R.I.P. R. Roger Rowe School

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May 6, 2019
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What a shame. With the funding this school receives via property taxes and parent donations why weren't they able to sustain certificated math, literacy ,art, and science specialists, health and nutrition classes, and the school librarian? The new superintendent has stated the law doesn't require certificated specialists to teach each of these subjects. Is this the new bar? Scaling back the curriculum to be technically legal? There shouldn't be one public school in the entire state of California that offers a better curriculum. What is Rowe offering next year that is unique or extraordinary?
 

ptrubey

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What a shame. With the funding this school receives via property taxes and parent donations why weren't they able to sustain certificated math, literacy ,art, and science specialists, health and nutrition classes, and the school librarian? The new superintendent has stated the law doesn't require certificated specialists to teach each of these subjects. Is this the new bar? Scaling back the curriculum to be technically legal? There shouldn't be one public school in the entire state of California that offers a better curriculum. What is Rowe offering next year that is unique or extraordinary?
Have teachers been official laid off?
 
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Have teachers been official laid off?
Yes. They executed every single pink slip this morning. One science specialist was spared because she requested a hearing and the judge found in her favor. The entire culture of the school has been turned on its head. The overspending of approximately 10% over the past two years could have been rectified with a sharp pencil, an eraser, and any person with minimal creativity. Normal attrition and the tightening of expenses in other departments would have had a minimal impact on the teachers and the students. In the past two months, the board members new rally cry has been, "this isn't about the budget, this is a more efficient way to educate." My common sense says otherwise.
 

ptrubey

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Yes. They executed every single pink slip this morning. One science specialist was spared because she requested a hearing and the judge found in her favor. The entire culture of the school has been turned on its head. The overspending of approximately 10% over the past two years could have been rectified with a sharp pencil, an eraser, and any person with minimal creativity. Normal attrition and the tightening of expenses in other departments would have had a minimal impact on the teachers and the students. In the past two months, the board members new rally cry has been, "this isn't about the budget, this is a more efficient way to educate." My common sense says otherwise.
Wow, so something like 17 teachers?
 
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I believe the total tally was 16 teachers. I am sure some of the classroom teachers will be asked to return if current staff requests a leave of absence or maternity leave. It is the discontinuation of credentialed math, reading, literacy, science, and library teachers that will have the most devastating impact. The majority of these cuts were at the elementary level, so our littlest ones will suffer the most. One must ask, if the concept of public/private education can't work at Rowe (which currently receives almost double the funding per student than most other public schools) where can it work? Unfortunately, the entire community of Rancho Santa Fe will feel the implication of these decisions, as this will further devalue home ownership in a community that is already circling the drain.
 

ptrubey

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BTW, for those interested in learning more about this, there is a school board meeting tomorrow (Thursday) at 9am at the school in the performing arts center.
 

Vocal Resident

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May 9, 2019
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Interesting that the grandiose gym and all of the "over the top" facilities proposed not so long ago are insane given the current state of the school's finances. Since the cost to go to this school is so low compared to LJCDS or Bishops etc. why don't these parents with such demanding expectations just fork over the dough to make these things happen? The Foundation wanted to buy the garden club and had the cash on hand to do it; where are they in this furor? This is a public school in a district with one school. (ridiculous) And with all of the positions a district needs to administer an entire school district. It is absurd to have all of these positions for one school. The allocation of funds for projects at this school are completely nuts. If one considers that the average IQ of the parents in this school must be high then the kids should be bright as well. How hard it must be to teach bright kids and get impressive test scores. Too much is made of the facilities and credentials and not enough of fundamental involvement with one's own kids. Get a grip. The school is not going to make your kid successful.
 

Dentistrsf

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This school does not need a Superintendent and a principal , get rid of the superintendent and save $200+K a year. Waste of money!
 
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Interesting that the grandiose gym and all of the "over the top" facilities proposed not so long ago are insane given the current state of the school's finances. Since the cost to go to this school is so low compared to LJCDS or Bishops etc. why don't these parents with such demanding expectations just fork over the dough to make these things happen? The Foundation wanted to buy the garden club and had the cash on hand to do it; where are they in this furor? This is a public school in a district with one school. (ridiculous) And with all of the positions a district needs to administer an entire school district. It is absurd to have all of these positions for one school. The allocation of funds for projects at this school are completely nuts. If one considers that the average IQ of the parents in this school must be high then the kids should be bright as well. How hard it must be to teach bright kids and get impressive test scores. Too much is made of the facilities and credentials and not enough of fundamental involvement with one's own kids. Get a grip. The school is not going to make your kid successful.
@vocalresident
1. What is the current state of the school's finances?
2. How much does it cost to attend Roger Rowe compared to Bishops, and LJCDS, I assumed it was free?
3. The donations from the parents each year is approximately $1.1 million dollars, are you suggesting they "fork over" more money?
4. Many Foundation members are "in a furor" over these cuts, what leads you to believe they are not?
5. I didn't realize the collective IQ of parents with enrolled students in this school is "high". Can you please direct me to the case study or data with this information?
6. You don't believe a quality education is a key factor to success? If this responsibility rests solely on the parents, the community could save a lot of money and just turn the school into a playground that houses students each day from 8:00 to 3:00.
 
