Adios, Doyle Park; bonjour, Santa Rosa French-American Charter School. When the mostly Latino Doyle Park Elementary School in Santa Rosa officially closed last year, the unexpected uproar caused the school board to strike a deal keeping it open for one more year. Now that year is over, Doyle Park is closed, and from the outside, it appears the school board is implementing various forms of segregation.
Take the cafeteria of the French-American public charter school taking Doyle Park's place. Last month, the school board approved spending an extra $95,000 annually for fancier food at the school. Healthy food is a good thing, but it sure doesn't feel fair to the kids who formerly occupied the campus, who will still be grazing next year on lukewarm tater tots and pizza that even Little Caesar's would be ashamed to serve. The lunch program at the new, mostly white charter school was approved 6–0.
Seven out of 10 noncharter elementary schools in the city have over 85 percent of their students qualifying for free or reduced lunches, one of which was Doyle Park. In 2011, when the French-American Charter School was approved, 71-year-old school board president Larry Haenel was quoted as saying that "there was no downside" to the proposed school. (Another board member, Tad Wakefield, provided the swing vote to close Doyle Park even while planning for his own children to attend the French-American Charter School.)
While the kids on Sonoma Avenue students enjoy quinoa and free-range duck, perhaps the school board members behind the decision to strengthen economic-racial segregation in our already-segregated schools should enjoy a large bowl of big, fat crow.