Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Mary Jane Burke inserts herself in the Dixie Debate again

Marin superintendent prods Dixie board to move past turmoil

San Rafael police continue probe into trustee hate letter

By KERI BRENNER | kbrenner@marinij.com | Marin Independent Journal
PUBLISHED: April 1, 2019 at 5:15 pm | UPDATED: April 2, 2019 at 6:20 am

If the date Aug. 22, 2019, wasn’t emblazoned before in the minds of Dixie School District’s board of trustees, it is now, after Monday’s intense board workshop led by Marin County Superintendent of Schools Mary Jane Burke.

That is the first day of school for 2019-20 school year, by which time the board, traumatized in recent days by staff losses and continued community uproar over the district name change issue, needs to regroup and build more trust, stability and optimism, Burke said. She handed out cards with the date printed on them to the trustees and the audience at a special meeting in north San Rafael.

Keri Brenner

Mary Jane Burke, Marin County Superintendent of Schools.

12:57 PM - Apr 1, 2019 · San Rafael, CA
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“It is now an unsettled situation,” Burke said. “More than ever, it’s important that the board be in alignment. It’s not necessary that you all agree on everything, but it’s important that the people on the board are in alignment and that you are all able to work together.”

Burke was referring to last week’s surprise announcement about the resignation of Superintendent Jason Yamashiro, on the heels of the resignation of Assistant Superintendent Tracy Smith and vacant positions in information technology and in the business office.

Those changes come as the district community remains divided over the question of changing the name of the district and the board has been unable to focus on a clear path forward. In giving the trustees the date when school starts in the fall, Burke was reminding them that the top priority for them is to do the best they can for the district’s kids.

“I know for sure, I am not unclear about each of your purpose for being on the school board — and on this board in particular — and it’s for the children,” Burke told the board. “If in any way, I didn’t believe that, I would not be giving my time, support and energy at the level I am. I just want for us to get back to it — how do we find it again?”

Board President Brad Honsberger, who walked out of two recent five-hour-plus board meetings in apparent frustration after trustees failed to take any significant action forward, agreed with Burke.

“Our overarching goal has been a student focus, and I think we’ve completely lost that,” Honsberger, who has been on the board for 10 years, said Monday. See the full Article HERE

Editor's Note: For the second time in a week the Marin IJ has shut down comments on a Dixie story.  What an over the top reaction to a few trolls!  This issue has been even more contentious  than needed largely because of the one sided coverage of the extremists in this debate.  I think the Marin IJ could play a role here by encouraging more debate, even sponsoring forums to discuss the issue.  Why should the paper allow itself to be cowed by a few angry people?  They are not the majority.

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