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Monrovia School Link ~ Number 22 ~ March 14, 2001

Board President Roger Graziani was out today, so Board VP Bruce Carter took his place. Carter is clearly a bright guy and did a fine job. I'd like to see him shine a little more often. As my fourth grade teacher might have said: "Has excellent potential, but needs to work hard at exerting leadership skills."
~ Brad Haugaard (

NO PLANNED PARENTHOOD ~ Superintendent Louise Taylor said Planned Parenthood approached the district with a proposal to teach students about abstinence and date rape and so forth, but, Taylor said, the district told the group that it has its own programs, so no thank you. The topic came up because Monrovia resident Rosemary Harrahill asked to be able to present an opposing viewpoint if the district was considering letting Planned Parenthood be involved in teaching.

HAIKU ~ The board honored more than 30 haiku-writing Monroe Elementary School students for being published in the "Anthology of Poetry by Young Americans." Here's one I liked:

A leaf
White and big,
Long, soft and thin,
Falling to the ground,
Lying on the floor of the canyon,
I think you're special
Because you feed tree frogs
-- Brandon White

LOBBYIST ~ The board discussed joining the Glendora, Charter Oaks, Arcadia, Covina Valley and West Covina school districts in hiring a lobbyist to represent them in Washington and Sacramento. The districts would hire the lobbying firm Frost Davis & Donnelly. Monrovia's share, if it joins the group, would be $2,000 for the remainder of this year, and $4,000 for next year. Board members Bruce Carter and Betty Sandford were all in favor of it, while Francie Cash wanted to know how similar districts have benefited by having a lobbyist. [Good question!] The matter should come to a vote at the March 28 board meeting.

GOOD IDEA? ~ I mentioned the lobbyist thing last time, and said I wasn't sure whether it was a good idea, but a couple of readers had more definite thoughts:
~ "It [hiring a lobbyist] is part of the big game of government. You need someone walking the halls of the Legislature or Congress and reporting to you on issues affecting your industry in order to have your voice heard."
~ "Hire a lobbyist? Why don't they send someone over to Inglewood Unified School District and find out how they brought their test scores up to Beverly Hills caliber - they have same ethnic/demographics that we do! That would be $4,000 much better spent!"

NEW DIRECTOR ~ The board authorized hiring a Director - not yet selected - of Student Support Services. This person, whose salary will be completely paid for by grants ("We couldn't do it, otherwise," Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Joel Shawn said), will coordinate all the anti drug, alcohol, tobacco and violence programs.

VIOLENCE ~ Speaking of violence, Superintendent Louise Taylor said that in light of the school shootings in San Diego, the district will review all its emergency plans and is drafting a letter to parents and is urging students to report anything they may know of planned violence. Also, Taylor said the district has a hotline to report problems. It is (626) 357-MUSD. At this point, Abby Gibb, the high school student representative to the board, broke in to say she'd never heard of the hotline. Hmm. Guess it needs a little more publicity.

PAY SCALES ~ The district has come to a salary agreement with the Monrovia Teachers Association. I'm not going to go through the whole thing, which would expose my inability to read a spreadsheet, but from what I think I understand, teachers will get salaries ranging from $32,555 to $68,799, depending on years and extra education and stuff. And just for fun, here are some administrative level salaries (notably absent, by the way, was the superintendent's salary):
~ Assistant Superintendent of Instruction: $105,300 to $112,500.
~ High School Principal: $95,890 to $103,026.
~ Middle School Principal: $88,128 to $94,176.
~ Elementary School Principal: $84,630 $90,510.

SUMMER SCHOOL ~ Your kids will be delighted to know that the board has set the dates for summer school: June 25 through August 6 for high school, and June 25 through July 31 for elementary and middle schools.

LOCKERS AND CLASS SIZE ~ Superintendent Taylor said the district is still studying the locker situation - or, more properly - the lack of lockers situation at Monrovia High. Also, she said, the district is looking at the very large class sizes at the middle schools. Yes, I know this is sketchy, but that's all she said.

NOT TBA ~ You will be glad to know that Santa Fe Middle School's open house is no longer To Be Announced. It HBA. The open house will be April 4 at 6:30 p.m.

NEXT BOARD MEETING ~ The next meeting is on March 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the administration office at 325 E. Huntington Drive, though there'll be a special study session meeting at Monrovia High at 4 p.m. on March 21 to discuss "modernization plans."

Copyright (c) 2001, Brad Haugaard