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Monrovia School Link ~ Number 32 ~ Oct. 10, 2001

There was a bit of excitement about the cancellation of a parent education class, but other than that, it was a pretty dull meeting. Did you know there are 16 flourescent light fixtures in the ceiling of the board of education meeting room? I know. I counted. And the seats and backs of the chairs in the room have a sort of leafy pattern. Oh! There is an election is coming up, though I'm not sure anybody knows.
~ Brad Haugaard (brad_h@iname.com)

CANCELLATION ~ A mother and the teacher of a parent education class that met at Plymouth School (I think) complained that the class was abruptly cancelled after the parents wrote a note complaining about the dirtiness of the area where they met. From the discussion it appears the reason for the cancellation was ostensibly safety, but the mother asked why, if it was unsafe, that other classes were allowed to continue using the area and just the parents class was not. The woman who taught the class said, "I have never been treated so rudely in my life." Board President Roger Graziani apologized for their experience and promised the staff would look into the problem.

WRESTLING ~ The Monrovia Police Officers Association chipped in $8,000 to help the wrestling program at Monrovia High School. Wow! That's a generous gift. Alex Laushkin, the student representative to the board, was pretty loud in his praise, saying it would get the wrestling program off to a great start. I should say so!

ELECTION ~ Okay, now I'm done talking about the board meeting - what there was of it - so now I'm going to talk about the election. What? You didn't know there was an election coming up? Yah, I'd almost forgotten it myself.

SUMMARY ~ Here's the election basics. According to the Star-News, Bruce Carter and Monina Diaz are seeking re-election, and are being challenged by Patrick Hauk, a teacher, and Calvin Murphy II, a senior consumer sales representative at Earthlink. Blatantly missing from the lineup is what I want: a hardnosed old codger of a business executive. Sigh. Well, I guess you play with the cards you're dealt.

HAUK ~ In his campaign, the paper says Hauk is focusing on test scores, school security, a bond issue for upgrading schools, and higher pay for teachers. He blames the board and administration for low student scores.

MURPHY ~ Murphy says he wants more support for fine arts, he wants lockers, he wants to moderate zero tolerance policies and (about the bond measure that was approved to fix schools) he says that the district should have never let the schools fall into disrepair in the first place. Also, he thinks the board should have someone representing south Monrovia.

DIAZ ~ The Star-News says Diaz, who was recently appointed to the board by the board, wants to raise expectations of student performance. And as a fairly recent Monrovia High grad, she said she has an inside perspective.

CARTER ~ Carter, an eight-year board member, wants to reduce class size in the upper grades and increase the number of Advanced Placement classes.

INSIDERS ~ Diaz cites her insider perspective as a strength, and I suppose Hauk thinks being a teacher is a big plus. I don't agree. There's enough of that already. I'd like to see some real non-education blood. But on the other hand, I completely agree with Hauk that the district is responsible for low student scores, and I appreciate his candor in saying so. And in Diaz' favor, she seems to be pretty smart. A bit young, but smart. She would not be my first (or second) choice of a board member to chuck out, but unfortunately my first choice isn't up for re-election this year.

COZY ~ I noticed in the Star-News article that Bruce Carter and Monina Diaz are "longtime acquaintances." After she graduated from high school, the paper said, she lived at the Carter's house for a couple months to watch their children before going to Princeton. Hauk criticized the board for "too much coziness," and I guess this is a pretty good example.

BEST ~ If you've read this newsletter for long, it may come as a surprise to hear me say that I think Bruce Carter is the best board member. Yes, despite his having given some pretty doofus spin-control excuses about rotten test scores, and despite his seeming to think that if *only* Sacramento would hand over more cash, all would be right with the world - sigh - I still think he is the best of the bunch. What I don't know is if Hauk or Murphy would be better. I've never met either of them.

CLOSER ~ All I know about Murphy is that he is in sales, which is not exactly what I meant when I said I wanted an old codger business executive, but maybe he's closer than anybody else. And he does seem to be something of an outsider. But the things he said (above) seem kind of commonplace. I'd have preferred to hear something strong about test scores.

INSIGHTS ~ If you have concluded that I am undecided, you are correct. But I have one more issue before the November election, so if you have any insights to help me and everybody else, please sent them to me. Maybe I can publish a few.

NEXT BOARD MEETING ~ The next regular meeting is on Oct. 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the administration office at 325 E. Huntington Drive.