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Jeff Showalter

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Dear Phil,

I like how the main website will not accept articles from anyone who refuses to attach their name to it. Is there a way to apply this requirement to the message board? Maybe make all the profiles clickable with the user's real name shown on each respective profile page? This thread is a week old and we are already starting to go down the rabbit hole of rude behavior hiding behind the cloak of anonymity. Removing anonymity (if that's even possible) would go a long way toward responsible and productive discussion, especially in a community with 2 degrees of separation.

And to the people who are hiding behind unidentifiable pseudonyms, we're all adults, just use your names.
 

ptrubey

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Dear Phil,

I like how the main website will not accept articles from anyone who refuses to attach their name to it. Is there a way to apply this requirement to the message board? Maybe make all the profiles clickable with the user's real name shown on each respective profile page? This thread is a week old and we are already starting to go down the rabbit hole of rude behavior hiding behind the cloak of anonymity. Removing anonymity (if that's even possible) would go a long way toward responsible and productive discussion, especially in a community with 2 degrees of separation.

And to the people who are hiding behind unidentifiable pseudonyms, we're all adults, just use your names.
The intent of this discussion forum is to allow people to express their ideas and comments without fear of retribution. Fear or reprisals is a very real thing in this community. People worry that speaking out will affect their next remodel submission to the CDRC. They worry that a neighbor will hit them with a spurious complaint. They don't want to be given the evil eye the next Garden Club meeting they attend. I can't tell you the number of very interesting things we wanted to publish in the last year that we haven't been able to because people didn't want to attach their names to it.

Part of the problem is that the Post isn't staffed like a regular newspaper and we do not have enough journalists to research issues and write articles under their own byline. I personally will be devoting more time to this going forward, and I hope to be able to write some interesting researched articles in the future, but we shall see how successful I am.

About the rude behavior, what are you referring to? The stuff on this thread isn't what I would call rude. Direct, and challenging, yes, but not rude.
 

ptrubey

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Just to be clear, if any discussions on this forum do tip over into insulting behavior, it’ll be removed.
 

Jeff Showalter

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The intent of this discussion forum is to allow people to express their ideas and comments without fear of retribution. Fear or reprisals is a very real thing in this community. People worry that speaking out will affect their next remodel submission to the CDRC. They worry that a neighbor will hit them with a spurious complaint. They don't want to be given the evil eye the next Garden Club meeting they attend. I can't tell you the number of very interesting things we wanted to publish in the last year that we haven't been able to because people didn't want to attach their names to it.

Part of the problem is that the Post isn't staffed like a regular newspaper and we do not have enough journalists to research issues and write articles under their own byline. I personally will be devoting more time to this going forward, and I hope to be able to write some interesting researched articles in the future, but we shall see how successful I am.

About the rude behavior, what are you referring to? The stuff on this thread isn't what I would call rude. Direct, and challenging, yes, but not rude.
Yes, not an easy task to allow for free expression without opening the door to trollish behavior. Sad that people need to fear the CDRC or the scorn of their neighbors for voicing an opinion. It seemed to me that Vocal Resident and Student/Teacher Advocate were starting to head down the rabbit hole...the sarcasm is already present. The next step is insult. Then it snowballs out of control. But that's the way of today's internet culture, I guess.

Thanks for explaining and for all your effort. I hope we can all behave like mature adults.
 
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Yes, not an easy task to allow for free expression without opening the door to trollish behavior. Sad that people need to fear the CDRC or the scorn of their neighbors for voicing an opinion. It seemed to me that Vocal Resident and Student/Teacher Advocate were starting to head down the rabbit hole...the sarcasm is already present. The next step is insult. Then it snowballs out of control. But that's the way of today's internet culture, I guess.

