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Former teacher says it’s time to form Citrus Heights school district

John Kane speaks before the Citrus Heights City Council on Dec. 8, 2022, saying “it’s time” for the city to form its own school district. // Image credit: Metro Cable 14

Sentinel staff report–
Discussion of Citrus Heights breaking away from the San Juan Unified School District to form its own district has gained attention in recent months, with the topic being brought up at several council meetings and discussed at the city’s strategic planning session in November.

Last month, one resident shared his thoughts on the idea during the City Council’s December meeting. As the topic of schools was not on the agenda for discussion, the council did not respond to his remarks, which were made during a public comment portion of the meeting.

The resident’s three-minute comments have been transcribed and included in their entirety below. A recording of the entire meeting can also be viewed on Youtube.

I’m John Kane, I’m married, have two beautiful daughters, and I’ve been a resident for 14 years, homeowner here. As an involved parent, I have 18 years of experience tutoring my own children, helping them with homework, and I have three years of experience as an 8th grade math and science teacher.

As a registered voter that seeks to be educated on the issues facing our city and our country; as a parent that’s passionately involved in my children’s lives; as a former school teacher: I’m deeply concerned about the quality of public education today, available in our schools.

I’m here tonight because I am convinced that it’s time for Citrus Heights to form its own school district.

I didn’t pull this — is Mr. Schaefer still here? — I didn’t pull this out of thin air. I went to the Chamber luncheon last month and they had an historian that told us the the history of our city. And he went into how we started our own ambulance corps, our own fire department, our own school. Why? Because the county was neglecting residents in our area.

Residents built the first school. Solid roots. We started our own Police Department. And why? Because local oversight gives our residents better services and a safer city in which to live.

So as a former school teacher along with millions of other parents across our country, I am appalled at the educational system in our country. I’m sure you know that California has one of the lowest reading and math scores in the United States.

Earlier this year, like many people, I began to get involved in what’s going on just out of passion for what’s happening in our country. And I began going door to door for candidates in our area, talking to citizens and listening to them.

On many days I was shocked to go past schools in our city that had fencing, wide open gates, that allowed people to go in during the school day. And one school in particular, I could have walked into an elementary classroom easier than I came into City Hall tonight. I was stunned to see many schools with no more than a 3-foot fence surrounding them.

Who’s responsible for these things? Not the leadership of our city. San Juan Unified School District — and I’m almost out of time. Whatever happened to child left behind?

I’ll wrap it up this way: 50,000 children in San Juan schools, including children that call Citrus Heights home, are being left behind academically.

Question: how safe are the students in our schools from the next school shooter. What do we always hear in the news reports? We thought we would never happen here.

Here’s the math, according to the US Census Bureau, we have 19,000 school-aged children in Citrus Heights. Multiply that by $13,000 per student and you get $247 million. We could fund a school district for $247 million.

It’s time, solid roots. It was time for a school in our area in the late 1800s. New growth. I appeal to you. It’s time for a Citrus Heights school district to begin. Thank you.

*Editor’s note: For additional context, see prior story: Vice mayor floats idea to form Citrus Heights Unified School District

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