Tag Archives: Matt Tennis Chico CA

CUSD School Board race 2020 – who will run, and what’s their position on the district’s new decision to keep schools partially closed?

23 Jul

In this upcoming election I’d like to get the voters to pay more attention to the school board race. This race is so under-voted in most elections, the two members up in this election, Elizabeth Griffin and Linda Hovey,  were both appointed due to lack of challengers. Neither of them has announced publicly that they will run for re-election. 

There is one challenger, a well-connected Sacramento politico turned rice farmer, Matt Tennis. Tennis, a Chico native who attended local schools,  is also a member of the Butte County Water Board, and has advocated the Paradise/Chico water transfer. That’s about all I got from a preliminary web search. 

According to his website and Faceblob pages, Tennis is running for school board with a campaign to re-open Chico schools. He is pushing for the district to apply for a waiver of the governor’s closure.

From the state website:

Governor Gavin Newsom Lays Out Pandemic Plan for Learning and Safe Schools  

“There is a single exception. Local health officers may grant a waiver to allow elementary schools to reopen in-person instruction if the waiver is requested by the district superintendent, in consultation with labor, parents and community-based organizations. When considering a waiver request, the local health officer must consider local data and consult with the California Department of Public Health.

The Department also issued updated guidance for when schools must physically close and revert to distance learning because of COVID-19 infections. Following a confirmed case of a student who was at school during his or her infectious period, other exposed students and staff should be quarantined for 14 days. The school should revert to distance learning when multiple cohorts have cases or 5 percent of students and staff test positive within a 14-day period. The district should revert to distance learning when 25 percent or more of its schools have been physically closed due to COVID-19 within 14 days. Closure decisions should be made in consultation with local health officers. After 14 days, school districts may return to in-person instruction with the approval of the local public health officer.”

The board voted July 15 to re-open according to the Governor’s rules – groups split between morning and afternoon, and on a rotating schedule – Monday, Wednesday, Friday one week and Tuesday, Thursday the next. Face shields will be required and temperatures will be taken. 

https://www.actionnewsnow.com/content/news/Chico-parents-teachers-and-school-board-discuss-reopening-schools-amid-pandemic-571785901.html

I’m not sure if this is what Tennis wanted, or what the waiver would mean,  but I believe the board’s decision is a disaster for working parents. I’m just glad I don’t have school age kids anymore. I’ve never liked the idea of public school as free babysitting, but the fact is, working parents depend on having a safe place for their kids to learn. Our economy depends on it. What are parents supposed to do with their kids the other 2 – 3 days a week? Are they supposed to leave their jobs (including those who work 50 or more miles out of town) to pick their kid up at lunch time, and then what? 

As the child of working parents, I know this isn’t going to work. The state’s economy is going to tank if they don’t fully open the schools. Not to mention, the kids will get behind. And we can’t afford to get any further behind in education in this state. According to US News, California public schools have an overall ranking of 37 out of 50 states, with a 40 in “quality” and a 38 in “safety”.

Remember what strikes did to baseball and hockey? 

I don’t know how either Hovey or Griffin voted on this issue – one board member voted No, reasons unknown. 

I’d like to hear from some of you working parents what you think of this decision. 

UPDATE: The governor has put Butte County on the Shit List, so the district may have to go back to online learning in the fall.