By: Cathy Carlson
I am writing this letter because I believe there is misinformation about Mike Dunn’s comments with regard to an issue that he and I discussed in much detail at the time in 2016 and some of which ended up in a Letter to the Editor to the Acorn dated June 9, 2016. What I think may have confused people was Kyle Jorrey’s heading on the Letter to the Editor, which Mike Dunn could not control. Those are inserted by the editor. In this instance it suggested this was Mike’s desire, which it was not.
Subject: Mike’s Acorn letter of June 9, 2016
Mike is explaining the option that I presented to the board. He states the statistics my research discovered about the trend to permanently close expensive continuation schools. This was one of 8 options I had for the board. This is the one that saved the most money, but Mike was not convinced that this was the best answer. He told me he would write a letter and ask the public what they thought of permanently closing the program, as nearly 100 districts had already done. He said to me that it wasn’t his money, but the taxpayers. He was not a fan of this idea, and he told me so repeatedly. Kyle was wrong to title this as Mike’s preferred option. That was untrue.
Mike wrote this letter to explain to the public, and to solicit input from the public. He writes “What do you think…. He did not write this to persuade, but to explain the truth about this option. How do I know this? Because we discussed this at length, and he thought he needed to present these facts to the public, after I had suggested it at the Ad Hoc student sessions, and at public Board Meetings. In the end, the public did not embrace this solution about permanent closure, and the board moved on to other ideas over the summer. The Ad Hoc committee met for weeks over the summer with the public on this matter. I spoke at every meeting about the different options I had discovered, covering pros and cons on each of them.
Mike’s June 9, 2016 letter was written before the summer, when the board thought they had very limited choices, and that re-purposing the Board Room building was not possible, based on Betsy’s rash statement that it was impossible. This was also before I gave a speech revealing the map showing the HQ parcel went all the way to the soccer fields, and was a suitable option for building a larger school in the future. Mike and the other trustees had been told by Betsy at a board meeting that it was impossible to relocate CVHS to the board room building because of building codes, meaning the Field Act. She was completely wrong. She pulled that out of her hat and misled the board. That was proven by me to be bad information, and re-purposing the Board Room building was ultimately the final choice. And it was built on time and under budget. A huge success. But an expensive one. But that was the will of the people who spoke the loudest.
The public may change their tune in 2 years when the budget crisis hits. Betsy has said she wont be running in 2020. The new board in the future may decide to permanently close this hideously expensive program that does NOT come near to fixing the education problems of many of these students. It is a statewide problem, and the CA DOE will most likely stop continuation schools in the next 5 years. The State DOE commissioned a study group from Stanford to examine Continuation School achievements, and the results were dismal. That was in 2012. If we get a conservative State Supt of Public Instruction (SSPI), in November, Marshall Tuck, then the end of all continuation schools may come even sooner.
The most recent date found shows 441 continuation schools in California as of the 2016-2017 academic year.
Acorn Newspaper, Thousand Oaks, June 9, 2016
Trustee’s preferred option: close CVHS (HEADING WRITTEN BY KYLE JORREY, NOT MIKE DUNN)
Do you want $8 million of your tax money spent to relocate the 104 students of Conejo Valley High School? Do you want to save Carden and the Parenting Program at Horizon Hills?
What about closing the CVHS continuation school instead of relocating it?
The $8-million savings will help educate the other 19,235 students in the district. Plus, Carden will continue to pay us over $228,000 in rent.
California Education Code 48432 allows our district to close CVHS. The district has many other credit-recovery options to assist CVHS students. There are 10,050 districts in California but only 462
have continuation schools.
I predict that unless CVHS is closed, Carden will be closed and the parenting program at Horizon Hills will be relocated after the election if the incumbents are reelected.
I will not vote to relocate the parenting program at Horizon Hills, or close Carden.
I will not make 1,000 children and parents suffer. Closing CVHS should be considered and will cause the least amount of pain and will save $8-million.
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