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Morgan Hill
May 24, 2024

Editorial: MH district, trustees and charters fumbled chance

The Morgan Hill Unified School District Board of Trustees’ decision to withdraw a parcel tax proposal for the November ballot rather than share a piece of the pie with two local charter schools revealed much about the long-seething relationship between the district and the charter schools.Cutting through the political gamesmanship, where cordial public greetings and interactions mask true sentiments, it is safe to say the school district and charter school officials genuinely distrust one another. It doesn’t take any inside information to draw that conclusion.At a June 19 meeting, where a 5-1 vote reversed an earlier decision and prevented a $1.5 million-per-year parcel  tax from going before voters, Board President Tom Arnett said “irreconcilable differences” keep the district and charter brass from agreeing on just about anything.Unfortunately, Arnett, who sits on the board until the end of the month but whose children were in the charter school pipeline until recently, was correct in his assessment. Using a parcel tax proposal to repair years of bad blood was a pipe dream of some well-intended trustees.All sides—the school district, Charter School of Morgan Hill and Voices College-bound Language Academy—are to blame in this one, and they all miss out on valuable funds that could have helped better educate students, improve facilities and limit looming budget cuts to staff and programs.The MHUSD trustees also should be included in the blame since the decision was ultimately theirs to make. Board Vice President Mary Patterson, one of three trustees to change her vote from one meeting to the next, spoke to this, admirably falling on the sword by blaming herself and the entire school board for failing to procure a final parcel tax resolution for the Nov. 6 ballot.But from the district’s “I’m taking my ball and going home” approach to both charter schools’ laissez-faire, noncommittal maneuvering in the days that followed the initial May 15 vote (later overturned), the $75 five-year parcel tax measure never stood a chance. Whether it would have passed, with or without charter inclusion, will never be known.Board members and officials left the door open for developing a future shared parcel tax measure, but it remains a longshot at best considering the parties involved. A memorandum of understanding is necessary, as Assistant Superintendent Kirsten Perez said, before any tax revenues can be adequately shared and allocated. That seems unlikely considering that the district and Charter School of Morgan Hill (the district is the local charter’s authorizer) have yet to come to terms on an MOU based on their five-year pact.This, along with the mutually distrustful relationship between MHUSD and Voices, shows that because of “irreconcilable differences” between the district and charter schools, they should develop their own separate parcel tax proposals. That is where the district was headed in May, and represents a good “new” starting point.

Editorial: Voters still turn away

Nearly 29,000 San Benito County adults were registered to vote in the June 5 primary. In neighboring Santa Clara County, the number of registered voters was a record, approaching 850,000. The “turnout”—the percentage of registered voters that actually cast ballots—was considered above average for a “primary in a non-presidential election year.” Regardless of the counties’ size, the turnout was about the same in both: 42 percent.

Editorial: Rivas for Assembly

Five candidates are running for California Assembly District 30, and two have emerged as serious contenders to represent the region’s half million residents. The district includes south Santa Clara County and San Benito County and is currently represented by Anna Caballero, who is running for state senate.

Editorial: Re-elect Sheriff Laurie Smith to sixth term

In two decades as the county’s sheriff, Laurie Smith’s legacy includes both accomplishments and mistakes, and as she runs for a sixth four-year term, her challengers have sought to direct attention to the latter.

Police should stop carotid restraints

Two months after the death of Steven Juarez while in the custody of Gilroy police, the investigation of the exact cause of his death continues. While the police and the district attorney’s office are investigating whether police were responsible, they have said little about the “non-lethal” methods used by police to restrain the 42-year-old Gilroyan.

CA personal tax rates rank low

One prevailing stereotype of Californians—shared by state residents as well as red-state politicians and the Trump Administration—is that we pay higher taxes than anyone else in the country.

Newsprint duties could hurt small newspapers

The printing press remains the symbol—despite the arrival of online news—of the Fourth Estate, of “Freedom of the Press.” That’s why for centuries one of the first acts of authoritarian rulers was to smash the printing presses of the opposition.

Run, hide, defend…

Sadly, events in distant cities mean that our students and teachers have had to add another set of tools for school safety that we all hope they never have to use.

California has key role in agriculture issues

Sonny Perdue is a veterinarian, and a former governor of Georgia. He also is the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. He spent one day in the nation’s biggest agricultural state last week—California—presumably to show that the Trump Administration cares about and understands our state’s critical role in the U.S farm economy.

Editorial: Businesses are in middle of potential ICE squeeze

The stories began flying last week: Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents would raid businesses across California and deport undocumented workers.

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