Readers comments: January 14, 2022
A thank you letter to the community
After reading the recent COURIER’s article on local businesses reacting to COVID, I decided to write a thank you letter to the Claremont community. My business, Inland Valley Music Together, will be closing down instead of continuing online learning. Our program has brought music and activities to families with young children for over 20 years and I’m grateful for all the support, fun, laughs and hugs from some wonderful small people (and their parents). A special thanks goes to the families I’ve been involved with and the kind folks at the Claremont United Church of Christ. I’m going to miss my teaching and all of you, but I hope to see you around, maybe dancing in the park, maybe singing in your cars. Thanks and keep on singing.
Former director of Inland Valley Music Together
CUSD school board needs more recognition from the COURIER
On December 17, the COURIER had an article about returning to in-person meetings by the city council, recognizing Jennifer Stark for the fine work she did as mayor, and reporting her comments and well-deserved standing ovation.
However, there was no such article when the school board returned to in-person meetings at the beginning of September with the hybrid option of allowing online participation via Zoom. There was also no recognition of Nancy Tresser-Osgood and the fine work she did as president of the school board. After Nancy’s standing ovation for her year of service, she shared that she had attended a little over 300 events, meetings, and interactions—a busy year in the life of President Tresser-Osgood.
This inequity in coverage by the COURIER of city council meetings compared to school board meetings, especially since the beginning of the school year last August, has been glaring. A COURIER reporter mentioned their attendance at city council meetings via Zoom and even shared an experience with difficulty hearing the second half of one meeting. Conversely, I have yet to read of a single action taken at a school board meeting or see any COURIER reporter in attendance via Zoom for at least the past half year.
Granted there has been an article on the coronavirus in almost every issue since August, but CUSD is more than COVID.
The COURIER has also provided wonderful profiles of Rahkiah Brown as the new principal at Sumner Danbury and Brittany Sornborger as the new student resource officer, excellent articles about individual schools’ activities, and ongoing sports coverage of school teams. Where the COURIER has dropped the ball (sports pun intended) is reporting on school board issues that affect families and residents districtwide.
The creation of school board trustee areas for upcoming elections is one of the most relevant districtwide/city issues and has not even been mentioned in the COURIER. The school board held public hearings in August, September, and December regarding the “composition of, and criteria for trustee areas prior to drawing of maps” without so much as a word in The COURIER. Yet when the city council was developing its election districts, there were multiple mentions of the process in 2019. The school board will be selecting a map at its January 19 meeting. Residents and stakeholders may still provide their input or submit their own area maps by January 10 at https://drawclaremontunified.org/.
The COURIER coverage on the sale of the La Puerta property is another item without information from the district or the sale’s impact on the school district. An October 7 article details some of the many adjustments Trumark has made as a result of public feedback and opposition from some nearby homeowners. However the benefits from the sale of this property, the educational facilities, programs and activities that will be funded be the sale were omitted. Information about the liability this property entails (both legal and financial) to the school district also were not included. Yet, the sale of La Puerta has been on school board meeting agendas for August, November, and December.
The district advisory committee on racial equity examined the school resource officer and made many recommendations to the school board at a special meeting on September 14 without any mention by the COURIER of the recommendations or presentation. Meanwhile, the COURIER has been thorough in its coverage of the city council’s discussion of the school resource officer.
Other agendized items such as student mental health, parent and family engagement, and CARES Act funding go unreported.
The most recent issue of the COURIER had yearly wrap-ups on a variety of citywide interests such as the city council but ignored what the District and school board have accomplished. The League of Women Voters has an observer at every school board and city council meeting. The LWV knows Claremont has two governmental bodies that have discussions and make decisions that affect all residents. It is appropriate for the COURIER to provide coverage of both bodies equitably.
President, CUSD Board of Education
Editor’s note: I agree the COURIER can always do more with coverage of important issues in Claremont. But we do not have unlimited resources, and each of our reporters has at least three areas of coverage as part of their beats. What Mr. Llanusa mentions would take another two full-time reporters. And even with the donations, we still are impacted by the serious local news challenges we have talked about for months. Not to mention the pandemic, that clearly is the most important topic for COURIER readers, especially the safety of our students. We do plan to broaden the range of coverage on school news and will do just that in 2022. —PW