In last week’s Eagle, Linda Smith’s letter to the Coronado Unified School District (CUSD) Board said, “Let respect be your guiding principle. Period. No labels, No bias. No political agendas.”
The truth is that the Superintendent and the Board can do this because, although they deny it in almost everything they tell the public, they do have local control. Although the California public schools system is under the policy direction of the Legislature, more local responsibility is legally granted to school districts officials than to other government entities and officials. Education Code is permissive, so as long as a statute does not prohibit a program or activity and it is consistent with the purposes for which school districts are established, it can be undertaken. In other words, it is constitutionally unnecessary to enact any statutes that merely allow or permit school districts, at their discretion, to do something.
Our CUSD leadership does not want this local control and would rather hide behind a greater power telling them what to do. You could see that in Board President Lee Pontes’ statement about joining (for free) a lawsuit aimed at getting local control over mask policy, “I was hoping to hear a path to gaining local control when it came to masking or no masking students in our schools. Although the petition included that, I felt it came with issues that made it too broad in scope.” Translated, I don’t want to end up having to make that decision. Then there was Superintendent Mueller’s spurious concern that refusing to adhere to Health Department regulations “may compromise state funding, district insurance coverage and our ability to have our students return to campus safely.” Translated, I don’t want to make that decision.
The County Public Health Department sends no such message of jeopardy. They will simply have a conversation with the district urging compliance. And, as we have been hearing since the Board meeting of May 20, the Board steadfastly hides behind “the law” when the law is only another permissive Education Code that the Board can interpret as they deem appropriate when it comes to such things as an “equity committee” and “no place for hate” programs, meaning that they could just do exactly what Linda Smith suggests. So, it is true that we elected a Board that hired a Superintendent that does not really have an appetite for local control at all but would rather interpret all things from the plenary authority with a political agenda as their lens. If you are as troubled a Coronado citizen as I am, go to the Board Meeting of August 19 and speak up. Educate yourself on the issues at https://wetheparentscoronado.org.