If you’ve ever thought about attending a school board meeting but didn’t want to lose a couple of hours that you’ll never get back, you may want to go tomorrow night.

For awhile now, I’ve been using the lather, rinse, repeat reference because the school board does the same thing every second and fourth Tuesday of the month. Sometimes I feel like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day” and I’m just waiting for my clock radio to turn on wand hear Sonny and Cher singing “I Got You, Babe.”

In a nutshell, here’s what happens:

  • Pledge of Allegiance.
  • Rubber stamp approval of the minutes.
  • Awards and recognitions.
  • Rubber stamp approval of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds without asking any questions or challenging anyone in the administration on any entry whatsoever.
  • Board members tell us about all the wonderful things they seen and done without a word about how they plan to boost academic performance in Costa Mesa’s schools.
  • Superintendent Frederick Navarro, who lives in Long Beach, tells us pretty much nothing.
  • Adjourn.

The only interesting part of these meetings is the public comments section. That’s when we get to hear some of the speakers do their best Howard Beale imitation (see video):


One of the items that will be rubber stamped is 17.b.2, which contains revisions to the district’s policy manual. What’s interesting – funny to me – is the hypocrisy of the language. Here’s the exact language from one line of the revisions that made me laugh: “The district shall protect all complainants from retaliation.” 

But when I enlarged the screen to 400% I noticed additional language and the full sentence with the fine print actually reads, “The district shall protect all complainants from retaliation, except John Caldecott.”

Tomorrow night, we may hear from a parent or two who is upset about the change of plans in the new athletic field elements at Costa Mesa High. Despite attempts by a few to defend the changes, it once again comes down to this: All those phony community input meetings and surveys are just for show. The fence debacle at Adams Elementary School, and now the field fiasco at CMHS proves that neither the administration nor the board care about what the community wants. It’s all a show.

But tomorrow night, the show may be a little better than other episodes. ; )

Steve Smith