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A Press Democrat Blog

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Daily education news and conversation

Santa Rosa carrying strong reserve without tapping special funds

Remember the Santa Rosa School Board debate last March over whether to move into play funds set aside for future retiree benefits so the district could maintain its positive financial position with the Sonoma County Office of Education? After much debate, the board voted 4-2 to count those funds toward the district’s reserve figures, but not necessarily actually spend them. There was much philosophical debate that night over the financial integrity of a such a move, with one board member, Wally… Read More »

UPDATED: Pugh: This election had me worried

UPDATE: As of 12:52 a.m. and with 119 out of 155 precincts reporting, Bill Carle had 26.8 of the vote, Frank Pugh had 25.1 percent, Ron Kristof had 19.8 percent, Wally Lowry had 17.7 percent and Gilbert Hawkins had 10.4 percent _____________________ Longtime school board member Frank Pugh said this race made him more anxious than any other. And as a 20-year school board vet, that is saying something. “This election worried me more than any election I’ve ever had,”… Read More »

SR teachers to rally for candidates tomorrow

With election day next Tuesday and the first competitive race in six years, the Santa Rosa teachers union is planning to greet students and their parents at the driveways and sidewalks of Santa Rosa City Schools campuses Wednesday morning with signs supporting their slate of candidates for the school board. The union has backed incumbents Bill Carle and Frank Pugh, as well as retired teacher and political newcomer Ron Kristof. “Given the hard decisions that will have to be made… Read More »

Steele Lane named arts focus school

Steele Lane Elementary School in Santa Rosa has been named the 2010-11 Adopt-A-School campus in a partnership between the Arts Council of Sonoma County and the Steele Lane School Enrichment Foundation. The program was launched today with a performance from students and a lineup of local leaders, including Sonoma County schools chief Carl Wong, Santa Rosa City Schools Superintendent Sharon Liddell, Santa Rosa City Schools trustee Wally Lowry and leaders from the local arts community. The Adopt-A-School program was established… Read More »

Want to run for school board? You’d better move fast…

The race is on. Four candidates are expected to have qualified by the end of day Wednesday for three open seats on the Santa Rosa School Board. Incumbents Wally Lowry and Frank Pugh qualified on July 21 and July 12 respectively and retired social science teacher Ron Kristof qualified on July 26, according to the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters. The third incumbent, Bill Carle, was set to turn his papers in and qualify on Wednesday. “I’m in,” he said.… Read More »

SR School Board: More cuts are coming

The Santa Rosa School Board finalized $5.6 million in cuts to next school year’s $88 million budget but members warned that the entire list of line item cuts will be revisited – in as early as May when the state revised budget is released. “I’m open to more cuts at the district office, as painful as it is,” said trustee Tad Wakefield. “Counselors, librarians, elementary prep periods – all of those will be revisited.” Board member Wally Lowry said class… Read More »

Letter writer calls out 40-student class comments

A letter writer in today’s Press Democrat takes issue with Santa Rosa City School Board member Wally Lowry’s statements regarding class sizes. After a Town Hall meeting Monday night, Lowry reiterated his desire to go after big-cost items as the district struggles to chop $5.6 million from its approximately $88.2 million budget. Increasing class sizes in grades 4-12 (he is not as supportive of touching K-3 teacher/student ratios) would be a big step in that direction, he said. “I’m a… Read More »