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    « Money, Money | Main | 'Be Skeptical' of Slate Mailers »

    October 31, 2008

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    Although it will be difficult for most, I am sure that employees would rather lose 2% accross the board of all employees than see more layoffs and their workloads increased again.

    I thought the state required the children be in school X amount of hours....if we are surpassing the required time, by all means shut school down early by 3 weeks- or maybe do what some cities have done- go to a 4 day work week having Friday's off. Will 3 weeks closed really save $20 million?

    Now does the Administration Building and San Juan Hills High School still look like good ideas for the millions spent? I hardly think so. Perhaps in a better market the Administration Building could be sold for at least what it cost to build, but today? Probably not, so we, our children and the loyal, dedicated teachers suffer so Carter, Fleming and their ilk can collect nice six figure incomes without fear of penalties such as shorten class days,lower wages, inadeqate educational opportunities, etc. Sounds like the fairy tale it is.

    Yes Carter...you should take a cut in pay. How much do you make? Let's not forget the contract with the golden parachute...18 months severance pay? Outrageous!

    Carter says he's going to run the district like a business now. That is good. But one has to wonder how he was running it previously...

    Not only did Superintendent Carter threaten to shorten the school year by 3-4 weeks in an attempt to cut spending; he also announced today that it is all but inevitable that -- next year -- "extracurricular" programs like music, art, and physical education (along with the certified teachers who provide this important aspect of education) will be removed from the district's curriculum. This in spite of wagonloads of data that demonstrate that exposure to and involvement with the arts enhances a student's "basic" learning (e.g., the 3 R's). This is especially important at the elementary school level, when the child's brain is still rapidly developing. So, if these cuts are implemented, not only will about 100 CUSD teachers be without jobs, but tens of thousands of CUSD students will be deprived of basic educational tools -- not to mention the joy of exposure to and competence in the arts. And the CUSD will inevitably become no better than a third-world school system. Which will drive any parent who cares, and can somehow find the money, to send their children to private schools that offer a complete learning experience. What a shame -- verging on criminal child neglect -- in one of the wealthiest areas of the most powerful country on earth!

    Vouchers, anyone?

    OR how about a complete overhaul of the way education is funded in this state - to the tune of $11k/year per child yet only about $6-$7k actually gets to the school district and most of that goes to salaries leaving very little room to negotiate much. The little that makes it into the general fund is divided in categoricals that limit spending. Like the fact that while we're looking at losing such "enrichments" as music, high school math teachers are piloting new textbooks. Really? We need new math books right now??

    Anyone who has done any research can tell you that vouchers are not the gift we all want them to be. In the states where vouchers are being used, there has been no improvement in the performance of students - there has been no drop, but no improvement, the statistics remain pretty much the same. More importantly, in Milwaukee, the only children using vouchers are the kids who were already in private school to begin with. None of the children who qualified for a voucher who were in the public schools to begin with, used the vouchers. Various reasons for were stated for declining to use them - still can't afford tuition (what a shock!), couldn't get transportation to the new schools, didn't qualify academically......the list goes on.

    Vouchers are not improving schools in the areas where they're being used - why do you think the Republicans don't talk about them? There's no evidence to show that they are working.

    This is a sidestep that your Education Alliance friends are pushing so they can get the state to pay for the the religious education they are already spending for their kids.

    A couple of observations:

    1. The severance clause in Mr. Carter's contact is according to LAW. It states that he can receive up to (and no more than) 18 months of severance. If let go with cause then the board could vote for no payout. If let go without cause the maximum amount he could receive would be 18 months but this could be negociated. Again, this is LAW and was made a law so no public employee in an executive type position could receive more than 18 months of severance.

    2. San Juan Hills and the administration building were built with funds that were designated for "building only" they cannot be used for teachers, books, supplies, support staff. Besides, if there were no SJHHS where would the children go to school? The parents at CAPO were quite vocal about the overcrowding of their school.

    3. Paycuts would be a great place to start but what about the employee that cannot afford to take cut in pay?

    4. Mr. Carter running CAPO as a business. I think he has done that in his streamlining of job functions at both the school site and the district. Can he cut more...well I guess he has too. He and the board have no choice. Remember education is not a "business" like Nordstrom, Macy's or even your neighborhood plumber. You can't send back those that you do not want. And you better get a better than average return on your investment.

    5. Vouchers are not the answer. The answer lies with looking at how education is funded in the State of California. Instead of everyone being angry at the local school board one should be demanding better from the state. Maybe in this type of financial emergency we should ask the state to let districts borrow from their building funds untill the crisis has passed.

    Finally, the building...when the reform candidates ran all you heard from the podium at school board meetings was SELL. Well, I find it interesting that since taking office not one mention from the recall board members or the crowd on "selling the building". Now, I understand that the market is not good for selling but it wasn't so great in May and June either. Was that just puffery to get elected...it makes me wonder.

    PE being banned...please...it is a state standard...talk about political posturing! Music for primary students was granted this year due to a block grant from CA...I would assume as the money dries up from the state, so will the extras. I guess instead of paying for private school completely, you can pay for music lessons or art lessons once a week for about $100 a month.

    Get Real:

    You obviously don't have kids in the music programs or on a sports team. These are not state-mandated and they add a huge benefit to the education of our students.

    I'd like to know where you think your kids can get quality instrument instruction while performing with a peer-group and getting to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City for $100/month?

    LeAna,
    The post did not say after school sports...it actually stated PE- that is state standard...and PE teachers have to have the credentials to teach PE, so their jobs are not at risk.

    And no, probably not Carnegie hall- but then again I believe the post from Education First was geared at PRIMARY music (K-3), not a parent sponsored high school trip through their child's high school band. It has been awhile since my kid was a primary student but that is what I paid for weekly piano lessons. Go ahead and adjust for inflation- it is still cheaper than private school.

    But since we are on the subject...why should after school sports (that supports few )be higher than say school wide technology? Auto mechanics? Other life learning skills?...I doubt too many high schoolers will get a career in their chosen sport- certainly not as many that could with vocational training.

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