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Monday, March 26, 2007

Keltie Jones Announces She Will Not Seek Another Term on Davis School Board

On one side of the Sunday Davis Enterprise, board president Jim Provenza announced his intention to seek Mariko Yamada's County Supervisor Seat. Not to be outdone, on the other side of the front page of the Davis Enterprise, immediate past president Keltie Jones announced that she would not seek another term on the board. Neither move was unexpected.

Ms. Jones was appointed to the school board in October of 2002 to fill out the term of John Poulos who moved from the district. She would then be elected in her own right one year later in November of 2003.

The two moves leave open both seats for this November's school board races. It presents parents and supporters of Valley Oak with another opportunity to change board direction on Valley Oak.

Ms. Jones was one of the most ardent proponents of closing down the Valley Oak School. She was also a very strong supporter of former Superintendent David Murphy.

She told the Davis Enterprise:
"I have also learned that I have no taste for the political maneuvering that accompanies an elected position in this town, and I have no desire to participate in another campaign."
An interesting statement because Jones has played on both sides of the Davis political divide most recently both as a supporter of Measure X and Lamar Heystek. However, in general she looked towards and against personalities rather than policies as a guide of whom to support. Supporting Heystek, purportedly because of personality and opposing Mike Levy and Don Saylor because of personal animus.

At times she had become downright abrasive on the school board berating the Fischers who complained against the district's handling of their son's harassment, berating at a public meeting Rev. Tim Malone over complaints about his son's treatment, and berating fellow board members and Valley Oak parents over the closing of the school.

Jones was part of the cadre that extended Superintendent Murphy's contract and appointed the Best Uses of School Task Force. The chair of that task force was Kirk Trost of the Hyde, Miller, Owen and Trost Law firm. Trost was a former boss of Jones.

While Jones was in the majority up until the November 2005 board elections, she increasingly found herself in the minority on key votes following the election of Sheila Allen, Gina Daleiden, and Tim Taylor. However, she was not only a member of the 3-2 majority responsible for the closing of Valley Oak, she actively worked to weaken Tim Taylor's compromise motion that would place the Valley Oak issue on the ballot as a second parcel tax.

There are two pieces of key unfinished business that she wants to accomplish before she leaves office. First, she told the Davis Enterprise that she wants to help guide the district through a new search for a superintendent and second she wishes to see the passage of the parcel tax.

In the end, the retirement of Jones presents an opportunity for parents and supporters of the Davis schools to find new blood. The closure of Valley Oak, of which Jones was a strong advocate, along with her support for Superintendent Murphy and his administration tarnishes an otherwise strong tenure for Jones.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting