In 2016 three-decade school board incumbent Jan Vickers told voters her vast knowledge of local school “history and facts” will ensure “continuity” in school policy.
Before the 2016 election Vickers stridently defended $2.2 million “urgent need” spending for new Community Learning Center classrooms at Top of the World campus. But instead of “continuity”, less than a year after justifying funding for new facilities meeting CLC needs Vickers voted with the board to terminate CLC altogether.
It was board member Dee Perry who supported continuity by proposing a one or two semester transition for CLC students and families. But Vickers joined board member Ketta Brown’s call for immediate transfer of CLC students to be educated “like the rest of the students” in local schools.
Vickers is a former CLC teacher, but instead of knowing CLC “history and facts” she suddenly played dumb. Vickers essentially pleaded the fifth on staff reports alleging CLC academic under-performance and state education code violations.
Before the 2016 election it was known, but not disclosed that the board’s lack of agility adapting to declining enrollment resulted in over-staffing and unjustified costs estimated at $1 million annually. Board member Peggy Wolff advocated for CLC termination without any transition as a teacher salary cost-saving measure.
Yet, Wolff voted to fund two-thirds of a School Power/LBUSD joint program to hire high paid “social workers” at an annual cost over $250,000. Now we are stuck with a highly questionable public relations stunt to restore School Power’s fundraising brand and “Public Schools Like Private Schools” image, tarnished by negative socialization implicating race and gender privilege erupting at LBHS in 2016.
False insinuations aside, CLC is not coming back, at least not in a form recognizable to 40 families being involuntarily transferred out of CLC. Yet, the board is going ahead with permanent replacement of portable CLC buildings outside the overall design parameters of TOW’s campus.
New construction includes a music room, reportedly at the behest of an influential School Power donor who decided TOW’s wonderful multi-purpose room is inadequate. New construction – exempted from community open space and development rules – will encroach permanently on original open space and playground areas at our beautiful TOW campus.
If not used as originally justified by CLC needs, the board should consult the whole community not just School Power donors on its inadequately vetted random plans to re-design TOW’s campus.
Howard Hills, Laguna Beach