Program Planning Meeting Report: Almost 30 LWVF members and guests participated in an agenda-packed Program Planning meeting which resulted in the choice of three priority issues for the current year. The priorities are Climate Change, Get Out the Vote, and Early Education Zero to Five. The priorities were voted on after presentations on the above issues as well as on Water Sustainability by Diane Merrill, Housing by Nyla Zender, and Homelessness by Marianne Kast. Although these issues were not among the top three, the speakers are planning to go forward with activities supporting these topics.
Committees are forming for the priorities and will be lead by: Climate Change Committee will be lead by Andrea Farber De Zubiria and Connie Young, officers of Citizens’ Climate Lobby; Get Out the Vote will be lead by Sue Goldman and Liz Shields, in charge of Voter Services;and Early Education 0-5 will be led by Kay Bertken, chair of the Education Committee. Each group will meet and decide on specific issues on which to focus for the year. League members and their friends who are interested in any of these issues and want to participate in any capacity should contact Patty Campbell, Program Planning chair, at soupsbooks5 [at] comcast.net, or call 352-5192.
In addition to local priorities, our Education Committee’s report on LWVF Report on Charter Schools, which is available on our web site, has caught the attention of education personnel on the State League Board. Our membership approved adding the proposal to our existing education policy and will be forwarded to the State League for possible consideration as a nonrecommended program at the convention.
CHARTER SCHOOL PROPOSAL APPROVED BY MEMBERS The following proposal from our Education Committee was approved by members at Program Planning to add to the LWVF position on education, and also to forward to LWVC for possible inclusion as a non-recommended item at the convention in May. The League of Women Voters of Fresno supports the concept of educational choices for parents and students within the public school system, including charter schools. The League supports the implementation and enforcement of academic, equity, and financial standards for the authorization and renewal of charter schools. A public charter school should be authorized and under the oversight of a locally elected district within which it resides. It should not be governed by an entity without ties and accountability to the community whose students it serves. Charter schools should be required to report the same academic and financial data to the state and the public as any other public school and school district. Expansion of an existing charter to new sites should trigger an evaluation of the charter school’s effectiveness and compliance with its contract.
In addition to discussions around issues that the LWVF Board brought to the meeting, we were also asked by LWVCalifornia to review its request to approve Making Democracy Work as the state priority for 2019 – 2021. The focus will be on voter protection, money in politics, redistricting, and an inclusive 2020 Census. Program planning participants unanimously approved the state’s request.
Concurrence issues: In an unusual segment of the program, members were asked to review four requests for concurrence from other state leagues that put forth proposals that they hope will come before the state convention in May. Concurrence was agreed to on a proposal from San Luis Obispo County which would promote civil discourse as part of an already existing government policy. Concurrence was also approved for a proposal from San Diego County on homelessness. Two concurrence proposals which were denied by our league were from Los Angeles County on Criminal Justice Reform., and Voter Representation from Sacramento County; it was thought that both of these required broader study for local applicability. If you are interested in learning more about these four concurrence issues you may do so at each of the appropriate League’s websites. Francine Farber fmfarber [at] hotmail.com