How to slip something past the public?
Many members of the public left disappointed and irritated after last Thursday's meeting about the Middle School Bondoggle at Creekside. But at least they could look forward to the San Juan Unified School District's next meeting on June 16th. Now, it turns out, the school district staff has found a way to make anything the public says even more irrelevant to the school district's intent to do whatever it wants to do. Lo and behold, the architectural program and site design for the new campus is a done deal that will be rolled out at the district's Facilities Committee meeting - on election night while the polls are still open and far away (8 miles) from the impacted community.
The public is just beginning to learn about the school district's proposed new campus. The school district's Chief Operations Officer told the public at the June 2nd meeting that they could have a look-see at the architectural concept on June 16th community meeting at Howe Park. He led them to believe they would have a chance to weigh in on the project at the meeting at the Creekside Surplus School site on June 16th and that they would have other opportunities beyond that time. What he did not tell them was that he already HAD the plans, which were mailed out on June 3rd as part of the Facilities Committee's agenda for its meeting on June 7th. That's not transparency, it's dishonesty. That kind of deceptive behavior by a government entity just adds fuel to the fire of public distrust of government.
Nevertheless, as a public service we want our readers to know that the San Juan Unified School District will hold its next Facilities Committee meeting at Del Campo High School, 4925 Dewey Drive (between Winding Way and Madison) at 6:30 pm on June 7th. The proposed design for the 674-student campus is item III. 5. on the agenda. Discussion of that item is scheduled to be completed by 7:30pm. It would be better for the committee to not even discuss it then.
The responsible and transparent thing to do is to not spend taxpayer money on the design until AFTER a sincere and thorough assessment of alternatives has informed the policy decision for a new campus and AFTER the constraints of the proposed locations have been evaluated. The school district is instead blazing ahead with a solution that has not been subjected to factual analysis and not been vetted by the public. It is premature for the agenda item about the Creekside Middle School Boondoggle to be considered by the Facilities Committee on June 7th. Should it be postponed? What do you think?