Everybody’s business

Van on the run

Van on the run

Photo By Tom Angel

She’s your (princi)pal
Rosedale Elementary School started classes this week, welcoming a new principal in Claudia de la Torre.

Her appointment struck me as especially notable because typically principals move around from school to school, or get promoted from an assistant principal position somewhere. De la Torre, young for a principal at 35, grew up in Hamilton City and worked in the CUSD for eight years, including as a sixth grade teacher in the dual immersion program at Parkview Elementary, where she also led the drama club and organized the outdoor education program. She’d been an administrative intern there, mentored by Principal Joanne Parsley, and was the CUSD’s elementary summer school principal.

“I like the opportunity to try new things and be involved in as many things as possible,” de la Torre said. She knew that being a principal meant she could be “affecting more people and learning from more people.” That desire led her to pursue an administrative credential and master’s degree.

She was nervous going into the principal interviews but figured it was a learning experience even if she didn’t land the job.

She said she already loves Rosedale, and being a principal. “The staff is just wonderful. They’re very welcoming,” she said. “Everyone in the district has been so wonderful and so helpful.”

Incidentally, while de la Torre may be the only Chicana principal in the CUSD, she’s not the only woman. The percentage has doubled during the last five years, from five female principals out of 16 in 1998-99 to 10 in 2003-04.

A van down by the river
I was a little startled to see, amid the many things on the block at Chico Auction Gallery last week, a 2000 Ford van consigned for sale by the North State Cooperative Library System.

I contacted library administrator Marian Milling (insert Marian the Librarian joke here, Music Man fans) to get the skinny on why, after a few years of hard living, the vans get put out to pasture.

The system, headquartered in Willows, operates three vans, transporting nearly half a million books a year among all the public and academic libraries from Butte County north and the width of the state. Each year, a van rotates out and is auctioned off. “One route does 42,000 miles a year, another does 53,000, and the third one does 66,000,” Milling said. By that time, even with the requisite oil changes and maintenance, they’re ready for a new life with someone else.

“They cost between $15,000-20,000 new and are sold anywhere between $4,000-7,500 at auction,” Milling said. “The ‘profits’ are plowed right back in to the funding for new vans in the future.” This time, the van went for $3,400. “That was less than we expected but maybe not bad for a vehicle with 167,000 miles on it.”