Tue. Mar 5th, 2024

By Samuel Strait, Reporter at Large – July 22, 2021

It never seems to fail when listening to local school district officials
talking about their grandiose plans for “helping” the students in their
charge become functional in the world without any thought to the
dysfunction that currently exists in local education.  Massive deferred
maintenance projects requiring millions of dollars of taxpayer funding,
abysmal results in education, and much needed attention to simple
cleanliness in classrooms and schools are just a few of the problems
that  plague the District.  Heaven forbid that any thing remotely
related to those issues should grace the agenda at the local school
board meetings, no, the latest news is that the Superintendent of
Schools, Jeff Harris, is intent on growing his little fiefdom by
encroaching on the County’s Health and Human Services patch.

It is mind blowing that Superintendent Harris has convinced the school
board that purchasing a local office building to house social service
style aid to the District’s “neediest” students is a high priority when
other issues go unaddressed.  One wonders how Health and Human Services
Director, Heather Snow, feels about the District’s foray into her
domain?  Aside from this suspect transition being made at the expense of
education, it would seem that the $399,900, or even the $1.4 million
dollar fund balance might be better utilized to cover the costs of the
deferred maintenance that so recently appeared before the school board.
Yet another example of the mixed messaging that has come out of recent
school board decisions which generally ignores a failing educational
product while focusing on “castle building, expensive administrators,
high priced teachers, and now family support centers”.  What’s next, an
IMAX theater and vacations for selected “educators” to Japan?

The building located at 1200 Marshall Street, formerly the orthopedic
practice of Dr. Greg Duncan, is to be purchased and retro fitted for
staff and yet to be hired staff which will enable the District to
provide “Family Support Services” according to Assistant Superintendent
of Business, Jeff Napier.  Apparently, Napier is unaware of the tiny
fact that recently the County’s Family Support Services Building has
relocated across the street from Napier’s new toy.  Nothing like
togetherness.  The building will be utilized by the district for student
healthcare, counseling and making sure the students have a full schedule
of classes.  The district will then provide referrals to “other agencies
or departments” within the district, more social services anyone? 
Washing facilities for homeless youth and at the bottom of the
list…some tutoring.  Harris went on to say that the District has
budgeted for this extravaganza and has included a number of “new”
positions to be hired for the services to be provided as well as an
unspecified amount going towards retro fitting the building to meet the
technological needs of the undertaking.  The “new services and building”
will grace our presence in January of 2022.

Clearly, Mr. Harris and Mr. Napier do not understand just how tone deaf
this new proposal appears in light of the school district’s recent
discussions and approval of two mechanisms for raiding taxpayer pockets
for millions of dollars, once again failing to address the  actual
travesty of the abysmal state of public education in the County.  New
buildings and refurbished old ones are not going to make an impact on
how badly the District is performing in the classroom.  The delivery of
proper tools for students to educate themselves  and the absence of
propaganda and indoctrination  in the classroom would be a good start. 
That may mean a hard look at those that currently are the arbiters of
the youth of Del Norte County’s educational future.  Something that does
not seem to matter to current administration nor many of those that
occupy positions in local classrooms.  As stated in several earlier
articles in the Crescent City Times, DNUSD your time is up!   Time to
either returning to delivering actual education or going away….

3 thoughts on “DNUSD Becomes Social Services Provider, Does The County Know?”
  1. When they come crying for a new bond are they going to mention they have $1.4 million to blow and they spent $400K of it on another building which will need upkeep and is not related to education. And they plan on hiring more people for this building??
    I hope the voters don’t fall for it, but we seem to everytime.

  2. I, too, was shocked at the purchase of Dr. Duncan’s building by the school district. It is interesting that the refurbished building will have a washing machine for homeless students to do their laundry. Paul Simon’s song “Learn How To Fall” is apt: “Everybody got the runs for glory. Nobody stop and scrutinize the plan.”
    Also, your essays should be sent to The Triplicate for those who do not read them in the Times.

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