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.

Related posts:

  1. School bond will be Proposition R on Nov. 6 ballot
  2. Prop. R failed, so what is next?
  3. Ramona Parents Coalition’s “Fact or Fiction” presentation tonight in library
  4. No confidence in RUSD
  5. District, teachers settle on two-year agreement

Short URL: http://www.ramonasentinel.com/?p=24448

Posted by Karen Brainard on Jun 11 2013. Filed under Commentary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

5 Comments for “What’s next, Ramona?”

  1. Smoke and Mirrors

    I think RTA’s chief negotiator, Grant McNiff, said it all recently:
    “This tentative agreement is by no means a cause for celebration.”
    “Your campaign to spread fear, deceive the public and slander Ramona teachers is reprehensible,” he said. “Your unwillingness to be honest and settle months ago would have saved tens, maybe thousands of dollars spent on attorney fees and strike adviser fees. Your desire to smear teachers and destroy our union has opened wounds that will take years to heal.”

    There is still an RTA lawsuit and this "agreement" will be voided and we will all be back to where we started. Unrealistic expectations on both sides and no one worried about the real issue … our grand kids and children!

    • RPC

      Dear Smoke and Mirrors. Both the RTA and RUSD have confirmed that there are no pending lawsuits. Under an additional agreement with PERB, all complaints, injunctions, legal filings, etc were disposed of with ratification of the Tentative Agreement. That ratification was made last week by the RTA membership the the School Board. You can visit our Facebook page for more information. – The Ramona Parents Coalition

  2. Jane Tanaka MD

    Yes, healing will take a long time.

    This is my last editorial/commentary.

    Do not wish to enable or support either side, agree or disagree with either side.

  3. Guest

    Are you people crazy? While the RTA fights to keep undeserved teacher entitlements and the district fails to recognize the fact that we have two to three unnecessary school sites (and the administrative costs to run them!), our kids continue to pay the price for the unbridled greed of the educational establishment. The fix is easy but nobody is willing to consider it. Remove tenure and get rid of unmotivated teachers, sell off unnecessary district assets, and eliminate redundant (and often unnecessary) administrative positions. IF this was a real business that couldn't beg for a taxpayer bailout, that is what would have to be done. It's about time those who claim to be in it for the kids started acting like they really are in it for the kids.

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