Letters to the Editor

Monty J. Thornburg: Unfair to the poor

To approve the Sierra Foothills Charter School in Mariposa would be unfair!

At the Mariposa County Unified School District board meeting Dec. 7, the board was effectively asked to discriminate against poor kids in one part of Mariposa County while favoring property taxpayers in another part of the county. The Catheys Valley Elementary school and the Coulterville Greeley Elementary schools were both closed last year due to austerity budget conditions.

A group of highly talented UC Merced employees have teamed up with the California State Charter School Association to change the closed elementary school in Catheys Valley into their proposed Sierra Foothills Charter School.

It became clear in the meeting that the group is effectively attempting to favor themselves with respect to their property values while assisting the UC with professional recruitment by creating a special elementary school. It was pointed out that this is unfair, and discriminates against students from the other closed school and a community that has far more poor students by percentage than does Catheys Valley.

It is unfair and unthinkable that UC officials would support such a move on the part of Sierra Foothills even if many of the advocates are employed at UC Merced. It is especially unthinkable that UC officials would support independent charter schools to the detriment of the public school districts in order to enhance their recruitment opportunities, as was advanced by several UC Sierra Foothills advocates at the board meeting.

I urge the MCUSD to reject the proposal because it is unfair, unjust and discriminatory toward Title I poor students living within the Mariposa County Unified School District.