Round 2: RDUSD Still Has No Answers

Rich Peters
March 30, 2016

River News-Herald

The River Delta Unified School District Office.

In last week’s LTE, the anonymous author proudly stated, “We are each small schools, in a rural district, with supportive communities, and it is time we focus on our common needs in regards to the education of our youngsters, instead of parading along in a finger pointing blame game.”

It’s a very nice sentiment, and it would be great if we could live in a world where people could agree on issues as important as our children’s education, but unfortunately this is real life and not a fairytale story. And much like anything else in this world, when it comes down to the education system, business is business and money will always prevail.

With the author of last week’s LTE seemingly missing the point all together, the entire purpose of my article was to bring to light the fact that these three teachers, Steve Camacho, Gwen Douglas and Bruce Vieira, are getting pushed out of their positions at Riverview without being given a reason. When there aren’t reasons given, you must dig deep and look for answers. That is my responsibility as the Editor as well as a journalist.

The first thing that always comes to my mind is money. Are these tenured teachers being reassigned in hopes that they leave the district altogether so they can be cheaply replaced? Perhaps, but there still needs to be some type of reasoning.

The topic of whether or not these three teachers meet state-regulated requirements for credentialing has come up in recent weeks. Does the District want to do away with multiple subject teachers?

Let’s delve deeper into that topic and take a look at some statistics from surrounding school districts. After researching the Calaveras Unified, Fairfield Unified, Dixon Unified, Brentwood Unified, Antioch Unified, Vacaville Unified, Benicia Unified and Lodi Unified School Districts and the 21 middle schools within them, only three of those schools no longer have multiple subject credentialed teachers: Jepson Middle School and Vaca Pena Middle School in Vacaville and Millswood Middle School in Lodi.

According to CalState TEACH, a California teacher preparation program, in regard to whether or not you can teach middle school with a Multiple Subject Credential, the website states, Yes, if you are teaching two subjects or more, you can teach in a middle school classroom. If you are teaching one subject area you need to have 32 semester hours in that subject area and obtain a Subject Matter Authorization.”

Regarding the 5-2 voting that has been occurring in the RDUSD for years now, it’s not a “parading along in a finger pointing blame game” situation. In fact, it’s not a game at all; these are the true tales of how our District has been functioning for years. That doesn’t necessarily mean that schools up river have it better than those in Rio Vista, because is seems clear that the resources all the way up and down the District are scarce, but it does mean that a 5-2 vote doesn’t exactly provide the Rio Vista Board Members a fair chance to defend their own in situations exactly like this and it has been that way for years.

In District meeting minutes dating back to January of 2013, Section 9.3 Educational and Special Education Services Reports and/or Presentations, the subject of an appropriate District Board realignment was heavily discussed.

“A presentation was given by Steve Demers, a GIS analyst from Sacramento County Voter Registration and Elections, regarding a need to redistrict Board of Trustee areas. Mr. Demers explained each district should evaluate whether it needs to redistrict after each census. SCOE Superintendent David Gordon initiated the contact between Steve Demers and Mr. Hennes to look at the disparities in the trustee areas and the number of people in each area should be around 3,000 people per trustee area.”

Taking a look back at what Dan Mahoney stated to the RDUSD Board on March 8, “The other towns outside of Rio Vista in the District added together are 3,136 in population, compared to Rio Vista’s 7,736, but the School Board members from the rest of the District outnumber Rio Vista 5 to 2. This is not a new issue as the Board was informed they needed to look into equitable representation before. The problem has become amplified, as Rio Vista has not stopped growing. That is and has been for a long time unequitable and now unacceptable.”

Unacceptable seems to be a running theme within the River Delta Unified School District.

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