Are you following the drama?
Did you attend the school board meeting waving your “John Kelly is a poo poo head” sign? Are you irate that there is talk of closing your fav elementary/middle/charter school? Well guess what, Sonoma Valley
Unified is just like America and if we don’t exit the drama pool, we are as screwed as the country is.
Maybe I should unpack that in case some of you haven’t had my classes or read any of these 239 blogs. As I start many days, especially last week when the Montgomery High ugliness was fresh, you have a choice each day to dive into and swim around in the giant drama pool of life or simply walk around it and move forward. OK, I used to call it the excrement pool (like Caddyshack but with many more Baby Ruth bars) but the grossness loses the message so I changed to the drama pool.
Now, I’m not belittling the choices we have to make in this district in the next couple of years, they are ugly and will require sacrifice, but we need to do them together with unity and transparency not hate.
EK and JK,
I am reiterating to anyone who will listen that we should remain unified and transparent about the changes coming to the district. Stories like John’s opinion create chaos and unnecessary frustration for adults and students (one of my students asked this morning why Woodland Star is closing).
Teaching is tough enough right now, I spent part of my morning in art class talking about the Montgomery High tragedy, and I know that there are very tough decisions to be made about next year but the result will be much better if we are unified in how those decisions are disseminated.
This is what I sent on the morning of March 2 (EK and JK are the current superintendent and the school board member mentioned above). I have a relationship with both of these people because their job is to make my job run smoothly and I believe they are both smart and committed to student success. And yes, I have some strong opinions about one of them but that doesn’t matter, what matters is, of course, the students.
It’s tough to live in Sonoma, we have two awesome new teachers at Creekside and they both have to commute in each day from Santa Rosa. Do the simple math and you realize the average house price in town is 790K while the average starting teacher salary is around 40k. A 30-year mortgage would be about 5k/month or 60k/year. Now, I’m no math genius but that doesn’t add up.
And thus, we have declining enrollment and a very strange economic situation where people like the Mattesons can amass 100 million in property and then just sit and watch as that 100 million turns into a Scrooge McDuck pile of gold. I’m not going to slam the wealthy too much because that’s how the system works but Bernie Sanders is right, it’s OK to be mad about capitalism.
But that doesn’t help save Dunbar because even if the Mattesons take all their property and turn them into low income housing Sonoma is still super expensive (staggering beauty does not come cheap, have you seen the field of yellow mustard on Arnold Drive?).
The answer, as always, is to play the long game which brings me back to where I started. I have some opinions, just like everybody else does, but I also believe that anything is possible when people work together. I mean, we just lived through three years of an unprecedented pandemic and we’re still here (most of us anyway), isn’t it time to pull together like we did after other big traumatic events, elect optimistic leaders with real plans for the future, dream and then make those dreams come true?
Nobody has all the answers and I applaud John Kelly for being the first to put forward his vision (A for participation, F for timing). Complain all you want but then face the reality of declining enrollment and come up with a solution of your own.
And remember, we will get through this, an equitable solution will materialize provided we take part in the process. Start here bit.ly/3SYlPAf
Then talk with people, especially the ones who see things differently than you do.