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Letter: Use school bond money for academics, not athletics

Posted on September 9, 2017 by Sonoma Valley Sun
Dear School Board — I am a resident of the City of Sonoma and I am writing to provide my opinion regarding the allocation of funds from the Measure E bond initiative.  I strongly oppose the use of the funds for the planned athletic fields at Sonoma Valley High School and Altimira Middleschool.  The reason is simple:  the public schools in Sonoma are not fulfilling their main mission, which is providing a quality education.  The website www.school-ratings.com provides the public with an objective assessment of how well public schools are performing with respect to educating their students.  As I hope you are aware, the academic performance of students enrolled in Sonoma public schools is terrible.
On a scoring system of 1 to 10, with “1” being the worst level of performance, Sonoma public schools have the following ratings (based on API score):
Prestwood Elementary:  5
Adele Harrison Middle School:  4
Sonoma Valley High School:  3
Altimira Middle School:  2
Flowery Elementary:  1
Sassarini Elementary:  1
For comparison, both public high schools in Petaluma are rated “8”.  The performance of Sonoma’s public schools is a disgrace.  Instead of spending money on athletic fields, the School Board should be diverting funds from athletic programs into improving the educational resources of our failing schools.  It is absurd to contemplate that any amount of the Measure E funds would be spent on anything but addressing the urgent crisis posed by our failing schools.
I urge you to reorient your plans and your mission as a school board towards the objective of improving the ratings of all Sonoma public schools to “8”.  After that is achieved, I will happily support investment in athletic fields.
Respectfully,
Kent Iverson, Sonoma


One thought on “Letter: Use school bond money for academics, not athletics

  1. The academic performance of the Valley’s schools is abominable. While the former superintendent was much beloved, the academic track record over her tenure was not great. In her defense, no one knows for sure what restraints she labored under, as the Board of Trustees has not seemed particularly world-class, curious or concerned about school performance; but it is hard to believe that one new aggressively inquisitive Trustee was the only reason she resigned.
    Regardless, barring dramatic improvement in measurable and verifiable academic performance soon, Measure E is likely the last successful bond measure SVUSD will get from the voters, particularly in light of the district’s bait-and-switch use of the money for swimming pools and football stadiums instead of facilities benefiting academics. If they aren’t going to spend the money on academic facilities, then Trustees would be better off figuring out how they might spend Measure E money to buy more school buses to take kids to better nearby districts where they can actually learn something.

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