Implementation of new rules for CUSD board meetings is being done to discourage parent and community input regarding Coronado Schools. New rules include: public comment on non-agenda items will be moved to the end of meetings; comments that were formerly offered at the beginning. Meetings often extend late into the evening, thus purposefully discouraging those with families. Yellow cards will no longer be used and speakers must now stand in line behind the podium. There will be no yielding of time to others and public comment on agenda items and non-agenda items will be limited to 20 minutes total. To make a cogent argument about complex issues in 3 minutes is nearly impossible. The caveat, “time may be extended at the discretion of the Board President,” is not reassuring. President Pontes has grumbled for months at board meetings about the number of people and time taken in meetings for public comments; disagreement, it appears, is now considered an annoyance.
Two key elements of the Brown Act have not changed since its passage. First, the intent section states: ‘In enacting this chapter, the Legislature finds and declares that the public commissions, boards and councils and the other public agencies in this State exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business...” Second: “The people of this State do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them.” The board ignores both these elements at their peril.
In response to the National School Board Association’s (NSBA) ill-advised and threatening letter to President Biden over a month ago, We The Parents Coronado, a group of concerned parents, grandparents and community members circulated a petition requesting CUSD Trustees clearly reaffirm the Coronado community’s free speech rights, without fear of retribution, in a public Resolution. Both the petition and the draft Resolution are posted. If you’ve not read and signed this petition, we urge you to do so at www.wetheparentscoronado.org. It is a contradiction in terms to assert school boards cannot do the people’s business until procedures are changed to silence the people. The Trustee’s business is our children’s education. We will not be silenced.