Opponents of year-round schools say they were ignored by a committee that is asking the Davis School Board to implement the schedule at high-growth Adams Elementary.
"What the hell is going on? Is this Communism or is this democracy?" said Cathy Palmer, an opponent and mother of three Adams students.Palmer said her basic rights to vote and speak freely were violated in the decision-making process. She was also barred from deliberations of the task force, an apparent violation of the state's open meetings law.
"We have not been allowed to vote or disseminate information," she said.
Palmer contends that many parents did not understand that the results of a mail survey would be used as the basis for approval of the plan. She said the task force provided one-sided information about the plan in mailings and public meetings, and that the committee has been pro-year-round school and has ignored other viewpoints.
Palmer wants the task force to talk more about the disadvantages of the plan and then hold a secret ballot at the school.
"They're afraid of a democratic vote," she said.
Survey results show that 75 percent of Adams' patrons favored year-round scheduling. Eighteen percent said they want to keep an extended-day schedule and 27 percent of respondents were undecided. About 57 percent of 653 households with students in the school area returned the survey, Principal Forest Barker said.
"The committee feels they have been fair and are going to proceed. We arrived at the alternative scheduling plan using the directions that the school board gave. We intend to send in the application for year-round," Barker said.
Palmer said her right to free expression was violated when District Superintendent Richard Kendell barred her from sending home fliers announcing a panel discussion about year-round scheduling. Because the event was not sponsored by the school or the official committee, she was told she could not use students to distribute advertising. As a result she canceled the meeting, she said.
District spokeswoman Bonnie Doyle said Friday that the district has a policy of not allowing the schools to be used for distribution of any type of advertising, except for official school functions.
Palmer also said that she and and a number of other parents were kicked out of a committee meeting March 2 when it closed its deliberations, in apparent violation of the state's opening meeting law.
Christine Grondahl, member of the task force, said that members of the volunteer committee were not aware of the law or what subjects can be discussed in closed session. According to law, only personnel matters, property purchase, litigation, security measures and criminal investigations can be discussed by public bodies in private.
Grondahl said that Palmer was given more than her scheduled time to speak at the meeting. After she was finished, she kept interrupting the task force discussion so members voted to close the meeting, she said.
PTA president Marilyn Boren said parents had ample opportunity to learn about year-round schooling. Four public meetings were held at the school and parents were invited by the task force to visit year-round schools.