Thursday, March 6, 2008

OUSD Joins Statewide Budget Protest

School board members adopt resolution opposing governor’s proposed budget cuts

By Sondra Murphy
With a low estimate of $1.5 million in necessary reductions by Ojai Unified School District for the 2008-2009 school year, administration and board members are joining in protests against Sacramento’s financial attack upon public education. At Tuesday’s meeting, the board adopted a resolution strongly opposing the governor’s proposed 2008-2009 budget.
The consideration of the resolution followed a gloomy second interim financial report and an estimate of staffing eliminations for the upcoming school year, a remorseful tradition initially prompted by declining enrollment and worsened by repeated annual financial cuts to education. Because the state budget is merely a proposal, school districts find themselves having to base their own budgets on numbers that may be improved later on. OUSD must also adopt its budget before the legislators ratify the state’s financial plan sometime midsummer.
Superintendent Tim Baird reported that a total of 30 teachers will be receiving layoff notices, a number which does not include temporary staff. By law, teachers must receive notices by March 15 of each year, months in advance of solid funding agreements between public schools and state or federal sources, so more layoff notices are given than are necessary to perform.
In the past, OUSD has been able to rehire many noticed teachers after budget and enrollment figures have settled. Unfortunately, some teachers seek employment elsewhere and often good staff is lost in the process. Others endure the uncertainty of employment status for months. The board agreed to hold special public input sessions at 6 p.m. before their next two meetings to allow the School District community to voice opinions on the matter. Those next meetings are scheduled for March 18 and April 1.
During discussion, Baird and the board expressed frustration and anger over the budget crisis. “We appear to be pawns in this game every year,” said Baird. “It’s criminal to me. This long-term problem needs to be resolved in educational funding.”
“If people aren’t aware, we are funded per student and it has successively gone down to about $5,600 per student,” said member Pauline Mercado. “In New Jersey, it’s like $11,000 per student. It has a lot to do with legislation and how they deem to spend it.”
“The people responsible for the situation we are in are the people in the legislature,” President Steve Fields agreed. “The people who can’t find solutions to fund our schools are hurting generations to come.”
“I noticed our assemblywoman, Audra Strickland, had an article railing against tax increases of any kind,” said clerk Kathi Smith. “If she’s the barometer of the lack of civic responsibility that people feel, I’m shocked.”
“We need a stable source of funding,” said member Rikki Horne. “The idea of pitting health care against education against social welfare is unfair. We need to figure out what we want and if it involves raising taxes, we do it.”
“That’s why I think it’s a sham when all the politicians are speaking to education, but not funding it,” said Mercado. “If you hear someone ‘speechify’ about how education is important to them, say to them, ‘Show me the money.’”
“When you look at what teachers in California get paid, they can’t afford to buy homes,” said Vice President Linda Taylor. “It’s really distressing, asking them to do this most important thing and we can’t pay them enough to live.”
“We do have an election in November and people are up for election,” said Fields. “People need to be aware of how our representatives are voting.” Baird added that community members should voice their complaints to their elected representatives about California’s inadequate educational funding.
The board unanimously voted to approve Resolution No. 07-08-24 on the governor’s proposed 2008-2009 budget. In the resolution, the board states that Gov. Schwarzenegger’s 2008-2009 budget proposal calls for “massive and devastating cuts to K-12 students and schools by reducing Proposition 98 in the current year” and with the proposal, OUSD would lose $1 million in 2008-2009.
The resolution goes on to cite that the district has suffered more than $3 million in loss of revenue in the last three years and that California spends $1,900 less per student than the national average.
“The $16 billion budget problem was not created by our students and fixing the problem should not come at the expense of their educational progress and success,” the resolution continues, asserting that the proposed budget goes against the will of state voters regarding Proposition 98. “Be it resolved that the Ojai Unified School District strongly opposes the governor’s 2008-2009 budget proposal and urges the governor and legislature to discuss all possibilities to solve the budget crisis including new revenue sources.”


Anonymous said...

Wasn't the lottery supposed to fund education? If I recall correctly, that is what "they" said when we voted for it. Wonder where all thst money is going.

