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School Board Meeting

The meeting convened promptly at 7:00 p.m. as the two new trustees, Cheryl Schrader and Martha Bradford, vowed not to overthrow either the state or federal governments. All five trustees and Superintendent Jim Johnson then disappeared down the grim, unadornded hall of the high school for a brief executive session. There were no announcements out of the closed eight-minute conclave.

The consent agenda contained nothing of interest other than a pair of contradictory board policy statements on AIDS, one saying it would be district policy to exclude a child stricken with the disease, the other maintaining that there is no danger to children from AIDS victims. The trustees seemed inclined not to exclude an afflicted child, but their final decision will not be known until the next meeting when the policies are read the second time and then one or the other adopted. It can be assumed that school authorities have already taken steps to discourage unprotected sex on both campuses. 

Indicative of the district’s concern for the health of its revenue generators, “the kids,” is a sign the high school has posted on one wall of the library depicting an elderly gentleman with a cigarette dangling from his mouth above “Smoking Is Very Sophisticated.” The poster seems aimed at inspiring contempt for an old man with a lived-in face who would seem more than entitled to whatever minor vice he indulges in. 

There was a description by the Superintendent of something called a Joint Powers Agreement which would be drawn up between Covelo and Anderson Valley. At first mention, it occurred to more than one person in the audience that perhaps Anderson Valley was teaming up with Covelo for an attack on Potter Valley or Laytonville. As it developed, Covelo schools are sitting on a surplus of funds which they are magnanimously prepared to share with us at rates of interest well below those extorted by the banks. The trustees voted unanimously to endorse the joint powers agreement.

Superintendent Johnson then extracted permission from his trustees to put up for bid several pieces of surplus machinery lying around the shops. He said that no one is sure who owns the stuff. Johnson also had words of praise for the revitalized auto shop classes that he said may expand to offer adult and student training in diesel mechanics.

Since the Lions Club of Anderson Valley has decided not to provide insurance coverage for the Junior Panther Basketball Program, the Veteran’s are being approached to insure the popular youth activity. If insurance coverage is not forthcoming from one or another service club, Johnson suggested to the board that the Junior Panthers might become purely a school function. Keith and Debbie Squires were announced as this year’s directors of the wildly popular basketball sessions for the small fry.

The meeting moved right along with a minimum of the aimless chatter characteristic of the Phil Wobbling Eagle Crawford years. The present board and administration is exactly the reverse of the babblers who dominated the board a year or two ago and sent parents reeling from school meetings either depressed or enraged.

School secretary, Vicki Czapky, prepared a brief, understandable report on the state of the budget. Her handout vastly simplifies and clarifies what is always a period of general befuddlement as everyone present struggles to make sense of what seem, to the uninitiated, random numbers. In these times, demonstrations of competence are so rare, Czapky should probably be awarded a commendation of some kind for her work.

The Superintendent revealed he had met with a committee of local persons to discuss disaster preparedness. He reported that Wes Smoot of CalTrans was especially helpful in making suggestions as to how best to shelter school children from a variety of catastrophes. Johnson mentioned in passing that CalTrans had assured him that transportation of dangerous chemicals occurs only in the midnight hours so as not to endanger children traveling back and forth to school along 128. What chemicals and who moves them through the Valley was not mentioned.

The Superintendent said our district cannot expect money to restore buildings. Many other schools have priority for plant refurbishing. Priority is determined by the age of the facility. Our buildings are relatively young.

Linda Brennan was awarded the mentor teacher position at the elementary school. Trustee Altaras asked how the mentor teacher’s program was being monitored. Elementary School principal Thomas responded that former Superintendent, W. Eagle, had monitored the program according to standards he had devised but had not shared with anyone else. Thomas said he would monitor his mentor teacher and that he assumed high school principal Brian Buckley would monitor his and report back to the board.

As per long custom, there was no discussion of education. The meeting was over by 8:30. The next one is scheduled for Tuesday, the 14th of January, 1986, in the high school library beginning at 7:00 p.m.

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