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Monrovia School Link ~ Number 21 ~ Feb. 28, 2001

I was interested to hear that the board may put up some money to hire a lobbyist. I think it was a Sacramento lobbyist, though I'm not sure I caught that part. I'm not sure whether I approve of that or not.
~ Brad Haugaard (

LOBBYIST ~ This is a new one on me. This district is thinking of joining some other school districts in hiring a lobbyist. Yeah - a lobbyist. For about $4,000 a year. That's Monrovia's share. It probably happens every day, but I find it odd to think of governments lobbying government. Whatever. Anyway, Superintendent Louise Taylor said the logic is that the district needs someone to warn the board about upcoming legislation and to track down legislators who would be willing to sponsor legislation the district wants. She said the matter will be on the next Board agenda.

HONOREES ~ Congratulations to instructional aide Enrique Vasquez and teacher Amy VerBurg of Plymouth School. Both were honored at the board meeting by the Chamber of Commerce for their contributions to the school. Some co-workers gave Enrique this weird necklace of that looked like white balls with sticks poking out of them. I stared and stared and finally figured out they were supposed to be golf balls with tees stuck on them. Then I saw the Titlist hat someone gave him. I'm betting he likes golf.

PAR ~ Speaking of golf, the district has begun something called the PAR (Peer Assistance and Review) program. The little brochure that goes along with it seems to indicate that teachers who want help - or teachers who gotta get help because of an unsatisfactory performance evaluation - will be able to get coaching from other teachers. Sounds like it could be helpful.

DIVERSITY ~ Apparently Monrovia High School cancelled a Black History Month assembly because somebody objected that other races didn't get their own months. The student representative to the board, an ASB member, said the ASB is considering having a Cultural Diversity Week to replace it. That way any cultural or ethnic group can join in or opt out, as it wishes. Seems like a reasonable idea.

REFRESHING ~ Regarding the previous item, it's sometimes interesting - and refreshing - to listen to the student representatives to the board. Blithely unaware, when it comes their turn to talk, they happily bring up both the good stuff and the problems. Things you'd never hear about otherwise. They haven't learned you're supposed to pretend that problems don't exist. Don't worry, they'll learn.

MOUSTACHE II ~ I wrote a bit ago that Board President Roger Graziani's moustache looked as if it sort of drooped down around the edge of his mouth, sort of Viking-esque. Well, I was wrong. It's filled out a bit, and I could tell because the light was somewhat better tonight, so I can vouch (not "voucher") that it's a fairly standard moustache.

ENDORSING ~ Speaking of Graziani, he (and board members Yolanda Gallardo, Francie Cash and Bruce Carter, plus Superintendent Louise Taylor) all praised retiring Mayor Bob Bartlett. Graziani turned this into a subtle bit of electioneering by encouraging people to vote for the candidate who would "best carry on Bob Bartlett's legacy." Since Bartlett recently wrote a letter on behalf of mayoral candidate Lara Blakely, it was not hard to figure out who Graziani was oh-so-subtly endorsing.

RUBBER BAND ~ Since we're sort of on the topic of city officials, I recently spoke with one who shares my less-than-unbridled-enthusiasm for how the School District is run. This person compared Monrovia to a train. If I may paraphrase: The engine and all the cars have pulled out of the station, but the caboose - obviously uncoupled - is still sitting there. The caboose, as you've no doubt concluded, represents the school district. But actually, I think the caboose is still connected to the train, but just by a rubber band (You know, one of those big, fat, railroad rubber bands). So, anyway, it's taking a long time for the caboose to budge, but it's slowly starting to... I hope.

TBA ~ I had someone write about a month ago to ask me to publish the date of the Open House at Santa Fe Middle School, which was labeled "To Be Announced" in the agenda, and hence, in this newsletter. I promised I would publish it when it finally appeared in the agenda. And today... still isn't the day. The agenda still says that the open house is "TBA." Sorry, it must be extremely hard to settle on these things.

NEXT BOARD MEETING ~ The next meeting is on March 14, 2001 at 7:30 p.m. at the administration office at 325 E. Huntington Drive.

Copyright (c) 2001, Brad Haugaard