A slightly different version is that it was a failure of imagination and really bad planning. A highly compensated administrator such as Rick Bagley should have been hired with the requirement that he bring demonstrated capacity to manage a program of choice…with actual experience, vision and a resume that put value on engaging real parent and teacher voice. Lots of districts have them — including many in Marin. If the trustees had included stakeholder process in the hiring specifications, this might have been among one of the things that rose to the top. Instead we got a guy who complained right out of the gate that he had to deal with a charter proposal he was unprepared for and couldn’t or wouldn’t.
Then, to make things worse, he and the Board failed to minimally attend to the fact that everyone knew district enrollment was going to decline and they couldn’t see what negative impact alienating 10% or more of the school body would have on funding. Add that to the badly calculated gamble that the state would turn down the charter proposal, and you have to really scratch your head in wonder why he didn’t lose his job?
Charter proposals are being enthusiastically approved by the state — what kind of research was done to assess this before RVSD decided (unilaterally? and when – in CLOSED session???) to deny a district charter – or to not try to mediate and do almost whatever it would take to create a compromise to keep MAP a program of choice. But a 20 year program, designed by teachers and parents, with a waiting list and a lot of enthusiastic alumni and potential participants — WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND who know ANYTHING about the California Department of Education would gamble on them turning down this charter proposal? And who would approve spending $150,000-$250,00 + in legal funds from the general fund to support this folly?
Even if there was only a 10% chance that this scenario could have been avoided, the school board and superintendent should have exhausted every opportunity to come to some kind of compromise or new solution. Supporting a program of choice — at Red Hill — could have DRIVEN enrollment to RVSD.
Working together, MAP and the district might even have decided to do a Charter proposal together for the purpose of accessing special funding streams for facilities. Who was thinking outside the box? Why were our district’s finances so disregarded just for a single-minded focus on eliminating a program lots of people loved for a long time.