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Music Committee, Graduations, Facilities news June 2019

June 12, 2019

June 12, 2019

This month’s notable items besides eighth grade promotions and high school gruduations were my resignation from a local music education advocacy group, and the future plans for the Spanish Dual Immersion Elementary program, currently housed at Wilson K-8 School.

My membership in the music committee (Music For Our Children – see their website by clicking here) was a factor in my originally deciding to run for the school board about a year ago (I was elected in November, about six months ago). My campaign platform contained three priorities (see my home page):

  1. Working to restore programs that were cut during the last economic downturn such as elementary bands, nurses and librarians;
  2. Examining and strengthening programs for all students, including those at the margins, so that we equitably serve all of our populations; and
  3. Work to increase public confidence in our schools, by reaching out to local groups, promoting open meetings and public discussion of the people’s business and building employee morale.

Notice that music education comes under the first priority, and I’ve been on the music committee since 2014, serving as newsletter and website editor and occasional all-around helper.

Here is the resignation letter I sent last week:

June 5, 2019, Fairfield CA

Dear Music For Our Children board members,

I have enjoyed working with you since 2014, when we first met to reorganize the group. I have many warm memories of events, activities, publications and contacts.

It’s time for me to resign, however, and I’d like to explain some of my thinking. I am realizing that at its core, MFOC’s primary purpose is to persuade the school board to make changes in support of music education. I am finding this incompatible with how I interpret my role as a school board member.

Maybe I should have realized this sooner. I always enjoyed publicizing school music events and promoting community awareness of the benefits of music education. I will look for other ways to continue doing these.

I find myself increasingly uncomfortable with the political side to MFOC’s activities, which involves strategizing with groups such as the teachers union. I have also been distressed to observe our method of engagement with the school district. I see good-faith efforts from them to cautiously reach out and include our perspective and values, but I don’t think our response has been in equal good faith. I shared much of this at our last meeting.

It looks like you are in good shape, though, and won’t be left short-handed. I’m attaching [to Joan] a page with the online accounts and passwords for the email, phone, website and newsletter. I’d be happy to meet with the person who takes this over and help transfer them.

With many hopes for school music programs,

Craig Wilson

(by mail to Joan, email to others)

I’ll soon be updating my biographical blurb on the district website (see it here) to reflect this. My wife remains active on the committee.

The next recent notable item was the informal decision of the board (yesterday) to direct the district to plan a future move (2021?)  of the Spanish Dual Immersion Elementary School program from the Wilson K-8 School site to the Sullivan School site.

Eventually this will be brought to a formal vote in a regular board meeting, with opportunity for community comments, but the tentative planning will start soon. This was at a special board meeting to review and update the Facilities Master Plan, which details needs and plans for all the schools in the district. (See the agenda documents here by choosing the June 11, 2019 meeting, click “view agenda” then click on the Study Session “School Facilities” item; at the bottom are three documents links. Let me know if you have a hard time accessing these.) We had to choose between moving it to either Sullivan campus or the H. Glenn Richardson campus, and the cost estimates, many millions, were approximately double for H. Glenn Richardson. That was a factor in our decision.

My inspiration this month came from attending the graduation, promotion or recognition ceremonies for students at eleven different events, ranging from 8th grade promotions (2) to senior recognitions (4, including the districtwide “Highest Honors” and the Baccalaureate at St. Stephen CME Church), to formal high school graduation ceremonies will all of the other board members (6). (See my calendar for more detail.)

This is an annual series but my first, and I wondered whether it would be boring. It wasn’t, and it was sometimes deeply moving. And it was a privilege to congratulate with a handshake many of the high school graduates. For a list, see these links from the Daily Republic. (if you’re not a subscriber, I recommend it; I subscribe, and there was a special printed section with all of these names.)

Lastly, here is a link to the summary of the last regular board meeting, May 23 2019. We recognized employees who will be retiring this year, new student board members and Superintendent’s Award Winners, and we heard reports on several items including changes to the elementary music program next year.

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