The Moraga Town Council met this week to approve a balanced $6.55 million 2012-2013 budget, but an impassioned plea for an independent review of the Moraga School District and the way it handled claims of student sexual abuse in the mid-1990s cast a shadow on Wednesday's council meeting.
Local resident Barbara Simpson asked town officials for a complete investigation of the school district, and for a letter from the council publicly supporting Cal assistant swim coach Kristen Cunnane. The Times has recently published several stories about Cunnane speaking out about her ongoing rape as a teen by her former Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School P.E. teacher Julie Correa. That call came minutes after town leaders honored some of Moraga's top young athletes.
Simpson said in a later interview she doesn't think school leaders are qualified to investigate themselves.
"They're required by law to report (abuse) and they didn't at the time," she explained.
At the meeting, Simpson asked leaders to stand up for Kristen, and other students who may have been victimized. "As a town council, you owe that to her and to them," she said.
Council members also heard from an emotional parent who thanked them for recognizing student athletes at the beginning of the meeting. Then they launched into several policy matters including the adoption of the 2012-13 fiscal year budget and raising fees for some town services.
"We're trying to recover the
They also accepted a balanced budget which will allow the town to hire a part-time staffer to assist the town manager and clerk. And they debated the merits of leaving $250,000 in the budget earmarked in December for spatial separation at Rancho Laguna Park. A majority supported leaving the funds there for any possible future use.
At meeting's end however, talk returned to Simpson's request. Officials said they will write a letter to express support for Cunnane, and that it will be drafted by Councilwoman Karen Mendonca and Mayor Mike Metcalf.
"We want to express support for Kristen," Metcalf said in an interview.