What’s next, Ramona?
By Dr. Jane Tanaka
“Applause!” was the response of M. Workman to Maureen Robertson’s online article announcing the Ramona Teachers Association and school board’s tentative agreement, after haggling all day and night at the PERB (Public Employment Relations Board) meeting in Los Angeles.
Shelley Yerkes said in an email, “They are all heroes,“ referring to the exhausted RTA and board negotiators who refused to return to Ramona without having made an aggreement. Hopefully it will be ratified and will stay in effect through June of 2014.
Amy Barraclough commented, “The Ramona Parents Coalition should be Ramona Citizens of the Year.”
But what’s next, Ramona?
As Dave Patterson, who previously spoke against Prop. R, mentioned at the Ramona Parents Coalition meeting, the district and the Ramona community needs to look past three years. The certificate of participation (COP) loan payments will be millions of dollars a year by then, up to $3 million a year, if the loan is not refinanced. Bob Stoody, school board president plans to make sure that loan refinance happens in 2017.
But we still most likely will need to pass a bond measure, to keep our school district solvent, many now say. Will Ramona Parents Coalition continue the research on a possible bond measure, and perhaps lead a grassroots campaign? Will Dave Patterson campaign for or against a bond measure now?
Will the public support time, energy, materials, money to assist groups like the local PTAs and the Friends of Ramona Unified Schools (FORUS), on the deferred health/safety projects at the schools?
Will the Parks and Recreation subcomittee of the Ramona Community Planning Group use some of the $600K they have this year to help build a new swimming pool/aquatic center at Ramona High School, and a skate park through Arriba Teen Center? Will RUSD be able to sell properties such as the sacred fairy shrimp floodplains near RHS/OPMS?
Will the planning group and county allow more development in Ramona so that this can happen? How quickly will the housing shortage/bidding wars down the hill ($900K for a two-bedroom house in Rancho Sante Fe!) benefit Ramona, and when will the student populaton of RUSD grow?
Will tenacious, unfailing RTA President Donna Braye-Romero recover from feeling “politely butchered with a dull knife” from the last 18 months of school district strife and public scrutiny? Will Dr. Graeff turn down the next step and column pay increase next year, in addition to paying back $986/month for health benefits to the district?
The passionate, outspoken voices of opposing sides in the community hopefully will not die back down to apathetic silence too quickly.
The often misundersood board member Dr. John Rajcic, I’m told, believes in conflict being a necessary thing, that eventually good comes out of it. It’s a hard way of solving community problems — cooperation and kumbaya would have been easier — but maybe for Ramona, it’s necessary.
Dr. Jane Tanaka is a Ramona resident.
- School bond will be Proposition R on Nov. 6 ballot
- Prop. R failed, so what is next?
- Ramona Parents Coalition’s “Fact or Fiction” presentation tonight in library
- No confidence in RUSD
- District, teachers settle on two-year agreement
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