Not a huge crowd at the SUSD meeting, but an interesting “Fact Sheet” was produced by the district with its timeline of events in the Boys & Girls Club saga.
Board president Kathy Garcia has opened public comment before closed session:
Brenda Jones, interim CEO of the former Boys & Girls Club: “We will be open Monday for the first day for kids back in school. The YMCA has been doing a lot of talking about how our staff is not trained or qualified. If that’s the issue, why are they hiring our staff.” She added, “We serve a lot of minorities. For Stockton Unified, if you weren’t satisfied, why did it take you so long? We should take the politics out of it. The most important thing is our youth. Please do what’s right and follow your heart.”
Douglas Srulowitz, an attorney who serves on the former Boys & Girls Club board: He said the club is “still in business.” “I don’t know how it got construed that a national affiliation that we are no longer affiliated with puts us out of business. We’re here to serve children and that’s why I’m still involved.” “All we lost was an affiliation. If there’s the idea we can’t perform on the contract, I think that was misconstrued. I think a lot of confusing messages have been conveyed.” “I’m here to assure you we’ve been doing it for 50 years and we’re continuing to do it for the next 50 years.”
Estella Garcia: “The Boys & Girls Club is just a name. My children went there. Boys & Girls Club taught my kids a lot. If you guys take that away … The Boys & Girls Club is just a name. It doesn’t matter if you call it ‘Tom.’ I’m not saying the YMCA isn’t good. But where is the closest YMCA? This politics: Just let it go. Think about our children. … Who ran it before? Who’s the mayor? None of that matters.”
Jeff Gilbert, YMCA board president: “I’ve been involved in process of getting prepared for this transition. We are very well prepared. We stand ready to take over. I understand there’s a lot of controversy. I agree. We want to keep politics out of this.”
Robert McNeal: He said he is from Stockton’s former B&G Club: “I’ve been there 11 years, watching staff teach me the proper way to grow up. Trying to take the after-school program from us: That’s not cool. It hurts me, my family, to watch them try to take it away. I grew up there and I want my cousins to grow up there. … The only YMCA I know is at least 6.2 miles away. Not everyone has cars.”
Another speaker said this is a “case about politics.” She said she is a “journalist.” She criticized the Record, which she said is the cause “of this mess.” She criticized Superintendent Steve Lowder for acting too quickly. She said the B&G Club is the only one that serves unprivileged children in the city. She said, “The fact a name change might occur doesn’t change the contract.” She asked the board “to reflect and think” and allow the club its share of after-school contracts.
And the board headed to closed session after those six speakers.