To follow up on something a fellow Coronado citizen noted in last week’s Eagle & Journal, “something is wrong with the Coronado School District;” observing school board meetings since re-opening to the public in May suggests the school board president has decided to impose methods of moderating trustee meetings to limit, rather than encourage, input and oversight from the community.
While school boards are elected by the people, the President is elected by the trustees. The sitting President apparently believes that he, and he alone, has both the authority and responsibility to set the rules, to decide how much to listen and who to listen to. Though the Aug. 19 meeting went well past midnight, still the parents stayed, patiently waiting for the chance to make their voices heard. Fast forward to Sept. 9. The protocol for the time the doors would open for the meeting was changed without notice. Parents with profound concerns about our schools, those who attend regularly, found themselves excluded and left outdoors on an 80-degree day listening to board proceedings on an exterior speaker as a political club spokesman who has never had any children in any Coronado Schools went on a rant against a group of parents who had the temerity to organize themselves and peaceably to assemble to petition the School Board for a redress of grievances. Rather than speak to the published agenda, issues impacting education, academics, and school policy, the trustees and the community were treated to an aversion-filled tirade disparaging the morals and motives of a vocal group of concerned parents.
What became immediately apparent was that those permitted entry, by appearances, were a partisan group of acolytes supporting their well-rehearsed spokesman who was curiously simpatico with one board member, her husband and mother; family members who apparently knew a secret squirrel code to be seated early prior to the meeting being opened were seated inside while parents of Coronado students waited outside for admission. The parents waiting outside were admitted only one-by-one because of some newly discovered ambiguous capacity restrictions and a presentation from students preceding the regular board proceedings.
President Pontes constant refrain is these are business meetings where only the board conducts business. Do the trustees genuinely embrace both the public interest and rights of taxpayers and parents in the business of the school district? If so, it seems not much in evidence. President Pontes has stated clearly he considers the Coronado community to be “demographically challenged.” As such he is the primary voice championing the embrace of racial and gender identities as the categorical standard for assessing “equity” in the Coronado Unified School District. No surprise that he would chuckle out loud with a board member’s husband championing No Place for Hate. No surprise that President Pontes then issued his decree, the time had come to end discussion of parent claims that racial and gender identity ideologies continue to be promoted in Coronado schools. In the only public forum appropriate for parents to seek redress of grievances from elected officials, the board he leads, “I don’t want to spend any more time on it.” While it remains clear to a great many parents and taxpayers that “something is wrong with the Coronado School District,” the Emperor has decreed otherwise. Emperor, those are lovely clothes indeed.