Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em
EDITOR: A message to the City of Sonoma: I wanted to check in with you and let you know that there are still no “no smoking” signs in the Plaza. We went to Vintage Festival this weekend and were discouraged to see people lighting up and smoking on the Plaza, yet again. With no signs, how are people visiting our town supposed to know we have a no-smoking policy in our park? It has almost been a year since the City of Sonoma voted to pass this ordinance, how can a sign take that long to be made and hung? We were at the Whole Foods market today, and they have ample “no smoking” signs posted on their brown posts throughout the marketplace. I feel as though this is in fact not a priority of the City... are you scared tourists won’t spend their dollars on wine if they can’t smoke freely in the Plaza? There has to be a balance between the people who live here and are trying to raise kids with tourism, and right now I really feel like tourism is winning.
Please let me know when the signs are expected to be in place. The last I heard from anyone was on July 20.
School District needs budget lessons
EDITOR: I feel the need to set the record straight about what the Index-Tribune reported in last week’s article (“School District Back to Basic Aid,” Sept. 26).
The I-T reported that the school district ended the fiscal year (2016-17) with a surplus of $3 million, and that the district spent what it budgeted. Here are the facts:
• The districted ended the fiscal year with a deficit of $2.3 million, which was $2 million less than projected due to unanticipated revenues from the state.
• The district covered its shortfall from reserves accumulated in previous years.
• Reserves have fallen from $5.3 million to $3.3 million.
• The district originally budgeted expenses of $49 million but ended up spending $52 million, in other words $3 million in cost overruns.
• This is the third consecutive year the district has been in deficit-spending mode.
• The district has been using reserves to fund recurring expenses, which the Sonoma County Office of Education warns could undermine fiscal solvency
If you would like to see the budget report presented at the last board meeting, you can watch it on YouTube. Fast forward to approximately 18:15. Board commentary follows at 20:43. Public comment starts at 31:08.
I think the public deserves to know the truth about the fiscal mismanagement of the school district.
Principal Hawing responds to rumors
EDITOR: Last week, a rumor started on the high school campus and quickly moved to social media declaring that the high school administration had restricted the use of the American flag on campus and that the wearing of the patriotic red, white, and blue was not acceptable.
This is not an accurate accounting of what transpired. I am writing to reassure the Sonoma community there has never been an issue regarding the display of the American flag or the right of students or staff to express their support and respect for it. As it happened, just last Friday the school had arranged for voter registration to take place on campus so students of voting age would have ready access to that process.