their other students.
Emilia Torres and Carolina Lenzi, student board members from the Ranch and Tech High, announced their campus’ collected 5,000 pounds of canned food for NOAH, and St. Vincent’s.
Chip Roemer from Credo High announced he would be stepping down as Executive Director and a new one will take his place in July.
Another subject that came up and a whoa from the audience was when a board member said that Credo High is stealing our students and that Credo is not in the school district. Credo brings many new ideas to the community and there should be a student put on the board to represent Credo.
The cost of housing is forcing staff and students to leave the district. This is something that will have to be looked at also. The adopted budget is the best information the board had at the time. The district is looking at a projected enrollment and if students are leaving for another district, then a red flag should have gone up way back in Aug. and not bring it up now in the new school year. The deficit is for next year but adjustments for the cost of living will have to be looked at and then see how many dollars are there to spend.
The TAG building is of concern. The money is there to build it but what about maintenance? An analogy would be I had the money to buy a car but now I have no money to buy insurance, put in gas and tires. So the money should be allocated before construction is under way.
The district needs to come together and insure that it is solvent.
As Tony Roehrick said, “This is our issue and we need to resolve it.”