Anonymous said...

if the schools would stop allowing the illegals to enroll. There would be enough money for the tax paying families children. They are draining our country

spawn of jim hatch said...

wise up bucket head . it’s fat-ass, boorish citizenry that are draining both this country and the planet. suck it up or move to Borneo

p.s: be sure to leave the keys to your time-share in cabo on the table of your bank re-po’d ranchette.

becky said...

Regardless of how you feel about illegal immigration, you should realize that school funding is based on the NUMBER of students, not the nationality of the students. California has chosen not to fully fund education for some time. While illegal immigration is a challenging issue for our state, it is not the cause of the budget crisis in our state. We need to hold our legislature accountable for the money that comes into the state's coffers and how it is spent. If we are not happy with their decisions, it is our responsibility to do something to change the status quo.

Anonymous said...

It is not the cause? When they are being educated here for free? Wake up.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Among the key finding of the report are that the state's already struggling K-12 education system spends approximately $7.7 billion a year to school the children of illegal aliens who now constitute 15 percent of the student body. Another $1.4 billion of the taxpayers' money goes toward providing health care to illegal aliens and their families, the same amount that is spent incarcerating illegal aliens criminals.

I'm a great american said...

another 12 billion dollars a month goes to fund war in Iraq.
oh yea! that's different -- we winning...

Anonymous said...

How are these layoff notices determined? Seniority, pay, etc? I feel it's unfair to our children and to the teachers who earn little as it is. The teachers that my four children have are awesome, and I hope none of them have to endure this.

Anonymous said...

O.U.S.D has a greater enrollment of white children than hispanics/ latino. Read the accountability reports of the schools on the districts website.

Anonymous said...

As long as there's work for people from south of the border they're going to keep coming here to do that work. I have worked with "illegals" most of my adult life, and most of them work a lot harder than most of the people who were born in America regardless of those native Americans' ethnicity. Based on the amount of calories these immigrants burn in service of this country, a lot of them deserve to be getting more out of the system than do a lot of the people who were lucky enough to have been born here. I would rather pay for the schooling of a kid who comes from a working family than for schooling of a child who comes from a family of non-producers. If I'm in a lifeboat and I have to pick who I'm going to throw overboard, you can bet that the guy who writes video games is going overboard long before the guy who knows how to build a house or grow food. Do I care that the video game author is considered to be a success by his peers? Nope. I don't care a bit. He's not a producer of anything that really counts for much in the long run. I don't care how much money he puts into the economy, because his economy is a flimsy house house of cards that doesn't deserve to stand.

When Americans get off of their butts and start doing more of their own work, it'll solve two problems. First, Americans won't continue to feel as if they're losing their country and their culture to outsiders, and second, they'll have a little more respect for those outsiders after they learn what it's like to work a hard 10 to 16 hour day for ridiculously low wages.

Since the days of slavery, a lot of Americans have been big on getting someone else to do the dirty work for them. When they couldn't force black people to do it anymore, they tried to get those same black people to do the work for lower-than-subsistence wages. When the black people started to wise up, Americans tried to pull the same crap on the Chinese. It has always been the same game, and we've always been running it on one group of people or another.

If and when the economy ever gets back on its feet and new schools are built, you can bet that it'll be the "illegals" doing most of the grunt work required to get the job done. For that, their kids most definitely deserve to be able to learn in those schools. If our government is so busy tanking our economy and blowing people away in the Middle East that it can't find the time to process immigrants who want to come here and work, that's my government's problem, not mine.

Anonymous said...

if you feel so strongly that they stay. Put your money where your mouth is. Take in a family a start paying for the schooling and medical bills.

Anonymous said...

Well. We can tell. That school. Didn't do you. Much good. Guess the money. We spent on teaching you. To read and write. English was wasted.

Anonymous said...

You are so superior to me. But at least I can realise why the state of california is in in a budget crisis. 10 billion a year spent on illegals

Anonymous said...

10 billion a year spent on illegals

Since they were here first and never left, they probably feel as if we're the illegals.

LS said...

the real problem here is that the population is aging because families are leaving for places that are more affordable. a school doesn't do much good if there are no kids to teach. it always comes back to housing.