Footprints: Trouble in Del Norte County Schools: '87

September 06, 2007 11:00 pm

Sharon McKinney

In September 1987, a recall of all the school board members and the superintendent was underway. Success in the number of signatures on their petitions was reported by Clayton Ward, speaker for the group dedicated to ousting the incumbents.

The problems occurred because of the coming of Pelican Bay State Prison. Superintendent Joyce Flannigan had stated that the district could accommodate the more than 1,500 new students that were projected due to the workers families in the construction phase and families of the staff at the facility. She based her opinion on a survey prepared by Urban Futures, Inc. Flannigan said the report omitted information that would have changed her plans. Her backers created the Citizens for Quality Education. This group also sought signatures on petitions to keep the current group as they were doing an excellent job of educating the students of the county schools.

Ward said Flannigan followed her misrepresentation of the available space for the newcomers with a sudden plea for expansion and the new monies that would be necessary to house the students. The board was asked to seek a school bond and they refused. Instead the "mitigation" fee was chosen to fund the project. By law, the state would not allow a bond issue until a developer fee was in place so the district had no choice in the matter. Angry citizens cited their right to vote on any tax increases or new forms of funding and they followed through by using the recall process.

Rotary club raises funds

Rotary Clubs around the world took on the task of wiping out childhood diseases. Locally, the club sponsored a biathlon to provide information about their project. The PolioPlus effort included tuberculosis, measles, whooping cough and tetanus. Our club donated $3,948 to the cause. Rotary International worked with UNICEF and the World Health Organization to increase the number of immunizations available.

Original songwriters night

Del Norte Association for Cultural Awareness sponsored an Original Songwriters and Composers Night. The event was held at Crescent Elk auditorium and featured nine acts. It was not a contest so no prizes were given. It was an opportunity to showcase local talented individuals and groups. One duet was performed by the Owens brothers who had previously been heard at the Yankee Lady Saloon on one of their acoustic nights. A variety of music was offered including folk songs, western themes, ballads, and more.

One satirical piece was presented by Tom Scott, Alan Stanford, and Steve McCoulogh entitled "Maximum Security." Some of the lyrics were "Pacific Sunsets through the bars, Lake Earl Drive jammed with cars, a leech field 40 feet wide, Life is lovely here inside." The audience roared their appreciation for the performers.

Sharon McKinney is a Del Norte Historical Society volunteer.