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Monrovia School Link ~ Number 27 ~ June 27, 2001

A bit of a glitch has arisen about lockers. Plus, the new shool board member has an interest in school reform. And, the big question: Who is writing the superintendent's newspaper column? ~ Brad Haugaard (brad_h@iname.com)

LOCKERS LATER ~ Whoops! Hold off on those lockers for Monrovia High. The board decided not to go out to bid on getting lockers installed until the State approves its budget. Board President Roger Graziani said with the energy crunch, he's afraid Gov. Davis will cut education funding, and the $143,000 the district is planning to spend for lockers may be more urgently needed elsewhere. So, lockers have been tabled until around August and it was a bit unclear if this will delay their installation.

MIXED ~ Speaking of lockers, Monrovia High Principal Albert Clegg said the school staff was surveyed about lockers and the results were "mixed." He said some thought the idea was okay, some didn't, and some didn't care. (Excuse me, are *they* the ones carrying backpacks full of books?) The students, on the other hand, generally thought lockers were a good idea.

BUDGET ~ The board approved a $40 million budget for the fiscal 2001-02 year. Actually, about $7 million of that is "restricted," which I think means the board is limited in how that money is spent, so it really has about $32.9 million it can spend any old way it wants. One interesting item: Business Director Linda Dempsey projects the district's unrestricted reserve fund will be at $963,972 for 2001-02, then dip to $317,579 in 2002-03, and then down to $199,909 in 2003-04. I'm sure projecting to 2004 is crystal-ball gazing, but still a bit concerning.

MONINA ~ A bit more detail on new board member Monina Diaz. The Star-News had an itty-bitty article that mentioned, as I said, that she was a public policy major at Princeton. But it added that her emphasis was in school reform. Hmm. Interesting. Diaz also said a few words about the graduations and stuff that she'd been to since the last meeting and I thought she expressed herself quite well. Finally, she mentoned that she was on the pep squad in high school and took calculus, so she's clearly smarter than I am. What? No, not because she was on the pep squad.

GHOST WRITER ~ I was flipping through the personnel report and discovered this little item: "Special Assignment Stipend to be paid to Anne Battle, Superintendent's newsletter and Monrovia Weekly column for the 2000-01 [should this be 2001-02?] school year. To be paid total of $3,000.00." Oh no! Say it ain't so! Does this mean Superintendent Louise Taylor's Monrovia Weekly column is ghost written? And what's this "Superintendent's newsletter" thing, anyway? Is that that self-congratulatory little Spotlight newsletter we just got?

CHEAP ~ Hey, I just had an idea! Maybe I should write Superintendent Taylor's newspaper column. I'll do it for half price! And I've got lots of good ideas she can say, like: We've decided to turn up the microphones at the board meetings so people can hear what we're talking about. We're going to put the titles of every staff member on their nameplates so people can tell who's who at the board meetings. We're going to find out what's wrong with Bradoaks School and fix it. We're going to report regularly on how many students are at what grade point average at each school and at each grade level.

MONTHLY PAY ~ I also noticed in the personnel report that board members get paid $240 a month for attending meetings; less if they don't attend all the meetings. Say roughly two meetings a month of about two-and-a-half hours each. That's $48 an hour. If board members are really doing their jobs, though, they go to lots of school events and stuff, so if you average that in, $48 is a pretty piddly little amount. At least I wouldn't fuss about it.

WHERE'S THE PAINT? ~ I got a note from a parent who, while thrilled that Monroe had air conditioning this year, is annoyed that the district didn't paint the school after remodeling. She says, "They really should have painted that school. It looks like urban blight over there on the older buildings. People notice these things. I think even the kids notice these things. Are these kids second class citizens because they're at Monroe? Would you remodel your house and not paint it? If you overrun your budget on plumbing or electrical, do you then not paint? Crazy."

HERE'S THE PAINT ~ Well, this is your day. The board tonight approved bids from contractors to paint the outsides of Monroe and Wild Rose elementary schools and Canyon Early Learning Center. Painting should start Monday. Biz Director Linda Dempsey said the district held off on the painting until school ended. Paint fumes, I guess.

COOL JOB ~ The board honored Personnel Commissioner Larry Gholar for five years of service to the district and to the classified employees, and outgoing student representative Abbey Gibb for her "exuberant, enthusiastic and uplifting service to the board." Board president Roger Graziani said Abby was the first student representative he'd known who thought the job was exciting. (Yeah, I'd say she was frequently the best part of the School Board Show.) Abbey said it was a "really cool job."

DIRECTOR ~ Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Joel Shawn introduced Carol Kaylor, who has been hired as Director of Special Projects, which include the English Language Learner and Gifted and Talented Education Programs. He said she has been a principal and that she is from "Paramount," by which I assume means the school district, not the studio.

NEXT BOARD MEETING ~ The next regular meeting is on July 11 at 5:30 p.m. at the administration office at 325 E. Huntington Drive. Notice it's not at 7:30 p.m., as it usually is, but at 5:30. I know, I know. You weren't planning to come anyway, but I'm emphasizing it because *I* reread this paragraph to remind myself about the meeting, so I want to make sure I get the time right.

Copyright (c) 2001, Brad Haugaard. Also on the Web at: monroviaschools.tripod.com