By Madeleine Sabin
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 7:03 PM PDT
You might have noticed orange signs everywhere around Marin County, much like the one above this story. So what exactly do they mean? They represent “STAND With Ross Valley Schools.” Ross Valley Schools include Brookside Elementary, Hidden Valley elementary, and Wade Thomas Elementary in San Anselmo, and Manor Elementary and White Hill Middle School in Fairfax. STAND is defined as:
“[A] grassroots community organization working to protect and promote the health of our well-performing, distinguished district schools. We share a strong desire to provide a robust social-emotional and academic program befitting all children in our district. STAND is encouraging parents to keep our schools and community strong by enrolling their children in district schools. STAND is also asking taxpayers to question the transference of public money from a well-run district to a charter that both our local and county school boards found to be financially risky and inadequately managed.” (standwithrossvalleyschools.com).
Ross Valley Charter was not always around, it essentially replaced MAP (Multi-Age Program), a program that mixed age groups and various demographics in a classroom.
In 2013, RVS Board conducted a legal review of all programs, including MAP, where they discovered, STAND says, “Additionally, the Manor principal identified inequities between the MAP and non-MAP student bodies, with disproportionately fewer English-language learners, special education, and socio-economically disadvantaged students in MAP.”
These inequities lead to the proposal of a charter school in place of MAP, that would eventually turn into Ross Valley Charter School. In 2017, RVC moved into a building at White Hill Middle School, essentially “sharing” the space of one school for two. This created a huge impact financially on RVSD. STAND stated, “Revenue loss is dependent on the number of in-district students that enroll in the charter. The funding loss associated with the 97 in-district students is just under $800,000.”
In education, $800,000 might as well be a billion dollars. Not only does this have a financial impact but, it is impacting the students and teachers. These are the circumstances when they moved into White Hill Middle School:
“As a result, our 800+ middle school students have been crowded into a space that was designed for 540 students. Flex space, staff rooms, special ed classrooms, and office space were lost. Some teachers no longer have dedicated classrooms and are relegated to roaming from classroom to classroom while teachers who share their classrooms have no place to grade papers and do prep work. Some specialists such as the speech therapist are working out of closets. Classes have been held in makeshift classrooms at the end of hallways as well as in portables with no windows. And White Hill students have no access to their library on Mondays nor their gym on Fridays.”
So why should Dominican students care? Many of us went to public school, and anyone who owns property or rents in Marin county is paying into property taxes which are being funneled into local public education. Do you really want your money to go towards a program that is forcing our teachers and children out of their classrooms?
For more information please visit: Standwithrossvalleyschools.com
Or to get involved, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org