The Rancho Santa Fe Post

Op-ed: Roger Rowe School Not Supportive of District Taxpayer Needs?

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Children in grades kindergarten through 8th grade living within the district boundaries should be able to benefit from the resources offered by our district which is supported by the taxpayers, regardless of where the child is educated.

Roger Rowe is a public school district largely funded by basic aid which means district taxpayers directly pay for the school’s expenses. There are at least 15 students (primarily children of teachers and staff) attending Roger Rowe that do not live in the district and do not pay property taxes to benefit our school, yet they are educated here and enjoy all of the extra-curricular programs for their enrichment.

Historically, our school district has served the community and not just the enrolled students.  In recent years, many families where the parents chose to home school or pay for private education have indeed participated in extra-curricular activities outside of the school day academics, such as the schools’ basketball teams and football team as well as the after school robotics program. R. Roger Rowe, himself, when he was the presiding superintendent for the school district, offered to the senior citizens in the district computer classes when technology was a burgeoning phenomenon. Precedent has been set.

We live in the covenant of RSF. We pay our property taxes. Several district families have transferred their children to other schools this year. We fully expected that our children would continue to participate in the extra-curricular programs that they thrived in and helped make successful, such as orchestra, choir, sports, and robotics. But, we have been told we are not allowed to this year. This is unfair!

Is this personal?

Is this discrimination?

There is no district policy regarding this issue. There was discussion at a recent school board meeting but there was no consensus. Trustee Todd Buchner was in support of providing resources to the community in which the district serves. Two trustees opposed; Marti Ritto citing financial burden and Tyler Seltzer citing distaste for it. Todd Frank abstained from weighing in and Richard Burge did not attend. There will be another board meeting to further discuss this issue on Friday, September 11.

We are not looking for preferential treatment, just the status quo. It might be reasonable that currently enrolled students get priority, but it is discrimination to outright reject district students based solely on the fact that their parents chose another option for their education especially in light of the fact that at least 15 non-district, non-taxpaying students get the benefits that district taxpayers do not enjoy and there are multiple cases of prior precedent.