A Cayucos Elementary School District board member is under scrutiny for using his personal email to urge the community to oppose possible changes to the district.
- Photo By Karen Garcia
- OPTIONS The Cayucos Elementary School District is making headway on an age-old discussion about where to send its students after they graduate from eight grade.
At the Nov. 8 district board meeting, a few public commenters questioned district board member Ron Wilson's use of his personal email and the message enclosed, which pushed community members to oppose one of the K-8 district's potential paths to a high school.
"Mr. Wilson, what is your agenda? Why are you so forcefully wanting this high school option? It doesn't seem to be what the community wants," Bliss Quimby said at the meeting.
The district currently sends its students to Coast Union High School in Cambria, which is part of Coast Unified School District, and many of its students apply for inter-district transfers to be able to attend Morro Bay High School, which is in the San Luis Coastal Unified School District. Cayucos is currently looking to change that process. The options include unifying the district into a K-12 district; changing Cayucos from a component district of Coast Unified School District to a component district of San Luis Coastal; or pursuing a memorandum of understanding between Cayucos, Coast Unified, and San Luis Coastal that would allow students to attend high schools in either district.
That second option, switching the district that Cayucos Elementary feeds into, would require a change in educational code. To do that, a written amendment to the current legislation would have to be adopted.
In Wilson's email, he urges the community to oppose adoption of the legislation because he said it would result in a tax increase.
"Cayucos school legal counsel, Ochoa and Moore, has concluded that if this legislation were to be adopted, the territory of Cayucos would assume liability for the San Luis Coastal bonded indebtedness of $33.22 per $100,000 of assessed valuation," Wilson said in his email.
New Times reached out to the law firm, but it did not respond before press time.
Cayucos community member Karry MacDonald has written a proposed amendment for the code that could allow the district to remain independent or a component district of San Luis Coastal. The proposal requests that students be able to attend Morro Bay High without having to file for an inter-district transfer.
"The legislation itself [wouldn't] do anything other than allow the option to be available," MacDonald said.
But before any actual changes could take place, a petition to change the legislation would need to get signed and supported, and public hearings, studies, and meetings would have to take place to inform the community.
MacDonald sent the request to change the education code to state Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel). The Cayucos Elementary School District also sent a letter to the senator to ask for his support on the legislation.
Cayucos Elementary School District board member Kerry Friend said she wants to be respectful of her board members and make it apparent that she is speaking as an individual not on behalf of the board.
"I'm not saying property taxes won't rise, they might, but it's too premature to say that," Friend said.
New Times reached out to Wilson, but he declined to comment. Δ