Unbearable Cayucos school board boredom

July 24, 2022

Editor’s Note: The following series, “Life in Radically Gentrifying Cayucos by the Sea,” to be posted biweekly includes the notes, thoughts, and opinions of an original American voice: author Dell Franklin. 

Franklin’s memoir, “Life On The Mississippi, 1969,” is currently on Amazon.


Pete Schuler, a former member of the Cayucos school board who was forced out of his beloved office because he had to move from his district, urged me to attend a “meeting of the school board” at the unheard of hour of 5 in the afternoon. He hinted that one of the participants was a person we both know who is running for the school board and can “dish it out as well as take it and be quite colorful as well as controversial.”

So I went to the meeting, which I thought would involve school board candidates airing their views, but soon found out it was strictly for those currently considering running for the Cayucos school board to sit and listen to past or present members inform them of what to expect as future members as well as their duties, regulations, etc, etc, etc.

After about 10 minutes of sitting there impersonating somebody actually speculating over running for this heinous office, I felt trapped in a torture chamber dwarfing any experience in a dentist office or an MRI tube, and felt further that anybody holding this office should have a framed license on their office wall claiming they graduated from a school with an advanced degree in not only enduring the most tortuous kind of boredom imaginable, but also the ability to administer an even more stultifying nonstop hours-long shroud of boredom that could possibly induce contemplation of suicide.

I wanted to get up and leave, but I had, after ten minutes, gained so much respect for the speakers putting themselves through this harrowing ordeal that I couldn’t bear to insult them by even moving. They are, to me, the bravest of souls and I shall never again horse laugh and snidely satirize those running for any office after witnessing this godawful endurance test.

Of course, out in the public ether, the right wing in America has pledged to take back their country by starting out at the lowest rungs of politics–school boards–to attack and urgently halt the so-called threat of the “woke Karens in this world,” those  tree-hugging nuts who feel our children should know something about the savage white marauders who settled this country in the name of the flag and the Bible, killing Native Americans and enslaving and lynching black Africans while they were at it.

I get where they’re coming from–parents want a bigger hand in protecting their kiddies from the harsher realities of America and wish to resort to the “Ozzie and Harriet” days of 1950 television, where the white people were good and moral and in the end did the right thing against enormous pressure and lived happily ever after.

So I guess those aspiring to school boards these days are prepared for the torture of small time politics, or whatever one calls school boards, which seemed to be, from what I heard, about money and mounds and mounds of intricate and endless paperwork, an assault so terrifying to me that, when it was mentioned, I started thinking about Pete Schuler and what a dirty trick he had pulled on me to send me to this meeting where I found myself as the most unusual school board aspirant in American recorded history.

The meeting lasted slightly over an hour. During this time I could have been home watching a rerun of “Gunsmoke,” something a desperate, bored retiree stuffs into the emptiness of his existence on a nightly basis. But no, instead, out of respect for the speakers, I did not switch around in my seat, yawn, daydream, or fantasize to kill the time, but listened closely to them, those brave, otherworldly patient heroes whose courage to endure boredom and do the dirty work for the community is impossible for a slacker like myself to comprehend, and which leads me to believe my good friend Pete Schuler is not quite right in the head, and needs help, but is also, to me, the luckiest person in town to be relieved of his school board duties.

I told him this the following morning when I chastised him for siccing me on this meeting. Oh, he feigned not to realize it was but an introduction to school board aspirants, but I wasn’t buying it.

“I mean, how did you deal with it?” I asked. “Pissed off as I am at you for subjugating me to that torture, I have to almost idolize you for surviving the school board for an entire term.”

As usual, being even the smallest of small-time part-time politicians (he’s 6′ 5” and 300 beans), he had no comment, except, of course, to mutter that he “liked all his fellow members and enjoyed the experience.”

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As some one who actually raised there kids in Cayucos… This board has scared off many a great principal. During the construction of the new school, one unnamed board member actually would try and tell the architect and construction crew how to design and build the school. Funny cause most of these folks don’t have kids let alone kids that went to Cayucos elementary. One of my kids I finally let go to LOMS .. Way more educational opportunity on the other side of town where most central coast families live.

He liked the benefits that came with the position as well. Too bad he didn’t know how big a basketball court is supposed to be ……

Come on Dell, run for the school board. You know the town, you know the people, you probably know the kids. Dedicated community members such as yourself are indispensable to small town school boards. I know, I know, you’ve always thought of yourself as some kind of rebel, but, frankly, now you’re just a somewhat cranky old man, perfect for the school board. Moreover, you’re still sharp and can see the merits or faults of any decision. Run, Dell, Run.

I know the feeling as I have attended many special district and advisory council meetings.

Sitting and listening to board members making a point as long and drawn out as humanly possible, the thought was understood by the second sentence, I would ponder why did this person run for office? The answer the need to feel that people are listening to them, and what better than a captive audience.