Thanks for explaining and for all your effort. I hope we can all behave like mature adults.
The two things that tend to bring out the most heated conversations in people are either, (1) their children, or (2) their money. Unfortunately what is happening at the school will impact both for local residents. Whether you have a child attending the school or not, our community should be very concerned about the reputation and quality of school in their community. R. Roger Rowe School has always been a huge asset to property values within the Ranch. Dr. Rowe had a revolutionary philosophy of combining the best attributes of both private and public education. In doing so, he would often say, "We don't compare ourselves to to other schools, as we are in a class of its own."

These decisions go against the school's long standing traditions, and devalue and cheapen its brand. In turn, it will also devalue and cheapen the value of your property. I spoke to a local real estate agent today who has a client moving here from Orange County because of a job transfer. They had been looking at purchasing in the Covenant due to the outstanding reputation of Roger Rowe. When they caught word the school will be pairing back what made it unique and different from most public schools, they opted to purchase in Fairbanks Ranch instead, as they couldn't justify the the higher Covenant price tag. Be prepared for this to be the new norm. The choices and decisions being made at Rowe will continue to have a domino effect of exponential repercussions for years to come. Those who are paying attention and have the facts are rightfully frustrated with those who do not.
 
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ptrubey

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I just wrote an article on the main site about Roger Rowe after I talked to a school board trustee. I fully understand that people need to complain about what they think are incorrect decisions. But there is a very real danger that new prospective Roger Rowe parents will see nothing but negative reporting and complaints and come away with the feeling that Rowe is a bad school which will result in even less enrollment. And Rowe simply is not a bad school. It's still a very good school.

https://rsfpost.com/2019/05/17/roger-rowe-digging-into-the-numbers/
 
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I just wrote an article on the main site about Roger Rowe after I talked to a school board trustee. I fully understand that people need to complain about what they think are incorrect decisions. But there is a very real danger that new prospective Roger Rowe parents will see nothing but negative reporting and complaints and come away with the feeling that Rowe is a bad school which will result in even less enrollment. And Rowe simply is not a bad school. It's still a very good school.

https://rsfpost.com/2019/05/17/roger-rowe-digging-into-the-numbers/
There is a reason you are receiving so many articles and letters regarding the situation at Rowe. Don't you think everyone has had the exact same conversation(s) with board trustee members as you have? I appreciate you taking 15 minutes of your time to do your due diligence, but I can assure you, you do not have all the facts. The community members contributing op-ed's to The Post are highly educated and informed citizens. They have taken hours upon hours of their personal time to research and study the claims being made by the school board trustees. Many have attended board meetings, studied school budgets, teacher/admin. salaries, and all of the stats and data the board has provided to the public. What you are seeing is outrage stemming from less than honest and accurate information being presented, as well as the school board choosing to only divulge facts and figures to further the narrative of a school in financial crisis and peril with rapidly declining test scores.

I can assure you nobody cares more about the reputation and the livelihood of Roger Rowe than the parents who have been writing into your website. For every letter you receive, there are many more who share the same thoughts and frustration, but are intimidated to do so freely because of pushback and censorship. Anyone who has challenged the narrative or asked too many questions is marked by the board as an unruly descendent who seeks to create discord. One must accept what they are being told as gospel and move along. Thankfully there are people in the community who have taken the time to fact check, cross reference, and actually research what they are being told by their elected officials. There are numerous flaws and inaccurate statements in your recent article. I realize you are merely repeating what you have been told by a school trustee, but it is not factual. It is the lack of honesty and transparency that is the ongoing debacle here.
One of several examples; declining enrollment has no bearing on how Rowe receives its funding. Whether the school enrolls 500 students or 800 students, the funding for the most part stays the same. We are one of only a handful of public schools in California referred to as a "Basic Aid" or "Excess Tax" school district. If one does not understand how we obtain our revenue, one cannot add constructive opinion on how to ensure future financial stability. It is the property taxes and property taxes alone that fund about 85% of the school's revenue. The school receives approximately 40% of our property taxes, regardless of enrollment numbers. The parent donations make up an additional 10% of the total funding. Parent donations are graciously given to ensure special programs (library, dance, health/nutrition) and employing teachers with advanced credential degrees. These "part time teachers" whom you are referring to, all have advanced credentials, and now their positions have been eliminated.

I recommend contacting any number of people who have expressed concern for the future of the school and dig deeper into why there seems to be such a divide among so many stakeholders who all value fiscal responsibility. Last year the school received a record breaking $12,000,000 in funding. They also had the lowest enrollment since the beginning of the century at 615 students. What does this tell you?

Just because a school board "trustee" provided you certain figures and a believable story/explanation, doesn't make it true. Unfortunately, those who have taken the time to fact check, peel the onion, and opt for cuts that don’t impact students, are being unfairly accused of being troublemakers, overly emotional, and negative. I can assure you that is not the case.
 
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