Ridge school board to address charges
San Juan Ridge school officials have been waiting one month to answer a scathing diatribe about their politics and finances from Nevada County Superintendent Schools Terry McAteer. Today they will have their chance.
At 5 p.m., the Twin Ridges Elementary School District board will respond to charges leveled by McAteer last month that an inner-district coup caused the ouster of former district Superintendent Stan Miller and led to shaky finances. McAteer also said board members and administrators were involved in “whisper campaigns” based on personal agendas and allowed two district administrators to get raises, making their salaries among the top in the county’s educational community.
“We will address the inaccurate statements made by Dr. McAteer and get the truth out,” said board member Corina Loving-Mills on Monday. “It’s been real hard for us. Our county leader put the letter together based on assumptions. We couldn’t answer at the last meeting because of the Brown Act; it wasn’t agendized.”
“My job is to oversee their finances,” McAteer said. “They can respond any way they want. The proof will be in the pudding when it comes to Twin Ridges in the months and years to come.”
In his Sept. 12th letter to the board, McAteer said he has alerted the state that the district was in financial trouble and appointed former Twin Ridges Superintendent David Taylor, at $444 per day, to watch its money.
McAteer said the district was on “shaky ground” financially, partially because of the raises to administrators Carrie Roemer and Larry Pastore, taking them to $110,000 and $94,500, respectively. He also said the buyout of former superintendent Miller’s contract for $130,000 and the hiring of Interim Superintendent Larry Meek have contributed to a $200,000 downfall that has the district on the ropes.
McAteer also said the district’s in-house firm set up to do the business of other charter schools has not been a money maker. State law will also strip four of the district’s charter schools next year and that will cause another loss of $425,000, which Twin Ridges’ officials should have been planning for, McAteer said.
“The result has been a total reckless expenditure of taxpayer dollars, a bloated and overpaid administrative unit with little regard to the voices of your charters, Ridge schools and their students.”
Roemer runs the in-house charter school business firm and said it has been limited to one customer because it is a pilot program at this point and not yet lucrative. Pastore said McAteer’s comment about him being part of a coup was hearsay.
Meek said he called an advisory committee together soon after McAteer sent his letter to address McAteer’s questions. The committee is made up of board members, staff and parents of students.
“We will address (McAteer’s) concerns,” Meek said Monday. “I wanted all these questions on top of the table. We took a couple of hours to talk about what happened, and we looked at the questions and drafted responses.”
Meek said the meeting would open at 5 p.m. with a discussion of McAteer’s questions but would move to normal business matters at 6:15 p.m.
To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4237.
WHAT: Twin Ridges Elementary School District board meeting
WHEN: 5 p.m. today
WHERE: District office, 18847 Oak Tree Road, San Juan Ridge
WHY: To answer Superintendent Terry McAteer’s questions.
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