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Sunday, July 14, 2013

School Board Does End Run Around Community Comments at Special Meeting Monday @ 6pm

Last Minute Cynical Ploy By School District

The Emery School Board has called a special meeting for Monday to adopt the contested 'Mitigated Negative Declaration' document in their final push to move the Center of "Community" Life project past the objections of Emeryville citizens.  The plan is to "discuss" comments about neighborhood and environmental impacts they recently received from 27 concerned citizens and then vote to approve the project in one short meeting.

The School Board has announced they will discuss the 18 pages of comments, some highly technical, for one hour and then they'll vote up or down, to disregard the citizens and approve the whole project, impacts or not.
School Board President
Melodi Dice

Called for the meeting allowing
one hour to consider 18 pages
of community comments before
she even saw the comments.

School District architect and project manager for the Center of "Community" Life, Roy Miller told the City/Schools Committee Thursday that the project is running up against "hard deadlines" and there can be no delays at this point, it should be noted.

Citizens should attend the meeting and join with the 27 neighbors written comments about this high impact project for Emeryville and the surrounding community.  The California Environmental Quality Act law provides that oral testimony must also be considered and Monday's meeting appears to be the last chance.

Unlike the regularly-scheduled Wednesday evening School Board meetings, the School District has historically not video-taped or broadcast special meetings, such as this Monday's, opting instead to provide the lowest amount of transparency legally permitted. Accordingly, it can be conjectured Emery likely has no  plans on recording this meeting, thereby adding another layer of secrecy to this project.

What's especially disturbing about all this is the fact that the School District received the 18 pages of comments from the citizens at around 4:30 PM on Thursday and by the next morning, Friday, they had already released the agenda for the special meeting.  The District had already decided to schedule an adoption of the Mitigated Neg Dec before they could even read what Emeryville residents had to say about the project.  This is what passes for "transparent" and "citizen engagement" of a "community" project by Emery Unified School District.  This is how they show their respect for people who will pay for this ill-conceived project.

It's obvious this School Board has made up their minds without even looking at the community's comments and even though the School District has stacked the deck against the concerns of ordinary citizens, people should not be dissuaded from acting as an agent for change for their community. Ordinary citizens can show their courage by confronting this highly cynical School District and giving testimony and providing witness to the real community.

Special Meeting
Monday, July 15
6:00 pm
Ralph Hawley School
1275 61st Street  Emeryville 

1 comment:

  1. Kevin ChrisotpherJuly 15, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    “The future of our state can’t be left up
    to our schools alone – we all have a role
    to play here: Local school districts need
    strong partnerships with their families
    and communities to plan for the facility
    improvements that will give the most
    benefits to students; they also need
    to strengthen their partnerships with
    other local agencies, including cities
    and counties…And work with them to
    invest in communities that need a boost,
    to maximize joint use partnerships, to
    make sure schools are surrounded by
    safe, healthy communities that promote
    student success.”
    -Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of
    Public Instruction

    Partnering with K-12 Education in Building Healthy, Sustainable, and Competitive Regions: A California Policy Symposium