SAUSD Trustee says a lack of teachers is the district’s #1 problem

SAUSD Trustee Jose Hernandez

The L.A. Times finally published an article about the SAUSD’s tax increase proposal, Measure G. Here are a few excerpts from the article:

The district offered the bond as a last-minute way to overhaul its schools in a year when a severe statewide budget crunch threatens school funding. The district is anticipating a $31-million budget cut for the coming school year and has sent layoff notices to hundreds of teachers.

After years of growth, Orange County’s largest school district saw its enrollment decline by more than 7,000 over the last five years, causing a steady loss of state funds that are based on average daily attendance. And although the 55,000-student district built three high schools and two elementary schools in the last nine years, more than two dozen of its schools remain overcrowded.

The bond money would not be used to build new schools or pay for teaching or operating expenses.

Although the situation is less than ideal, board president Jose Alfredo Hernandez said, “it would be foolish for us to turn away any money that can come into the district just because it’s is not addressing our No. 1 need, which is teachers.”

Can you believe it? The district lays off hundreds of teachers, but SAUSD Trustee Jose Hernandez (pictured above) says the number one problem is that they need teachers. Huh? And the bond money cannot be spent to pay for teachers.

Here are a few more excerpts:

Critics point out that the amount of state money is not guaranteed, even if the bond passes, because some of the money is awarded competitively. They also question the district’s management of a $145-million bond voters approved in 1999, when officials promised to build 13 new schools. After spending $450 million, including matching funds, the district built only five schools.

“No one is arguing whether we need the money or not. The real question is, is there a plan to spend it efficiently and effectively?” asked board member John Palacio, who voted against placing Measure G on the ballot. “If somebody misspent your money, would you go back to them and ask them to spend it again?”

After the last bond passed, construction costs soared and the district found it needed fewer new schools than planned because enrollment went down, said Assistant Supt. Joe Dixon, who is in charge of district facilities.

Although there is no organized opposition to the bond, its supporters have raised more than $200,000 in campaign donations, mostly from contractors doing business with the district.

Board member Rosie Avila said she opposed the bond because it would burden property owners with higher taxes during a housing market crisis and could lead to rent hikes in Santa Ana.

“These are hard times and this is just adding more debt,” she said, suggesting that the district readjust each school’s attendance boundaries and distribute students among schools more evenly to alleviate overcrowding.

Even Rosie has figured out that Measure G is a bad idea! But Measure G campaign co-chair Mark McLoughlin says that “We’re just trying to get our fair share of statewide taxes into the community.” McLoughlin lives in wealthy Floral Park. He won’t sweat a new tax, but the working poor and elderly sure will.

Vote No on Measure G!

About Admin

"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.