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Resident questions idea of forming new Citrus Heights school district

Citrus Heights resident Kathy Morris speaks during public comment at a Jan. 26, 2023, Citrus Heights City Council meeting.

Sentinel staff report–
Discussion of Citrus Heights breaking away from the San Juan Unified School District to form its own district has continued to be brought up in public comments at City Council meetings, with comments being received on both sides of the issue.

During a Jan. 26 council meeting, resident Kathy Morris, questioned whether pursuing a new school district is the solution to concerns about local schools. As the topic of schools was not on the agenda for discussion, the council did not respond to her remarks, which were made during a public comment portion of the meeting.

No other comments were shared by residents during the meeting, but a retired school teacher has spoken at several recent meetings urging the city to consider forming its own school district.

Also on The Sentinel: Former teacher says it’s time to form Citrus Heights school district

Morris’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.

Mayor and members of the council, I am Kathy Morris. I am a 25-year resident of Citrus Heights. I’m currently the president of Neighborhood Area 7-8-9 (CHASEN), but I’m here speaking on behalf of myself — not of the group — so I don’t want to confuse that.

At the last City Council meeting, there was a discussion about creating a Citrus Heights school board. I completely agree that our schools in Citrus Heights need some help, need some attention – in areas of academics, in the areas of safety and certainly in the areas of maintenance.

However, isn’t that why we just had an election to put some more people on the school board?

Several weeks back, a few months back, we were very active in trying to expand the San Juan Unified School District from five members to seven. The concept being that we wanted some more local representation.

We did it, it got done, and we just recently elected two members. It seems to me that we should give our new members time to get their job done — and that’s where we should focus.

Additionally, we all know the city is very capable, our city staff is very capable. They’ve got a lot of work to do, and they do it — they do it very well. The idea of having them be side-tracked in doing the research necessary for this. The time, energy, and money that is required to do this research seems to me it’s diverting them from the job they’re doing today. Doesn’t seem to me to be a good use of their time when there’s so many other things going on, and we have the new school board people.

And speaking of cost, the schools in our district seem to be a little old. They’re not quite as old as I am, but they’re 50 years — and so maintenance is important. It seems like we should let the district that has been responsible for it, and perhaps not performed, fix it. They’re the ones that should take care of that.

That needs our focus, not our funding. And that’s the bottom line as far as I’m concerned.

We’ve got people on the City Council, people now on the San Juan Unified School District board, that we know and that we like and that we trust. It’s our job, I think, to make sure they do their job, and then we need to make sure we focus on our communications with them.

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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